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February 2017

Work continues apace on organising this year's UK tour for the Board of Directors of the Royal Oak Foundation. This year we're visiting North Wales and are looking forward to staying right on the coast on the sea-front in Llandudno. From there we'll be visiting such marvellous National Trust places such as Bodnant Gardens and Penrhyn Castle and of course sampling the magnificent landscapes of Snowdonia. YMM is also busy with ensuring that National Trust recruiting teams are up to date with Royal Oak Foundation matters, so that they can be as effective as possible in joining up new members for ROF from among Americans visiting Trust properties. Figures at the end of 2016 were more than double those when the campaign first started at the beginning of 2014, and we hope for still greater success in 2017.

A highlight of February was working with the Heritage Services team at Bath & North East Somerset Council, who had invited YMM to advise on aspects of membership concerning a local Friends group for an art gallery in central Bath. The meeting with Trustees of the Friends was open and positive and a way forward was agreed. Good news all round.

News is awaited on VisitEngland's programme of visitor attraction quality assessments for 2017, which has been under review. Visits normally start in April and extend throughout the whole year through to December, so it will be good to be able to make progress on visit planning very soon.


February 2016

YMM is deep into a busy month, working on a fascinating variety of projects for existing and new clients. For the US-based not-for-profit organisation the Royal Oak Foundation, YMM is organising a tour of Northern Ireland for its 30-strong Board of Directors this September and is continuing to work hard on its membership growth programme here in the UK. So far since January 2014 the YMM-led programme has achieved a 56% increase in the number of members recruited for ROF at National Trust properties across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Many thanks to all the National Trust teams involved, of which in 2015 Sissinghurst Castle Garden was pre-eminent, and received a Certificate of Excellence accordingly (presented by Alex Youel of YMM on 19 Feb at Sissinghurst). On 23 February Alex attended the 'spring moot' of staff and volunteers at the National Trust's magnificent Knole, near Sevenoaks. He represented the Royal Oak Foundation, which gave its biggest ever single grant towards conservation work at Knole in 2014.

Having joined VisitEngland's national team of quality assessors in 2014, YMM is busy preparing for making assessment visits in 2016, booking dates and calling venues. This year the role has expanded beyond visitor attractions to include racecourses and - in VisitEngland's newest accreditation scheme - pubs. YMM has been asked not only to conduct the actual pub assessments for London and the South East but also to contact pubs in advance to secure their interest, having helped on VisitEngland's stand at the UK Pub Show at Olympia earlier in the month.

YMM 's latest client, Watts Gallery Artists's Village, is looking to expand its already successful Friends membership scheme. YMM is also working with the National Trust's alumni grouping for senior staff, Pentire, to help organise its 2016 visit for around 60 members.

June 2013

YMM is spending a week this month with friends and guests from the Royal Oak Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation of 'Americans in Alliance with the National Trust', on a tour of the 'Great Gardens of Kent and East Sussex'. We are based near East Grinstead at the splendid Gravetye Manor all week and our wonderful destinations - many internationally renowned - include: Borde Hill Garden, Scotney Castle, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Smallhythe Place, Nymans, Wakehurst Place & the Millennium Seed Bank, Gravetye's own garden and the family garden at Knole (only rarely open). Head Gardeners, property managers, plant scientists and family members - including Mrs Stephenson Clarke and Andy Stevens, Andrew McLaughlin and Paul Micklewright, Adam Nicolson and Troy Smith, Fergus Garrett, Susannah Mayor, Alastair Buchanan and Kirst Kelly, Andrew Jackson and Dr Paul Smith, Tom Coward and, at Knole, Robert, Lord Sackville - are among our expert guides on these specially devised, behind-the-scenes visits. All we need now for a fascinating and truly memorable trip is a few days of deluge-free weather!

May 2013

Been a pleasure this month to work with a new client - Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals - and two good friends and colleagues from a former life, Gill Raikes and Cat Weaver. The new brochure has an important job of work to do in encouraging major donors to support these world-beating heart and lung hospitals. Also completed the major first phase of work for The Royal Landscape, delivered in a three-hour presentation and discussion. YMM recently attended the Internet World and Big Data Show to keep up to speed on e-commerce, CRM, mobile- and e-marketing. Visiting the Heritage & Museums Show this month to keep track of developments at museums and visitor attractions.

October 2012

YMM Managing Director Alex Youel attended the annual Visitor Attractions Conference this month, keeping in touch with heritage and other attractions right across the country at this national gathering in London. Visits to attractions managed by current and recent YMM clients currently amount to more than 17m annually - this includes the National Trust, with its 423 places to visit, the Roman Baths, Bath, at about 1m visitors and the Royal Landscape, also approaching 1m visits each year.

June 2012

This month YMM has secured three new contracts, subject to conclusion of the commercials, and will be taking on its first part-time member of staff - daughter Vivienne Youel - as a consequence. Vivienne has just completed a degree in English and Drama at Royal Holloway College, University of London and is delighted to have secured an Upper Second. Proud father and company founder Alex Youel is equally delighted: "This has been a great month for YMM and the Youel family. Viv will bring her writing skills and tour organising experience to bear on the new role and be a huge help in running and growing the business".

October 2011

Last month YMM completed a successful week-long tour of the UK for the USA Directors and their partners of the Royal Oak Foundation. ROF is a not-for profit organisation dedicated to supporting the built and natural heritage of the UK, principally those places in the care of the National Trust. The tour covered places of historic interest and natural beauty throughout the South East of England - mostly houses,gardens and heritage waterways protected by the National Trust, but also including the Duke of Norfolk's magnificent Arundel Castle. If you would like YMM to organise a prestigious tour of this kind for your group, just get in touch to discuss your needs.

July 2011

YMM expands with the arrival of graduate intern James Laws. James is completing his Masters and looking to build his work experience in the world of consulting. His projects with YMM to date include a survey of performance measures across wildlife charities, research into the use of data protection statements for local authorities and a survey of London clubs.

Update September 2011: Congratulations to James in securing full time employment in London, although he will be much missed at YMM.