The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is coming back ‘home’ to Chester to let beer drinkers and pub-goers have their say on the future of the organisation at one of 50 consultation meetings around the country.
It was in Chester 45 years ago that the founders of CAMRA had one of their first informal meetings over a pint or two while en route to Ireland to set up the organisation. Since then it has gone from strength to strength.
Now, CAMRA is gathering the views of as many as possible of its nearly 180,000 members as part of its Revitalisation Project - a strategic review of its purpose and structure.
The meeting, which is only the second to be staged in the North West, will take place at the St Werburgh’s Catholic Club, Brook Street, Chester on Saturday 7 May from 12.30-2.30pm.
CAMRA’s Head of Communications Tom Stainer said: “All around the country there’s been incredible interest in our revitalisation programme. As well as the consultation meetings, more than 20,000 members nationwide have completed an online or postal questionnaire to offer their views on where they think we should be heading in the years ahead.
“Every effort is being made to consult with as many as possible of our members to ask them who and what we should represent in the future.”
The rise of craft beer and a resurgence of interest in beer in recent years, plus renewed threats to pubs, have challenged CAMRA to review if it is best positioned to represent its members in the future.
Options include becoming a consumer organisation for all beer drinkers, all pub-goers regardless of what they drink, or even all alcohol drinkers, regardless of where they drink it.
CAMRA founder member and Revitalisation Project Chairman Michael Hardman, who was among those that enjoyed visiting Chester all those years ago, said: “It’s wonderful that one of these meetings is being staged in one of CAMRA’s proverbial homes.
“Just as that evening in Chester proved a turning point for CAMRA, this whole consultation project could mark a fundamental milestone in its history. It’s a chance for our members to tell us who we should represent in the future and for what we should be campaigning.”
He added: “If you care about beer and pubs but haven’t got round to joining yet, we still want to hear from you. Come along to one of our events. If you’re not already a member you can you can still complete the survey and even come along to a meeting if you join CAMRA on the door.”
CAMRA members can sign up to attend one of the meetings by logging on to http://www.camra.org.uk/revitalisation
For those who cannot attend this meeting, there are further ones planned for Stoke 31 May, East Didsbury 20 July, Liverpool 6 August, Shrewsbury 10 September and Preston 15 September.