NEW recruits are the lifeblood of any organisation and ramblers are suffering a national recruitment problem. People are still joining but in smaller numbers. New recruits invariably come from a narrow spectrum of the population. They are white, mainly British, middle aged, middle class and house owners. We do not have dukes or dustmen within our local ranks.

If we wish to widen our appeal, is a new image required involving a complete re-brand with a new name? Some members of our group think this is overdue and intend to raise the question at our forthcoming AGM. The local group is well supported due largely to the range of walks on offer from leisurely four-mile strolls to moderately strenuous 12 and 13-mile routes.

Despite the well-publicised data about the dangers of inactivity and consequent obesity it seems that fewer people are willing to reduce their medical risk by walking in the countryside. How do we mobilise the vulnerable “couch potatoes” and extend our appeal to those sections of the population who remain indifferent? In addition, how do we prise younger recruits away from the limpet-like clutch of digital technology? One of the biggest barriers to recruitment is the demand on peoples’ leisure time but it is essential that we make walking with the ramblers a more attractive alternative to other activities.