2017 AGM Minutes

Click here for the 2017 AGM Minutes

 

Election of BLTC Committee for 2017/18

President - Non elected - Sylvia Stewart

Chair - John Kamenou

Treasurer - Isabelle Rigewell

Secretary - Jeannette Cowan

Membership Secretary - Judy Williamson

Ladies’ Captain- -Su Pryor

Men’s Captain - Danny Williamson

Bar Manager - VACANT

Social Events Secretary - Linda Searles

Social Tennis Secretary - Paul Barkley

Press & Publicity Officer - Colin Fenn

Maintenance Secretary - Martin Dawson

Welfare Officer - Sue Littleford

Chairman's Report 2015

Chairman’s Report 2015 

Introduction 

Thank you to John Hall for his Coaching Report and thank you to Aran Mustafa and Isabelle Ridgewell, in absentia, for the respective scripts and reports that they have prepared.

I will start by saying that it has been a good year for the Club and this has been due to all of the members, and of course the Committee. There have been many highlights, which I will mention in due course. There has been a great deal of activity, both on the Courts and some enjoyable Social Events, for which I offer sincerest thanks.

It is an honour to be your Chairman and to oversee the work of the Committee - and to have served as such for the last year in the role. Thanks must go to my predecessor, David Tomlinson, not only for the dedication that he gave to the Club in his three years as Chairman, but also for the kind assistance and encouragement he gave at the outset to ensure a smooth transition to a new Committee.  This is a tennis club that was founded and flourishes on the basis of voluntary work and the kind assistance that volunteers provide to the Club and committee. Thank you to those people and to the Committee that have served for the last year, they are paramount to the continued success of the club in its current form. I believe that we have a strong team on the Committee, one that is focused on progressing the Club and improving the Facility and service it provides to its members. I again give thanks to those that have agreed to stand and serve for the coming year.

Finance and membership

Thank you for the clear and concise report prepared by Isabelle and Judy and the considerable work undertaken throughout the year. While not a wealthy tennis club by any stretch of the imagination, our finances have been carefully managed and remain in a healthy state under the stewardship of Isabelle and the committee. Thank you to George Panayi, the previous incumbent of the role also for helping to prepare our yearly finance report. Our membership base continues to be the bulk of our annual income and, it is important that our membership retention remains a priority, as well as continuing to focus on ways to attract new members.  It is pleasing that income from membership fees continues to show an upward increase.

The committee considered the possibility of changing the club’s status from CASC status to that of a Charity, in order to gain a greater potential monetary sum from Gift Aid. The notable failure of Radlett Tennis Club in this regard and the problems they ran into  with the Charity’s Commission - tied in with other reasons including the fact that few tennis clubs have opted to go down this route - has resulted in a lack of fervour to make further consideration of this proposal. 

The committee are focused on improving the club facilities towards the long-term and bringing them up to a better standard for members. This of course will involve expenditure by the club and ensuring that it operates within our means and acts prudently in this regard. Both the clubhouse and the courts will be improved over time to make the overall package on offer more appealing to both current and prospective new members. In order for the club to continue to prosper into the future, this must remain high up on the club’s Agenda. The LTA ‘members-to-tennis court facilities ratio shows Barnet as having the capacity to comfortably cater for 420 members. In order to go towards achieving a higher number of members, we must remain focused not only on the facilities and the service we provide to members, but also marketing for new members. There is the possibility of a membership referral scheme, if it can be devised and implemented correctly.  

Site Purchase

You will note that our David Tomlinson mentioned at last year’s AGM that following the decision of the Council not to sell a long-term lease to the Club, the matter was referred to the Local Ombudsman and that he would continue to oversee the complaints process . The Ombudsman’s final decision was reported to the Club early this year, which found that ‘without evidence of significant fault by the Council which has caused injustice to the Club, the Ombudsman will not pursue the matter any further’. This is where the matter was left, and it was felt that the matter was essentially closed with further redress of the complaint very difficult.  As a result, the emphasis of the Club’s improvement works must be tempered and balanced against the fact that the club has less than 20 years remaining on its current lease with the Council, though that is not to say by any means that it will not be renewed.

Maintenance and improvement works

We continue to ensure that maintenance remain high on the agenda of the club committee, both on and off the court.  Martin Dawson has performed diligently in the role as new Maintenance Manager, backed up by the club’s wonderful members and volunteers whenever called upon. We have been active on this front and Martin is right to comically refer to the role as a glutton for punishment on occasion and he has the club’s sympathy in this unenviable role. We must give special thanks and mention to Bob Price for being ready to assist and help Martin and the club when required. 

Over the course of the past year, a number of maintenance matters have been successfully dealt with. We have organised a working party that  successfully cleared the black crumb from the cage court. Soon after, we commissioned an LTA approved tennis company, Fosse, to carry out necessary maintenance works to the courts. This included re-application of green crumb to the astro-clay courts, an expenditure in the region of £5,000. New tennis wind-breaker shields were installed, as were new tennis nets. A new bar shutter has also been installed after the old one was broken and new clubhouse windows were fitted, which enables better viewing of the tennis courts from that particular vantage point and throws more light into the clubhouse. We have acquired a new club barbecue, new coffee machine for members’ use, new freezer to replace the defunct old fridge, a new glass washer recently, and ‘dummy’ birds of prey have been mounted on the tennis fences as a pest deterrent.

I can assure the members that it is a matter of priority for the committee to refurbish the toilets and changing rooms - and we are in the process of securing quotations from builders for works to begin in the coming months, over the Winter time. We hope that the works will cause minimum disruption to members, which will improve the facility for the long-run.

The committee are intent on improving the facilities towards the long-term and bring them up to a better standard for members. Both the clubhouse and the courts will be improved over time to make the overall package on offer more appealing to both current and prospective new members.

 Bar

 The role of Bar Manager is one that has remained vacant for some years. In addition to the role that Sheila has performed as Club Secretary, the management of the Bar (and all that it entails) has largely been fulfilled by Sheila Rice, a long-standing member of the committee. My predecessor informed me that Sheila was an ‘unsung hero’ of the Club committee and I can only echo the sentiment expressed in that statement. The time and efforts Sheila has given to the Club over the last year has not gone unnoticed by myself, the Committee or the Club’s members and I would like to express my gratitude to her. It appears that Sheila will be fulfilling this particular committee role on a permanent basis now and I am sure she will continue to excel in the role. It is a role that remains vital to the social side of the club and I can anticipate that the club will be the better for it.

The club continues to show sport on the large-screen TV and we hope that BT Sport securing exclusive Champions League football rights in addition to Premier League football match rights will prove popular with members in the Bar area. It may act as a halfway measure those members who would like to see Sky Sports; which is not viable for the club to show in our particular commercial environment as it is too cost-prohibitive.  

Social

I am pleased to report that our search for a Social Manager appears to be at an end. This is an important role and one that has remained vacant for too long. I wish our new incoming Social Secretary, Linda Searles, the best of luck ahead and I hope that this particular role is one that she will enjoy and find good support from our fellow members. I would like to pass on particular thanks and gratitude to Martin Dawson and Alex Lake for their excellent Quiz Nights and Wine Evenings respectively.

Club Website, Publicity and Communications

Jackie Czuprynksi has taken on the role of the club’s newsletter since the early part of the year; the newsletter has been circulated to club members on a monthly basis and proven popular with the club’s members. With Jackie understood to be taking on the role of Club Secretary in the coming year, it is likely that the responsibility of writing the newsletter will pass onto someone else.

The club has been very active in notifying members via email of club activities, tennis and non-tennis related when appropriate. We will look to continue this for the coming year and keep members up-to-speed regarding competitions and other matters.

In keeping up with social media and today’s technology, the club’s dedicated Facebook page has also proven a useful tool in making notifications to members where necessary, as well as continuing to foster a sense of community for the club’s members. The Facebook group page continues to be a useful outlet in bringing members together online.

Sincere thanks must go to Geoff Arnett and our website administrators for their continued dedication to the Club Website, which is effectively our ‘window’ to the world as a tennis club. I believe it tobe an essential tool for the Club in many ways. We have again seen the website tinkered with to attractive, professional and functional for our purposes. In addition, we have had dedicated website pages built for the Great British Tennis Weekends and the LTA Lofty Lofts tournament.

Coaching and Competitions

We have had the Coaching Report from John already. It is worth re-emphasising that the club continues to do well in both in its its coaching and competitions element. The coaching programme led by John Hall attracts good numbers of Juniors from the local area and this is healthy for the long term prospects of the Club going forward.

‘Competitions’ at the club is also an important aspect of club life and I am happy that John, with his long-standing tenure and experience in the role, continues to perform the role as Competitions Manager. The two club tournaments that were held in the Summer and Autumn were again successful and Finals Days were well attended and the matches memorable, with a record 17 finals having taken place last weekend. Thank you to the volunteers on the day and those that brought dishes.

The club held the LTA Lofty Lofts Tournament for the second straight year and it goes from strength to strength-to-strength. I am pleased that one of own team players, not least our Men’s Captain, was able to win the Mens Singles Open draw. I understand that this is the first time that this particular draw event has been held at the club, at least for many years. Thanks must go to the band of volunteers who made holding the tournament possible, including our own Club President, Sylvia Stewart who we wish well in her rehabilitation from recent surgery. 

LTA and Great British tennis Weekends

 It was a pleasure to bring our former chair lady, Jackie Czuprynski back on to the Committee in a newly identified and devised role of LTA Liaison Officer. As a tennis club that operates under the guidance and umbrella of the LTA, it is a committee role that has allowed for a greater scope and identification of areas in which we can seek improvements in how the tennis club operates. Having an individual in this dedicated capacity has been of benefit to the committee. Ideas and initiatives from the LTA have been evaluated and reviewed for possible adoption by the Club. In addition to the LTA ‘ClubMark’ status that was awarded to the club some years ago (and will continue to stand in place), I am pleased to report it is now highly likely that our tennis club will be awarded Tennis Mark status near the end of this month. The new accreditation scheme is an important one, one that that recognises good standards and best practice at tennis venues in Britain.

The club was largely successful in publicising and making members aware of the new LTA ‘opt-in’ procedures, now demanded by the LTA as a prerequisite of eligibility for Wimbledon tickets in the Club Ballot. I am pleased to report that given this change in procedure that requires members to be proactive, the notifications to members seemed to work and the allocation of tickets by the AELTC remained largely the same.

The Great British Tennis Weekends, held for the very first time at the Club on the weekend of 16th/17th May and on Saturday 13th June, were well attended and popular events brought to the Club. They proved to be adequate replacements (and a viable alternative for the future) to the traditional Open Days held at the club in past years, resulting in new sign-ups to the membership base and to the club’s coaching programme. The organisation at the club and its GBTW activities was very good. There was a nice buzz and atmosphere to the club with so many people and families attending from the local community – and I felt we ‘showcased’ the club well to visitors. Thank you to Jackie, the coaching staff and all the volunteers for their wonderful efforts on the days. A great deal of hard work was also undertaken behind the scenes by a sub-committee to ensure that the events were both well publicised and well run.

Finally, I would like to thank all those who have supported me during the past year and made the job a pleasure and a privilege. I look forward to an even better year ahead, one where we hope to continue to progress the agenda of the club; make improvements for the benefits of its members and continue the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that makes the club appealing.

2014 AGM Minutes

Minutes of AGM 26th October 2014

 

1.    Apologies for Absence

Kim & Wendy Webster, Jane Crowley, Sue Littleford, Adele Vanderkar, Tina Bloch, George Panayi, Jackie and Jurek Czuprynski, Doug Morley, George Eldred, Nick and Judith Madejczyk

 

2.    Minutes of Last Meeting

Agreed 

 

3.    Finance Report

The audited accounts for the year ending April 2014 were presented for review

In George’s absence David read the following notes.

 

Notes to the 2014 accounts:

 

 Page 1 – Income & Expenditure

·         Membership income has increased

·         Other income has also increased, such as floodlights, balls, match fees, tournament fees, visitor fees, and men’s and ladies night.

·         Repairs have increased slightly due to the new alarm system and the works carried out to the pathway by the gate.

·         Utilities have decreased, as Eon has reduced the monthly direct debit payments. 

 

Page 2 – Balance Sheet

·         Bank balances remain healthy

·         LTA loan has now finished.

 

Page 3 – Bar

·         Bar remains to be profitable

·         Stock has increased, as large orders were made in April 2014.

 

20 Year projected costs

A 20 year plan of projected costs has been compiled by Steve Bird and copies were available to the meeting.

David explained the key points of the plan.

 

4.    Membership Report

The club currently has 338 members; 212 adults, 113 juniors and 13 Social members, compared to 345 last year.

There are usually a number of people joining over the winter –the figure rose to 361 by end of March 2014.

This year we held 2 Open days however they were not particularly successful as only a handful of people joined. If anyone has any suggestions to help promote membership they would be welcomed.

The renewal process went well with the majority of families preferring to pay by cheque. The option to pay online is beginning to be more popular with 50 families paying this way as opposed to 12 last year.

This year we have introduced Gift Aid and 100 members have signed up already and we will continue to promote it at the next renewal. The revenue from this should bring approximately £3000 a year and we hope to be able to backdate some claims 4 years.

Membership for the Over 60’s

Over the next few years the number of members approaching the age of 60 will almost double.  At present 29 members are over 60 and 4 members are over 70 giving a total of 33, by 2017 this will increase to 66. Currently the discount for over 60’s is 40% i.e. £169 as opposed to £273 for full adult. This would mean a significant fall in club revenue.

 The Committee have looked at the fees charged by other clubs – some clubs such as Hazelwood and Oakleigh Park offer no discount. The majority of other clubs offer a discount from age 65 or over state retirement age. A couple of clubs offer a discount from age 62. On average the discount given is about 25%.

The Committee therefore proposed the following changes:

a.    The subsidy on membership fees for over 60’s will change from 40% to 20% with effect from 1st April 2015

b.    With effect from 1st April 2016 the age at which a subsidy is given will be raised to 65 years. Members who are receiving the subsidy prior to 1st April 2016 but are under 65 will continue to receive the subsidy at 20%.

This was agreed by the meeting.

The Committee have also discussed changes regarding honorary membership. Currently someone who has been a member for at least 10 years and is over 70 receives honorary membership.

The Committee proposed the following change:

The age for honorary membership will be increased to 75 with effect from 1st April 2016.

This was agreed.

 

5.    Tennis Reports

 Ladies Captains report –read by Luke Barker

Over the past year we have fielded 10 Ladies’ teams in competitive leagues, giving plenty of members the opportunity to represent the club.  Overall we have had a fairly solid year – a couple of promotions and a few relegations too! 

In summary:

2013/2014 winter season

Middlesex Floodlight leagues:

-  Ladies 1       East Div 2       4th of 8

-  Ladies 2       East Div 5       4th of 8

 

Hertfordshire Winter Ladies Seniors leagues:

-  Over 40s      Div 3B             4th of 6


2013 summer season

Middlesex leagues:

-  Ladies 1       East Div 2       1st of 8                Champions - Promoted.

-  Ladies 2       East Div 4       7th of 8             Relegated. 

-  Ladies 3       East Div 6       8th of 8             Relegated. 

Well done to the first team, captained by Suzanne Petrou for an unbeaten season and winning the league.

 

Hertfordshire 3 pair Leagues

-  Ladies 1       Div 1A             6th of 7                         Relegated

-  Ladies 2       Div 5A             2nd of 6                       Runners up – Promoted.

Ladies first team was relegated after a brief visit to Div 1 this summer, but hope to be back soon.

Ladies 2 were runners up in Div 5A and so promoted - a fitting end to Jenny Davis’ time as captain of the second team. Jenny has run the team for as long as I can remember and I’d like to thank her for all the time and effort she has put in over the years. 

 

Hot Rackets (2 pair) leagues

-  Ladies 1       Premier Div     7th of 7                         Relegated

-  Ladies 2       Div 4A             5th of 7

 

Club Championships

Congratulations to all the Ladies’ finalists this year. Special mention to Nicky Fenn for winning the Singles titles in both summer and autumn tournaments.

As always, thanks to everyone who has participated this season, especially the ladies team captains for giving their time to run a team, and also to Linda Lumb Evans for continuing to organise the weekend tennis rotas.

The meeting congratulated the Ladies teams.

 

Men’s Captains report

The Men of Barnet LTC have enjoyed a very successful winter / summer ‘13/14. Overall, we have won 6 leagues, and been promoted in five. The men continue to grow by bringing in a Hot Rackets Team led by Nick Madejczyk which has helped involve more players in competitive external tennis.

Summary:

WINTER 13/14 –

 

MIDDLESEX:

1st WINNERS OF DIVISION 1 (Luke Barker)

2nd RUNNERS UP IN DIVISION 1 (Aran Mustafa)

3rd WINNERS OF DIVISION 3 (Albert Durbal)

4th THIRD IN DIVISION 6 (Steve Bird)

 

HERTFORDSHIRE WINTER SINGLES:

1st SECOND IN DIVISION 1 (Luke Barker)

2nd RUNNERS UP OF DIVISION 2 (Aran Mustafa)

 

SUMMER 14 –

 

AEGON TEAM TENNIS:

1st WINNERS OF DIVISION 3 EAST (Greg Kraushar)

2nd FOURTH IN DIVISION 3 EAST (Aran Mustafa)

 

HERTFORDSHIRE LEAGUE:

1st WINNERS OF CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION (Luke Barker)

2nd THIRD IN DIVISION 1B (Aran Mustafa)

3rd FIFTH IN DIVISION 2A (Doug Morley)

4th WINNERS OF DIVISION 4A (Geoff Arnett)

5th THIRD IN DIVISION 5B (Steve Bird)

 

MIDDLESEX LEAGUE:

1st FOURTH IN INTERMEDIATE DIVISION (John Kamenou)

2nd WINNERS IN DIVISION 3 (Aran Mustafa)

3rd EIGHTH IN DIVISION 4 (Albert Durbal)

4th FOURTH IN DIVISION 7 (Paul Bowers)

 

HOT RACKETS:

1st FIFTH IN DIVISION 3A (NICK MADEJCZYK)

 

Luke thanked all of the players for representing Barnet & especially the captains for putting their own valuable time in to help Barnet be the great local club that it is! Luke wished Aran all the best – I’m sure he will do a great job.

The meeting congratulated the men’s teams.

 

Coach Report

The attendance for both adult and junior weekly courses has been good apart for the adult beginners group.

The summer camps were more popular than last year.

Luke has been running a weekly group for children with learning disabilities. The initial pot of money for this is running dry but a meeting discussing funding options will be held shortly. John thanked David for his support to start this group.

Club competition entries have been similar to last year. The greatest strength the club has is the variety and depth of club competitions to suit all abilities. Some events have A, B and C categories.

One of our aims is to get more juniors competing and practicing. Many juniors turn up regularly for their lessons but tend not to come along to practise at other times or enter club competition. Luke is hoping to set up some friendly matches with Oakleigh Park but any other ideas that may encourage juniors to take part are welcomed.

John thanked the parents that had helped to run teams and both Doug and Luke for their work this year.

The meeting thanked John and his team for their work this year.

 

6.    Chair’s Report

Thank you to our captains and to Isabelle and John for their reports on what has happened in the last year and thanks to George in absentia for preparing the script for our financial update and for the annual financial report.

A special thanks to outgoing post holders; George after 4 years’ service as treasurer and Luke for his work as men’s captain.

Thanks to all committee members and other volunteers without whom the club could not function and a huge welcome and thanks in anticipation to those who will be taking over some of the vacant roles, whoever they might be.

I want to talk a little about our attempt to buy the site, and where we are in that respect today.  I will talk about volunteering, money, investment opportunities and communications.

Site Purchase

When we started this saga I said to the Council that we only wanted to start talking if there was a realistic chance of reaching a conclusion.  We started.  After a couple of years during which we had to jump through hoops and prepared a detailed statement showing how our development plans contributed to the council, community and club, the Council said we could buy a lease of £125 years for £140,000.  Whilst we marshalled our resources and devised a plan to raise the money by borrowing from members, we negotiated with the Council to get to a sensible price.  After another age the matter eventually went to their asset board which decided that we were not going to be able to buy.  The reasons they gave were that there did not want to fetter their ability to cease the lease in order to put the land to other use, and that case law, dating back to 2006, said that covenants preventing the club from selling on the site for development might not be enforceable.  We complained, saying that the reasons for refusal where known to the Council at the outset and that the club’s time and money had been wasted.  We got an apology from the Council along with a statement saying that the officers had been instructed to do things differently in the future.  This reply did not offer any compensation so the complaint was then referred to the Local Government Ombudsman with whom it now lays.  I have spoken to the investigating officer at the Ombudsman’s office who is now talking to Barnet Council.

This final stage will run its course but the club needs to move on.  To that end I have taken the burden of the complaint process and will see it through so that the Committee need not divert its energy from future planning which must be its main focus.       

Volunteering

Our four sandtex courts are now in good condition with a decent life left.  A great deal of work has been done to the boundary behind what we might call the club lawn.  We have some sparkling benches in distinctive colours.  And we have a 20 year financial plan which allows the club to reserve an appropriate amount to keep courts and buildings in good condition and know what we have to invest in improvements.  Behind these things is Steve Bird, so thank you very much Steve – keep up the good work.

We need more volunteers.  This club wants to be run by volunteers rather than move to a different kind of club in which management is professionalised.  By which I mean that we pay someone to run the social and catering side of things and by definition we cease to have free food at events and this is not attractive to members.

There are too few volunteers; there are many who want the benefits of a volunteer club but are too few willing to offer to make a contribution to the job of making the club work.  We cannot have it both ways for ever.  Often it is people like me who are best able to make the biggest contribution – recently retired, still with some energy and a desire to do something purposeful with their time.  Are you recently retired, or about to retire?  Can you help?  Please talk to the next chairman.

Money

This year we introduced the use of gift aid.  This opportunity became apparent as part of our preparation for site purchase and it will add about £3,000 a year to our income with no cost to any member.  When the invitation to re-join comes out next year the gift aid forms will be included again.  By far the best box to tick is the one saying you will carry on doing it.  It does not commit you to remaining a member but it does allow our membership secretary to manage gift aid without an annual sign up.

We have also introduced a restructuring of membership fees to reflect the changing age profile of membership, and for which this AGM has made a decision today.

Investment Opportunities

Our 20 year plan shows that the income the club has is sufficient to maintain courts grounds and clubhouse, with a surplus left at the end of the year.  That means the club is able to consider what improvement it wants.  The Council may or may not grab the land back; I suspect that this is unlikely to happen but any investment decision needs to be tempered by that possibility.  The committee has been considering three things.

  1) Construction of mini-tennis courts and a practice wall on our lawn.  This would be accompanied by more paving so that we have more comfortable viewing of courts 3 and 4.

2) Refurbishment of the toilets and showers, together with redecoration of the changing rooms.   

3) Extending this main room as far as possible to the boundary and moving the kitchen and bar into the new corner, alongside an internal store replacing the existing metal drinks store.  This would allow a coffee corner to be created, improved natural lighting overhead from the new section of roof and putting in glazed doors to the end wall with some café seating outside.  This would free up the current kitchen which may provide a toilet suitable for people with a disability and/or an office.  In effect, stage 1 of our original club development plan.

Communications

We have a brand new website which has greater flexibility for uploading content and has the potential in the future to take on line payments and court bookings.  A special thanks to Geoff Arnett for his patient guidance of the development of the site and for steering the initial content loading.

We have introduced a weekly newsletter.  The purpose of the newsletter is to inform, entertain and provide a forum for members to express views.  Although it is an internal document it goes on the website and is therefore available for non-members to read.  The overall style of the newsletter is intended to showcase our club.  We want non-members to read it and to be motivated to join such an exciting and welcoming club.  Baseline Briefs; which is Colin’s name for the newsletter, has been running for a number of months now and it is time to review.  The new committee will be doing this at its first meeting of the new regime, so if you have views you want them to consider, please let a committee member know, or use a new, little used suggestions box

And it is goodbye from me.  I had expressed a willingness to serve as chairman for 4 years, if that is what the club wanted.  In the event I have served 3.  Events have conspired to make the commitment required of a chairman increasingly difficult, so I gave notice of the need to find a replacement.  It looks like we have been successful in our search.  Thank you all for your support and best wishes to our new leader. 

Thanks were given to David for his hard work over the last 3 years.

 

7.    Election of New Committee

Most committee positions were filled and elected unopposed. There are still vacancies for Membership Secretary, Bar Manager, Social Secretary and Clubhouse maintenance Secretary. If anyone feels they would like to take up one of these roles please let a member of the committee know. 

Position                                  Name

Chair                                       John Kamenou

Treasurer                               Isabelle Ridgewell

Secretary                               Sheila Rice

Membership Secretary        Vacant

Bar Management                  Vacant

Social Secretary                    Vacant

Ladies Captain                      Jane Crowley

Men’s Captain                       Aran Mustafa

Publicity & Press Sec           Colin Fenn

Child Protection                    Sue Littleford

Website Manager                 Geoff Arnett

First Aid supplies                 Catherine Kenny -Tempest

Maintenance (courts)          Steve Bird

Maintenance (clubhouse)   Vacant

 

8.    Any Other Business

A question was raised about the weeds in the car park and grounds. This will be passed on to the maintenance secretary.

2014 AGM - Chairman's Report

Chairman’s Report

26 October 2014

First I want to note the sad death earlier in the year of our cleaner Glenn who served us well.  I think some club members were able to get to the funeral.  I do not know of any other sadnesses of note this past year.

Thank you to our captains and to Isabelle and John for their reports on what has happened in the last year and thanks to George in absentia for preparing the script for our financial update and for the annual financial report.

A special thanks to outgoing post holders, George after 4 years’ service as treasurer and Luke for his work as men’s captain.

Thanks to all committee members and other volunteers without whom the club could not function and a huge welcome and thanks in anticipation to those who will be taking over some of the vacant roles, whoever they might be.

I want to talk a little about our attempt to buy the site, and where we are in that respect today.  I will talk about volunteering, money, investment opportunities and communications.

Site Purchase

When we started this saga I said to the Council that we only wanted to start talking if there was a realistic chance of reaching a conclusion.  We started.  After a couple of years during which we had to jump through hoops and prepared a detailed statement showing how our development plans contributed to the council, community and club, the Council said we could buy a lease of £125 years for £140,000.  Whilst we marshalled our resources and devised a plan to raise the money by borrowing from members, we negotiated with the Council to get to a sensible price.  After another age the matter eventually went to their asset board which decided that we were not going to be able to buy.  The reasons they gave were that there did not want to fetter their ability to cease the lease in order to put the land to other use, and that case law, dating back to 2006, said that covenants preventing the club from selling on the site for development might not be enforceable.  We complained, saying that the reasons for refusal where known to the Council at the outset and that the club’s time and money had been wasted.  We got an apology from the Council along with a statement saying that the officers had been instructed to do things differently in the future.  This reply did not offer any compensation so the complaint was then referred to the Local Government Ombudsman with whom it now lies.  I have spoken to the investigating officer at the Ombusdman’s office who is now talking to Barnet Council.

This final stage will run its course but the club needs to move on.  To that end I have taken the burden of the complaint process and will see it through so that the Committee need not divert its energy from future planning which must be its main focus.       

Volunteering

Our four sandtex courts are now in good condition with a decent life left.  A great deal of work has been done to the boundary behind what we might call the club lawn.  We have some sparkling benches in distinctive colours.  And we have a 20 year financial plan which allows the club to reserve an appropriate amount to keep courts and buildings in good condition and know what we have to invest in improvements.  Behind these things is Steve Bird, so thank you very much Steve – keep up the good work.

We need more volunteers.  This club wants to be run by volunteers rather than move to a different kind of club in which management is professionalised.  By which I mean that we pay someone to run the social and catering side of things, and by definition we cease to have free food at events and this is not attractive to members.

There are too few volunteers; there are many who want the benefits of a volunteer club but are too few willing to offer to make a contribution to the job of making the club work.  We cannot have it both ways for ever.  Often it is people like me who are best able to make the biggest contribution – recently retired, still with some energy and a desire to do something purposeful with their time.  Are you recently retired, or about to retire?  Can you help?  Please talk to the next chairman.

Money

This year we introduced the use of gift aid.  This opportunity became apparent as part of our preparation for site purchase and it will add about £3,000 a year to our income with no cost to any member.  When the invitation to re-join comes out next year the gift aid forms will be included again.  By far the best box to tick is the one saying you will carry on doing it.  It does not commit you to remaining a member but it does allow our membership secretary to manage gift aid without an annual sign up.

We have also introduced a restructuring of membership fees to reflect the changing age profile of membership, and for which this AGM has made a decision today.

Investment Opportunities

Our 20 year plan shows that the income the club has is sufficient to maintain courts grounds and clubhouse, with a surplus left at the end of the year.  That means the club is able to consider what improvement it wants.  The Council may or may not grab the land back; I suspect that this is unlikely to happen but any investment decision needs to be tempered by that possibility.  The committee has been considering three things.

  1) Construction of mini-tennis courts and a practice wall on our lawn.  This would be accompanied by more paving so that we have more comfortable viewing of courts 3 and 4.

2) Refurbishment of the toilets and showers, together with redecoration of the changing rooms.    

3) Extending this main room as far as possible to the boundary and moving the kitchen and bar into the new corner, alongside an internal store replacing the existing metal drinks store.  This would allow a coffee corner to be created, improved natural lighting overhead from the new section of roof and putting in glazed doors to the end wall with some café seating outside.  This would free up the current kitchen which may provide a toilet suitable for people with a disability and/or an office.  In effect, stage 1 of our original club development plan.

 

Communications

We have a brand new website which has greater flexibility for uploading content and has the potential in the future to take on line payments and court bookings.  A special thanks to Geoff Arnett for his patient guidance of the development of the site and for steering the initial content loading.

We have introduced a weekly newsletter.  The purpose of the newsletter is to inform, entertain and provide a forum for members to express views.  Although it is an internal document it goes on the website and is therefore available for non-members to read.  The overall style of the newsletter is intended to showcase our club.  We want non-members to read it and to be motivated to join such an exciting and welcoming club.  Baseline Briefs, which is Colin’s name for the newsletter, has been running for a number of months now and it is time to review.  The new committee will be doing this at its first meeting of the new regime, so if you have views you want them to consider, please let a committee member know, or use a new, little used suggestions box.

 

 

And it is goodbye from me.  I had expressed a willingness to serve as chairman for 4 years, if that is what the club wanted.  In the event I have served 3.  Events have conspired to make the commitment required of a chairman increasingly difficult, so I gave notice of the need to find a replacement.  It looks like we have been successful in our search.  Thank you all for your support and best wishes to our new leader.