Minutes of May 2010 meeting

Autscape Management Committee Meeting Minutes
Meeting date: Sunday 16th May 2010 Meeting time: 3pm

Present: Martijn, Kalen, Peter, Debbie, Dave. Late: Trish  Apologies: Yo.

1      Minutes of April Meeting

1.1.   Approved with a minor modification to 4.3

2      Proposals

2.1.   The committee unanimously approved a proposal to set aside a 
total budget of £2,500 (including already committed expenditure on legal 
fees) as designated development funds.

2.2.   Programme

2.2.1. The committee voted unanimously to accept the following 5 
        proposals as subsidised presentations (these are in addition to the
        three invited presentations for a total of 8):

    Nusrat-ul Hussan: "How balancing senses can improve quality of life in
    Katja Gottschewski: "Music"
    Rudi Harmse: "Autistic self-mastery: The role of e-health systems in 
                  enhancing quality of life."
    Caroline Hearst: "Adressing anxiety with meditation and/or CBT"
    Rob Edwards: "If we want the job done right... best to do it ourselves!"

2.2.2. The committee voted unanimously to reject a further 5 proposals 
(as named on the list yesterday) as subsidised presentations. The committee 
noted that this doesn't mean that Autscape doesn't want these presentations, 
merely that we are unable to offer them a main presenter subsidy this year. 
It is to be hoped that many of them will still do their topics as leisure 
presentations or discussions.

2.2.3.      The committee voted narrowly (breaking a tied vote by requesting 
a proxy vote from Yo) to accept the following proposal as a subsidised 
Vicky: "Autism-friendly strategies for coping with eating disorders".

Those who voted against expressed concern about possible limited interest in 
the topic and the overall balance between autistic and non-autistic 

2.3.            Company secretary issues
2.3.1.      The committee discussed possible candidates for Vice Company 
Secretary designate and voted (5 in favour, 1 abstention) to appoint Kalen 
to the role.

2.3.2.      The committee agreed unanimously to book training for the 
Company Secretary designate and Vice Company Secretary designate to attend 
training provided by The Directory of Social Change in November at a cost of 
£13 per person plus travel expenses (expected to be approx £100 per person). 
The committee agreed that the attendees may request funding for disability 
related expenses nearer the time but Autscape cannot guarantee to meet 
these. The chair noted that this expenditure would come from the previously 
earmarked 'development funds'.

2.4.            Registration

2.4.1.      The committee discussed the timing of the draw for most (but
not all) of the remaining places. (note: between 2 & 4 places will be 
reserved for a draw from the waiting list). The committee wanted to give 
people who didn't realise places were filling up so quickly a chance, but 
wanted to avoid prolonged uncertainty. The committee voted (5 in favour, 1 abstention) to hold the draw 
for most of the remaining places 5-10 days from the date of this meeting. Following some discussion of the practicability of specific dates 
for the registrar, the committee voted unanimously to hold the draw on 28 

2.4.2.      The committee agreed unanimously to have a final draw for 2-4 
reserved spaces plus cancellations at the deadline set in 2.4.3 below.

2.4.3.      After a brief discussion of the practical implications, the 
committee agreed (5 in favour, 1 abstention) to set the final deadline for 
accepting residential bookings to the waiting list at about 6 weeks before 

2.5.            Brochure. In view of the demand for places already exceeding 
supply, the committee voted unanimously not to circulate the brochure for 
Autscape 2010.

3                   Reports and follow-ups

3.1.            The committee discussed whether to alter its previous 
decision regarding commercial coach vs. community minibus in light of 
further communication with BCT and discussion on the committee list. Kalen 
stated that she would like BCT (mini-bus) to be asked very clearly whether 
they can manage 2, rather than 3, trips on each day. Peter commented that we 
need information on how many people are likely to use the bus. The issues 
discussed included: the possibility of having insufficient places to meet 
demand if we choose 2 minibus trips; possible very late (5pm) arrival at the 
station for a third trip on the Friday; the possibility of using different 
methods (minibus to Ammerdown; coach back to station) to resolve some of the 
problems. Ultimately the committee decided unanimously to delegate decisions 
about transport options to a working group comprised of Debbie, Peter and 
Kalen (others may be added by agreement of these 3) in order to facilitate 
flexible decision making.

4                   Subcommittee progress reports

4.1.            Sc-venue.

2011 (see also 6.4 below) - Kalen and Debbie have been working on 
possibilities for 2011, including larger venues than Ammerdown/Emmaus 
(ranging in capacity from 168 to 500). So far several boarding schools are 
looking promising. Most have little to no ensuite, whilst some have a few. 
Many have 'flats' where bathroom facilities are shared with a restricted 
number of others, which may solve many of the shared facilities issues, 
alternatively some may have nearby B & B's with ensuite. All cheaper than 
Ammerdown. Access issues will need to be checked during visits. Kalen 
commented that she has been focusing on Quaker boarding schools because (in 
her experience) Quakers are likely to be as accommodating as places like 
Emmaus and Ammerdown and less 'commercial' than generic boarding schools 
like Giggleswick.
Current - In response to a question, Peter stated that he has confirmation 
that Ammerdown will be able to do something similar to previous years in 
respect of catering issues (special diets and menus). There was consensus 
that it would be useful for sc-pub to prepare an information sheet (one side 
A4) for staff about, how to approach us and sensory things (e.g. problems 
with perfume)? This (with additional information) may also be useful for 
childcare staff.

4.2.            Sc-tech. Sc-tech had nothing to report, but was asked by the 
chair to ensure we will have relatively unrestricted internet access at the 

4.3.            Sc-pub. No report due to Yo's absence (although Peter noted 
the lack of progress on business cards).

4.4.            Sc-cons. No report due to Yo's absence.

4.5.            Sc-fund. No report due to lack of sc chair.

4.6.            Sc-child. Debbie reported having just received a very 
promising quote. She will follow up with Yo after the meeting.

4.7.            Sc-prog. Martijn noted that the main (subsidised) 
presentations are known, and we have 9 of them. He stated his intention to 
start emailing the acceptance and rejection notices immediately after the 
end of this meeting. There was some discussion of the time needed by sc-prog 
to work out the schedule. It was agreed that sc-prog will proceed as quickly 
as possible and have a schedule ready within a maximum of 3 weeks.

5                   Key position progress reports

5.1.            Treasurer. Peter reported that he has found an accountant 
specialising in charities but hasn't yet approached them as he wants to 
continue to try to find someone actually in Cambridge first. However he 
agreed to contact an accountant prior to the next meeting.

5.2.            Secretary. No report due to Yo's absence.

5.3.            Chair. Kalen noted that the committee has weathered some 
difficulties well during the last month and looked forward to the return of 
Yo after her viva exam. She requested a reminder of the need to send out the 
call for nominations before or around the time of the next meeting. She also 
provided information about her availability over the following few days.

6                   Any Other Business

6.1.            Martijn asked for assistance in providing formal letters of 
acceptance on Autscape letterhead for those presenters who request it and 
Peter offered to do this.

6.2.            There was discussion of the need for a cancellation policy 
which reflects our costs. Kalen proposed delegating the writing of this 
policy to the secretary.

6.3.            Peter was delegated to write an email to the announce list 
explaining the dates and procedure for the draws decided in 2.4 above.

6.4.             In light of the very high demand this year the committee 
decided to revisit its previous decision to keep Autscape about the same 
size in 2011 and voted unanimously to seek and consider venues which would 
allow Autscape to grow to 100 or more participants in the next year.

6.5.            In response to a query from Peter, a consensus confirmed 
that there will be no formal presentations on the Tuesday.