Drinkers and pub-goers in Oxfordshire can have their say on the future of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) this Thursday when one of 50 consultation meetings around the country is staged in Bicester.
CAMRA, which is one of the largest single-issue consumer groups in the world, is gathering views from as many as possible of its nearly 180,000 members as part of its Revitalisation Project - a strategic view of the organisation's purpose and structure.
In what is the sixth of these meetings – and the first in the region – CAMRA members in the area will be making a beeline for the Littlebury Hotel where the meeting will take place from 6.30 to 8.30pm on Thursday 28 April.
Chairman of the North Oxfordshire branch of CAMRA Geriant Jones said: "We're looking forward to welcoming CAMRA members from the local area and beyond to Bicester. This is a wonderful opportunity to contribute towards important decisions about the future direction of the campaign."
All around the country there's been incredible interest in the consultation. More than 20,000 members nationwide have completed an online or postal questionnaire to offer their views on where they think CAMRA should be heading.
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.
Original CAMRA founder member and Revitalisation Project Chairman Michael Hardman said: "This could mark a fundamental turning point for the Campaign for Real Ale. So fundamental it may no longer continue as the Campaign for Real Ale and become a campaign for pubs, or a campaign for all drinkers.
"It's not up to us though. It's up to our members to tell us what they want the Campaign to do in the future.
"This is the 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 gotten around to joining yet, we still want to hear from you! Come along to the Bicester event. If you're not already a member you can join up to CAMRA on the door and make your voice heard."
Further consultation meetings in the region are at Reading on 25 June and Milton Keynes on 8 September. CAMRA members can sign up to attend one of the meetings by logging on to http://www.camra.org.uk/revitalisation or there's the opportunity to get involved online, too.