SWOAPG Membership Fees: Would you rather…

  • …pay a single fixed-price for your SWOAPG membership that provides access to venues ‘managed’ by SWOAPG (as you do now for the gorges); or
  • …pay a smaller ‘core’ membership fee with optional ‘add-ons’ for access to individual venues?

NB this question relates only to ‘Full Membership’, not ‘Associate Membership’, which carries a lower fee but provides no rights of access.

Please let us know your opinion by 31 October, using this very short online questionnaire. Thanks!

Background Information

  • SWOAPG Full Members currently pay £89 for annual membership, which (among other benefits) confers the option of signing-up to the Waterfall Country gorge-walking concordat.
  • Approximately 60% of our Full Members have this year signed-up as gorge users (although this has been higher in previous years).
  • Our Coordinator spends approximately 25% of his time each year directly managing gorge access issues (including our online training courses).
  • This means that those Full Members who don’t use the gorges are, in effect, subsidising the costs for those who do.
  • We have up to now avoided levying a separate charge for gorge users because we understand that many providers, quite understandably, are uncomfortable directly ‘paying for access’ but are more comfortable paying indirectly for the support that SWOAPG offers in managing this access.
  • However, if – as we hope – we are able to agree in the coming months a concordat arrangement with Powys County Council for the river Wye from Glasbury to Hay, this will mean more work (and cost) for SWOAPG – which will need in future to be met in some way through fees paid by our Members (because, although the initial costs are being funded by grants, ongoing management will have to be ‘self-funded’ in the same way as for the gorges).
  • It’s our expectation that all groups using the river would be required to become SWOAPG Members in some shape or form, which could increase our membership numbers and might in itself meet some or all of the additional cost.
  • However, if we were to continue charging all Full Members a single fixed-price, those not using the gorges or the river would still be subsidising those who were using one or both, which doesn’t seem entirely fair – hence our question!
  • At this stage we can’t say what these fees will be, but as a very rough indication a ‘core membership fee’ might be in the region of £50 with ‘top-ups’ of similar magnitudes for gorge and river users (plus, perhaps, additional one-off fees where SWOAPG needs to undertake assurance activity for providers that don’t have existing accreditation such as an AALA licence). We wouldn’t be aiming to charge existing Members significantly more in total than they pay now for the same services – but the ‘real’ numbers will only come later, so for now our question is really one of principle around ‘paying for access’.


Leave a comment