Membership has always worked that it was valid from the 1st of January until the 31 of December – there were various provisions for members joining late in the year, but in essence everybodies membership expired at the end of every year and was then renewed again on the date they paid the subs the following year.
Because the only thing that would have alerted you to this was when you didn’t receive your copy of the GOBA News, most people wouldn’t have been aware that their membership had expired, especially members who paid by direct debit. With the new website live, this is more obvious. All memberships expired at the end of last year, if you pay by direct debit and the payment is taken annually on a date AFTER today’s date (12th of January) then currently you haven’t actually paid your subs for this year and so are not a current member – don’t worry though.
As soon as your direct debit order gets processed by your bank, they will send an alert to GOBA’s membership secretary, who marks all the members who have paid as active members on the website database, at which time links to the forum, minutes of past committee meetings, etc will become visible to you.
Obviously with changing the membership to a rolling year-on-year membership this problem won’t occur after this year, as on the day your membership is due to expire it will be renewed.
I hope this explains things but please feel free to contact me if you want clarification of anything.