news from the office

Nov 29, 2014

The dust has settled after the AGM in September and the WWOOF UK team and directors have been reflecting on what we have learned from it and how we can continue to improve the event for 2015. It’s such a great opportunity to exchange ideas and share experience and we hope our approach of trying to find a venue in a different region each year to make it more accessible is useful for our members.

We’re currently looking for a venue for our AGM at the end of September 2015. We’ve recently held gatherings in Scotland and Devon so we’d like to find somewhere in Wales, borders or north of England. 50-60 people overnight (some camping), affordable, ideally a host but definitely with a WWOOFy ethos. Anyone out there have any thoughts?

We’ve added a couple of new features to our website. The first is the inclusion in a host’s listing of the last date it was updated. This came about as a result of several WWOOFers letting us know they had arranged to visit hosts on the basis of their listing only to find that things had changed in the several years since the listing had been updated! The date won’t change if an admin person makes changes to the listing. If you view a listing and the date isn’t there that’s because it hasn’t been changed since we introduced the feature, so it will take a while to be completely useful. Here’s a screenshot to let you see it.

The second change was to include the secondary member’s name on the profile for a joint membership. Those details have always been on the ‘check WWOOFer’s status’ function but hosts are using WWOOFer profiles increasingly and we hadn’t thought to include the details there until several hosts told us we should! Here’s a screenshot to illustrate.

We hope Carr House Farm and George and Rhiannon are OK with us using their details  as examples.

The major change we have made to our website recently though is to introduce a new version of the PayPal software we use to process payments. Earlier this year we became aware that there were some countries from which potential WWOOFers could no longer make credit card payments via the website and for a while we were unable to establish why that was. Eventually we realised that the PayPal software we have been using since the inception of this website was becoming obsolete and we had to upgrade in order to keep a good service in place. The transition was a bit tricky and time consuming but we think what’s in place is a better service. Perhaps the most obvious change is that it is now possible to pay for membership using a credit card without going via the PayPal website. This seems to be important to a good number of our members so we are pleased to be able to supply the service. The introduction of this new software also involved installing an https certificate to secure financial transaction and increase the security of the site in general. We have a variety of other website developments under way and will update you as soon as they are in place.

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