Nearly a month after the lockdown has begun to be eased, it is wonderful to see so many enjoying our Club. The courts, lawns, gardens, and course are in superb condition and I must thank the greenkeeping and gardening staff on our behalf. It has also been a pleasure to be able to use the takeaway refreshments service in the piazza which has proven popular. It has also been good to see some familiar faces from the F&B staff back with us. But, please, do remember to respect the social distancing requirements especially in this area and all around the Club.
Nevertheless, it is sad that we have not been allowed, for good reasons we all understand, to reopen the Health Club, Outdoor Pool, Squash courts, Art Studio and Clubhouse. Plans are in place to do so as soon as restrictions are lifted by the Government. Marc Newey and his team are raring to go as it is hoped that they will all be reopened under certain conditions and restrictions in early July. It is likely to be a long haul before we can resume activities as we had become used to, but we are determined to provide as many facilities and services, with employment for our skilled and valued staff, as we can to the best possible standard. There will likely be many variables along the way and the outcome is uncertain.
Meanwhile, the national situation changes rapidly including changes to the various schemes the Government has put in place to support businesses, employment, and the self-employed. We are keeping abreast of this and the Board at its meeting later this month will be considering the impact of the latest changes to permitted activities and financial support schemes on the club’s operational, financial plans and projections.
In common with many businesses at the moment, one aspect which has been time consuming to deal with is the finalisation of the 2019 Annual Report and Accounts. With all the uncertainty of Covid-19 and the impact that this may have on the economy and on the Club from an operational and a financial perspective, our auditors have been even more rigorous than usual. This process has been even more detailed than normal resulting in the delay. Members will be aware that the auditing profession as a whole has been taking a very thorough approach affecting many companies to satisfy themselves that their clients are appropriately reporting that they are going concerns. Given the Club’s relatively robust financial position at the outset, and the recently restated continuing support of our bankers, we are continuing to work closely with our auditors to bring this to an acceptable conclusion in the next few weeks. Until this is achieved, we cannot convene the AGM, but we are planning on it being held over the summer months.
In this context, the Board would like to thank the 600 Members who took part in the recent industry-wide, private members’ club survey.
Survey highlights include:
45% said the Club post COVID-19 is important to them with another 32% saying it is even more important.
70% expect the Club’s financial position to decline over the next 12 months
59% felt that there should be only a modest increase or no change in subscriptions post COVID-19
34% felt there should be a modest reduction in the subscriptions post COVID-19
66% expected the Club to make changes to operations as a result of the enforced closure with reductions to the Food and Beverage service being the most mentioned.
60% scored the Club 8 out of 10 or better on how it had performed during the pandemic and lockdown. 23% scored the Club 10 out of 10.
92% will definitely be renewing their membership for 2021 with only 1% saying they did not wish to renew.
Members can view the whole survey results here. Besides this very useful data we also have feedback from comments made which the Board will duly consider when setting the 2021 budget in September.
Bearing in mind the number of Members enjoying our outdoor facilities once more and those likely to want to use the Health Club, squash and pools when allowed, the Board has decided to defer the intake of new Members in July who would normally have been invited to join. A letter has been sent to the prospective Members on the waiting list, explaining the Club’s position. It has been heartening to see the understanding shown combined with the high level of enthusiasm to join when they can.
Lastly, I would like to thank all Members for their patience as we reopen the Club and ease us all back into its pleasures.
PS please do not forget to use the hand sanitisers on entering and leaving the Club plus observe social distancing.
With all good wishes,