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Post by Peter Brown on Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:35 am

The information below is from me personally and NOT from the Auto-Sleeper Owners Club (ASOC) of which I am a member.

ASOC has no formal connection with Auto-Sleepers Ltd although the company kindly permit ASOC to use their premises as a postal address for the club.

ASOC was founded in 1989 as a club for current owners of Auto-sleeper motorhomes with objectives to arrange meetings, rallies and social functions for members; to facilitate exchange of information amongst members on all matters of mutual interest.

As a means of indemnifying individual ASOC members, ASOC was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee in 2002 and since then has been regulated by the Companies Act under the terms of its Articles of Association (these can be read on the club website at http://www.asoc.uk.com ). The Articles limit membership to current owners of Auto-sleeper motorhomes and they can only be amended by vote on a constitutionally valid proposal at a general meeting.

ASOC membership averages 1200 vans year on year. The club has a very well supported rally programme including an annual National Rally that includes facilities for meals, professional entertainment and the Annual General Meeting.

Each member of the club receives through the post a printed Newsletter every month. The Newsletter contains information about the club and details of forthcoming rallies. Members use the Newsletter as a vehicle to exchange information on technical and travel matters and also to air topics with a view to soliciting views from the membership as a whole. I can give two examples of this last scenario:

1 Several club members used the Newsletter to campaign for the Newsletter to be distributed electronically. The committee therefore set up a trial whereby members could take the Newsletter electronically. As I recall about 12 members opted to participate in the trial that proved there was no great desire in the club to change from the printed Newsletter.

2 During the 2011 AGM a member asked for a debate on whether the owners of Auto-sleepers new product, caravans, could be admitted to the club. Under the conduct of the AGM Any Business this was allowed as discussion only although an informal vote was taken indicating that the suggestion was not favoured by attendees. The instigating member followed this up by a piece in the next Newsletter repeating his request for a debate to the whole membership. Over the next couple of months there was one response for and one against.

ASOC is a very friendly club to the extent that if you come across a fellow member at a rally who you have met perhaps only once a couple of years ago, you tend to greet them as bosom buddies. That tends to give first time ralliers the impression that everyone else on the rally is part of a clique and they are outsiders. That is not the case but if you feel it is lift your bonnet and put your head under it – you will soon have a lot of new friends!

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Post by whisky on Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:53 am

Hi Peter.

There are a few members of the forum that are also with ASOC. Roli has most information regarding ASOC activities. A lot of forum members myself included where once members of ASOC but left because all they wanted to promote was rallies here and there.
I also seem to recall that ASOC do not want to recognise our forum which seems a shame as I feel our members have more to give.

Its all a matter of choice. Whisky. look here

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Post by Paulmold on Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:40 am

I'm afraid my only encounter with a member of ASOC (other than Roli and Bulldog) was at Salisbury CC site when I got into conversation with a Legend owner. I mentioned that I wasn't an ASOC member but did belong to ASOF to which he replied ''Oh, we have nothing to do with them''. So I'll have nothing to do with ASOC other than meet individual members on site somewhere if they can be bothered with me.
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Post by kernowmike on Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:23 pm

thanks for that comment Paul........... I was thinking of joining ASOC but having read this thread I see no reason to investigate further

perhaps other members wish to add the PROs and or CONs of ASOC here for all members of ASOF to read

Mike (from bright sunny Cornwall today)
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Post by peugeotboxer on Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:31 pm

I get a discount on my insurance for belonging to a 'club'.
Don't know how much but it must pay the membership fee!

PB
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Post by Dutto on Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:41 pm

Hi there,

Basically I am with Groucho Marx on this one. wave

i.e. "Any Club that would have me as a Member can't be worth joining!" allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround

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Post by Paulmold on Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:09 pm

peugeotboxer wrote:I get a discount on my insurance for belonging to a 'club'.
Don't know how much but it must pay the membership fee!

PB

When asked 'do you belong to any club' I answer, 'yes, Caravan Club, Camping & Caravanning club. MFacts, MFun, ASOF' by which time the guy says 'ok, ok, ok, you get the discount'
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Post by JDS on Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:34 pm

We are members of the ASOC.
We are not hardcore rallies but ha have been on a few and found them to be very friendly affairs.
One thing I have found an advantage is the local knowledge of the organisers. Bus times, local events what to see etc, You don have to go on or participate the organised activities you can keep yourself to yourself.
Usually the site fees are better than if you went on your own.
They also organise oversees rallies again at good rates and knowledge of the local area.

A very big reason for membership is the discount received from AS Service Centre for Hab services and accessory fitting.

One very big thing for a lot of people is they cater for who don't use the internet. I read in the press today that 50% of retired folks don't use the internet.

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Post by peugeotboxer on Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:54 pm

When asked 'do you belong to any club' I answer, 'yes, Caravan Club, Camping & Caravanning club. MFacts, MFun, ASOF' by which time the guy says 'ok, ok, ok, you get the discount'



But I have to 'prove' mine.
Maybe I don't quite have that 'believable' sounding voice! smile!

PB
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Post by Wozzon on Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:14 pm

Had a letter in the post today from ASOC offering us free membership until December 2014, they had our details passed on to them by the dealer where we purchased our van. So we have filled out the application form and sent it off, can’t complain about a free trial ! We’ll see how it goes.up!
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Post by Peter Brown on Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:04 pm

Marquis Branches and Motorplus of Derby all offer one years free membership of ASOC with vans they sell - so I guess you bought from one of them.

You will get copies of the club Newsletter that include details of forthcoming rallies. If you would like to try a rally without travelling too far there will be one at Guival Cricket Club near Penzance in May next year that I'm told was very popular this year.

There are others before then if you fancy a trip and the 25th Anniversary rally. 1st to 5th May includes a couple of nights free entertainment and hopefully a couple of treats for members who attend.

Peter

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Post by Wozzon on Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:02 pm

Peter Brown wrote:Marquis Branches and Motorplus of Derby all offer one years free membership of ASOC with vans they sell - so I guess you bought from one of them.

You will get copies of the club Newsletter that include details of forthcoming rallies.  If you would like to try a rally without travelling too far there will be one at Guival Cricket Club near Penzance in May next year that I'm told was very popular this year.

There are others before then if you fancy a trip and the 25th Anniversary rally. 1st to 5th May includes a couple of nights free entertainment and hopefully a couple of treats for members who attend.

Peter
Thanks for the info Peter, yes we bought the van from Marquis. 
It’s useful to know that there’s a rally at Penzance, but if we try one we will probably go further a field, I don’t feel that I’m away in the van if I don’t go over the Tamar ! The treats sound interesting.smile! 

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Post by roli on Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:23 pm

You could always come upto the Southport Rally at the end of November if you feel like a decent run !!

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Post by Wozzon on Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:41 pm

I’ll have a look at the dates when my newsletter arrives, but the other half has booked a long weekend at Baltic Wharf sometime towards the end of Nov.
That would indeed be a good run though.
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Post by roli on Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:45 pm

25th to 29th November, Riverside Caravan Park, Southport.

The rally organiser comes on here and we are assistants, rally should be in next newsletter

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Post by Wozzon on Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:05 pm

As I thought, have just been told that we are in Bristol that weekend, looking forward to seeing when other rallies are though.
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Post by Guest on Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:58 pm

Having owned more AS vans than any other make over some 50 years of motorhoming, we were members of ASOC in the early noughties but as most of their rallies were on CC or CCC sites at that time neither of which club we were members of because we holiday mostly abroad where it is warmer (and considerably more motorhome friendly) or at shows which if we attend we never prebook due to unpredictable UK weather patterns, we left after two years without ever attending a club event.

We also didn't find much of interest in the magazine which seemed to be more about 'what Katie and the clique did last month' than anything else.

No doubt many members were very happy with that format but as free roaming non EHU non site loving nomadic wanderers it didn't suit our style.

That is not a grumble, just a point of view, and may those who enjoy that style of site camping long continue to enjoy it - but to be of value to us any club has to be of a format that makes it attractive to us and it wasn't.

Is this still the format of the club and it's events please.
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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Dec 05, 2015 1:59 pm

http://www.asoc.uk.com/rally_list.htm

You will find a provisional list of rallies at the link above. None are on CC or C&CC sites, most are on unlicensed land using the clubs paragraph 6 exemption certificate in lieu of a licence and planning consent.

The club membership has fluctuated between 1000 and 1400 units each year for the last 15 years or so.

The Newsletter that 15 years ago was a means of communication between members on technical, personal and camping matters is now a matter of concern. With the now common use of e-mail and the availability of internet forums it's use is as a means of 'broadcasting' information to members. Contributions from members on subjects other than rallies are very few.

The committee recognise the Newsletter needs to take a new direction and be of more use to current members. The current Editor retires in just over a year and that post has been well advertised but no member has come forward to take on the challenge of having a clean sheet to start again!

Any club is what the members make of it and ASOC is no different. There are vacancies on the committee and the committee are happy for prospective committee members to sit in on meetings and if still interested be co-opted. This is the chance to shape the club and not just criticise.

If you are a member of ASOC and interested in the future of the club, then put yourself forward for the committee. - A new Treasurer is also needed!

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Post by Gromit on Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:25 pm

Peter Brown wrote:This is the chance to shape the club and not just criticise.

If you are a member of ASOC and interested in the future of the club, then put yourself forward for the committee. - A new Treasurer is also needed!
Can't argue with what you say Peter, except on one small but significant point.

Maybe it would be better to say, "If you are an established member of ASOC and interested in the future of the club, then put yourself forward for the committee."

Considerable past experience would be necessary in order to influence the future of the club. Since (historically) it seems to have attracted, and therefore consists very largely of enthusiastic ralliers, any significant change of direction will not be easy, and will need diplomatic and already respected members to effect such a move.

I'm sure it could be done, but I have to ask, "Would it be fair on the loyal and existing membership?" They obviously like the club as it is, and have supported it for many years in doing what they enjoy. It doesn't interest us personally very much, but as relative newcomers to ASOC I don't think we have the right to criticise and start badgering for change. If there is a desire for change from within the established membership it will happen, but for us (The Gromits) or those on here who are not also members of ASOC to be overly critical is a little unfair. (No criticism of previous posters - just making a point.)

Just my opinion. I almost wonder if it would be good to combine ASOC and ASOF to get the best of both organisations - but that's another discussion entirely.

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Post by Guest on Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:38 pm

Thanks Peter, that is more encouraging as there are a good selection of meets there for 2016.
Being a national club I can see the need for a wide geographical spread of meets but that can tend to limit the number that it is practical to attend without a lot of what can be pretty tiresome UK miles being racked up which in turn tends to detract from the joy of travel.

Can you advise please, are they all bookable, or just turn up if the weather and mood suits, and what sort of weekend or per night cost they are?
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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:41 pm

We joined ASOC in 2004 and (apart from attending our firsts rallies (with any organisation ) and being made so welcome we wanted to join in) noted the monthly pleas in the Newsletter for a new Editor.

We had no previous experience of camping, caravanning or motor homing but we knew how to put pen to paper so in the context of having no relevant knowledge made contact with the committee during the 2005 AGM. After a few months iteration I was advised it was a 'committee post' and asked to submit a cv and attend a committee meeting. I was co-opted to the committee at that meeting, I think October 2005. We took over producing the Newsletter a little early due to me predecessors house (literally) burning to the ground.

We happily produced the Newsletter for nearly 7 years until I moved on to the post of Treasurer.

So, in a nutshell, you shouldn't be established to be considered for the committee; what is needed is for people who have just joined to come forward an shape the club in the way of the future - but don't expect an easy ride!

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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:06 pm

Ricky wrote:

Can you advise please, are they all bookable, or just turn up if the weather and mood suits, and what sort of weekend or per night cost they are?

Many of the sites (schools, sports fields, etc) have limited capacity and the rallies are popular so the current ASOC requirement is that you to book when the rally is advertised in the Newsletter.

There are some rallies (and we run one in Lichfield Beacon Park each July) where capacity is not a problem and I am quite happy to take a telephone booking, even during the rally. If I didn't know you were coming you wouldn't get through the gate.

On a greenfield site the cost can be £6 to £10 per night, there is no mark up on the land owner's charge; plus a rally fee of £2 to £5 depending on what is provided, these site do not have electricity. On a licensed commercial site the cost is whatever the site charge, that is often heavily discounted to the rally attendees.

Traditionally Ralliers would be greeted with coffee and biscuits paid for by the rally fee but that is tending now towards wine and nibbles as an option.

ASOC give volunteer rally marshals a great deal of discretion as to how they want to run a rally so no two are the same.

Chris and I have been helping run continental rallies for several years now and there are still (possibly) two places for the Rudesheim rally in June/July (10 days) that includes the 'Rhine in Flames' (£20 rally fee plus campsite fees (paid direct) and £52 per person Rhine in Flames that includes river cruise. meal and several firework displays).

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Post by groundhog on Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:12 pm

I assume they mean Gulval in Cornwall - I have never heard of Guival anyway!
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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:15 pm

groundhog wrote:I assume they mean Gulval in Cornwall - I have never heard of Guival anyway!
Yes thanks for spotting the typo - I didn't! Now corrected.


Last edited by Peter Brown on Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:42 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Note that correction to ASOC website has been made)

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Post by Guest on Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:39 pm

Thanks for the info Peter.

The German rally sounds interesting but we have not yet decided on next years tours and as life has a knack of throwing up obstacles and as Aires and Stelplatz are so widely available abroad we only now decide when and where to go and then book our ferry at very short notice so pre booking a rally abroad is an absolute no no for us.

So too, given the uncertainty of UK weather, is prebooking any UK weekend meet or show especially so far in advance so I guess on balance ASOC is not for us.

All this has tended to make me feel that when we do want to resume our UK based touring maybe the CCC with their many and varied mainly non bookable weekend meets and THSs, plus their CS network will be more suited to our style of travel and touring.

I wish you well for the club and for the coming year's events.
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