The Club held its second AGM on 15th July 2014 and here are the minutes of the meeting:

Minutes of Lichfield Squash Club AGM

Held on 15th July 2014 at King Edward VI Leisure Centre

Present:

James Roberts (Chairman), James Hallett (League and Membership Secretary), Mark Wilkinson (Events Officer), Adrian Bishop, Steve Coppard, Alan Greaves

Overview of the Year

James R gave a brief overview of the year 2013/14, which had been one of consolidation, with member numbers staying around the 60-65 level. Some members were not renewing, these being largely recreational or occasional players, but these were being replaced by more new members joining. In fact, the rate of new member sign ups had increased over recent weeks, most of whom were proving to be active players. The leagues continue to represent the heart of the club and continued to be active up and down the divisions. We continued to hold sporadic events, which had varying levels of attendance. The Open Day in September was particularly disappointing, only attracting a handful of existing and new players despite all the effort in organising and marketing it. However, events like round robins or handicapped tournaments continued to be attractive to the more enthusiastic players. The Club’s profile continues to grow, with the website enjoying good levels of traffic and excellent feedback from both members and the wider squash community. The regular newsletter also continues to be popular and spreads the word about the club to a much wider audience. Similarly the club’s active social media presence has the same effects, with the audience growing all the time. The recent removal of the court discount represents the greatest challenge to the club’s future, and is the subject of a discussion under the separate item of the club’s future direction.

Report on Finance

Unfortunately the Treasurer, Jon Penrose, could not make the meeting but had sent details of the club’s bank account position in advance. At the time of the AGM the club has retained funds of £670, representing a reasonably healthy financial position.

Future direction of the club

In the light of the recent removal of the club’s £1 court fee discount per session by Lichfield District Council, a general discussion on the future direction of the club took place. James R and Mark had communicated with LDC by letter to make the case for this decision to be reviewed, which resulted in a meeting with LDC’s Director of Leisure, Neil Turner, and Portfolio Holder for Leisure on the council’s Cabinet, Cllr Andrew Smith. Unfortunately, LDC was unable to reverse this decision based on the fact that no other clubs benefit from such discounts, apart from disabled swimming, so it was felt that the council required to implement the policy with consistency. An alternative of block booking court sessions in advance over a 10 week period was proposed, which would have meant no VAT would be applied bringing court costs down to below £6.00 per session. However, this would involve the club taking a financial risk in paying for the courts in advance, plus then having to take bookings from players, requiring an administrative system to be put in place.

James R tabled a series of options for the club: 1. fold the club, 2. fully virtual club, 3. status quo, 4. developed club, with a brief analysis of what each of these would entail and require.  In particular, it was pointed out that to develop the club with the likes of block bookings and more activities such as coaching, junior membership etc would require a greater club infrastructure to be set up, alongside more commitment from members to take responsibility for things.

Looking at all the options, in the end, it was decided that as things stand and due to the levels of additional commitments that would be required, it will not be possible to further develop the club beyond what it is at present. It was therefore agreed to keep the club running along the lines of what it is at present, i.e. a way of facilitating contact between squash players across the area, running the leagues, running teams and organising occasional additional events and activities as required. It was also agreed that membership fees should stay at present levels, i.e. £15 for new members and £10 for renewals. Retained funds can be used to pay for team entry fees into the 2 leagues where we currently compete (Central and Derbyshire), as well as the England Squash and Racketball court and player affiliation fees where these are a requirement to compete in the leagues. It was also agreed to use funds to purchase prizes for organised events and to provide free courts for these events. It was also agreed to look at increasing the range of events organised, such as a handicapped tournament and club nights. Alan Greaves agreed to investigate these and provide any required organisation.

Nomination and election of Committee positions

James R declared that he was prepared to continue as Chairman for another year. Adrian therefore nominated James R, which was seconded by James H. This was approved unanimously.

James H agreed to continue as Membership/League Secretary, although indicated that he would need to pass over this role in the near future due to increasing work and family commitments. James R therefore nominated James H, which was seconded by Mark. This was approved unanimously.

Mark declared that he was unable to continue with the role of Events Officer due to increasing work commitments and the fact that he had not been able to play squash at all for many months. Unfortunately, there were no nominations for this position forthcoming, so it has been left vacant for the time being.

Jon Penrose has tended his resignation as Treasurer and James R was in the process of changing the bank mandates with Jon so that he could assume temporary charge of this role.

Team Captains will be: Central – James R, Derbyshire 1 – Steve C, Derbyshire 2 – Alan G.

Any nominations for the positions of Membership/League Secretary, Events Officer or Treasurer would be most welcome and anyone interested should contact James R.

Any other business

Rumours continue to circulate about the council potentially looking at the option of closing leisure centres. It is known that the council is currently looking at its services its ‘Fit for the Future’ programme and is also currently consulting with the public about service area priorities. It was agreed that the Club needed to stay in close touch with how this develops further.

There being no further business, the meeting was declared closed.