25 March 2021
Club credit, Club Rule changes and AGM update
Dear Fellow Members,
At last, our Club is about to reopen. It will only be partial but it marks a significant moment after nearly 11 weeks. Golf, tennis and croquet, outdoor fitness and swimming will all resume. Alas, our Members who take part in indoor activities such as bridge, art, snooker, squash, backgammon or who just like to use the Club socially will have to wait a while longer while continuing to make use of the Club’s excellent online activities and events in the meantime
The Board discussed this week the question of what it can do to best recognise the fact that we have not been able to use the Club for nearly a quarter of this year. These are among the most important factors we had in mind in reaching our decision:
◊ Members have shown great patience through the new lockdown as well as loyalty in renewing their subscription in January in the face of the restrictions then in place;
◊ The owners of the Club are us, the Members;
◊ The customers of the Club are its owners;
◊ The Club has no reserves on which to draw;
◊ The Members and shareholders being one and the same, it is not a question of taking money away from one group for the benefit of another (as would be the case of a Club with commercial owners which is run for profit for distribution to investors);
◊ The solvency, long term financial stability and ability of the Club to fulfil its aims should not be damaged;
◊ Any scheme should be as simple as possible; and
◊ It should not impose a disproportionate administrative burden on the Club’s staff.
The Board’s decision, accordingly, was that there should be a credit applied to each Member’s Club card. This will include those aged 4 and above. The credit will be £250 for a Full Member. This figure will be reduced pro-rata according to the rate of subscription paid by each Member. For example, a Full Playing Member in the 26-29 age bracket will be credited with £125; a Tennis Member will receive £185 and a Junior member aged 4-10 will have £40 applied to their card.
There will be an exception to the strict application of the pro rata principle: Members in the Other Sports category who have certainly had less use of the Club for the last year will receive a credit of £250 and then pro-rata to subscriptions paid in that category.
Please click here to view the full Club Credit table.
The aggregate value of the credit to Club cards across all Members comes to approximately £750,000, or 7.5% of our income. The credit will be available for three years. It may be used across the Club for food and beverage purchases but also to pay for lessons, tuition and events.
There are some complex technical tax and administrative matters to be addressed to implement this decision. We aim to make the credit available to Members on their cards from 13th April, when outdoor catering with tables and chairs can be enjoyed here.
There is no right or wrong answer on this question. Some Members have written to me and Marc Newey expressing views, often strongly held and expressed, on this topic, both for and against. The Board considers that it has reached a fair and proportionate decision and I sincerely hope we can now all get on and enjoy our Club as fully as possible.
The Board has carried out its annual review of the Club rules to ensure in the light of experience that they are appropriate and fit for purpose, especially given any legislative or regulatory changes.
Our sports governing bodies (especially the LTA) have updated their guidance on safeguarding. We are required to comply with this guidance. Accordingly, we have clarified the age when a Junior needs to be collected in person by their parent after a lesson or class and our expectation of a parent to supervise young children aged under 10 at all times while at the Club. Our Sports and Holiday Camps are excepted where full supervision is provided. The Board acknowledges that some parents may find these changes inconvenient, but the Club, its staff and coaches must follow these requirements and cannot be expected to have parental responsibility.
We have introduced a Junior Absent Member category paying half of the Adult Member subscription and reduced the qualifying distance of where an Absent Member must reside away from the Club to 65 miles as opposed to 150 miles.
We have also clarified the rule we introduced last year where a Member receives 12% or 15% discount off the annual subscription if they have had 35 or 40 years of continual membership. That discount applies from the age of Full Membership which is 35 years of age.
I attach documents (click here) which set out the rule changes that the Board has made. These have immediate effect. A copy of the Club Rules as they existed before these changes is available on the Members’ pages of the Club’s website.
We would normally hold the Club’s AGM at the end of May. Under the Government’s road map, it will not be possible to hold the meeting in person at that time. We, therefore, intend to postpone the AGM so that Members who wish to attend in person may do so and those who prefer to attend by Zoom can do so. The intended date is 22nd June. This may change if the Government’s roadmap for lifting of restrictions planned for 21 June is altered.
I would like on behalf of the Board and myself to thank all Members for their patience and many expressions of support over the last three months. I would also like to thank Marc Newey and his staff for all their hard work during the latest lockdown. The Club is in great shape and I can’t wait to get out onto the course and the courts. I am sure many of you do too. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our Club in the coming days.