Chairman’s Message – Friday 27 March 2020
The Board met yesterday afternoon (26/03/2020) via Zoom video conference which I recommend not just for meetings but to get family and friends together virtually!
May I begin by passing the Board’s best wishes to all Members in these exceptional times as it is especially hard for those who are alone or self-isolating. Members can see that different Club sections and members of staff are working hard to come up with ideas to keep us stimulated to improve our physical and mental health. We would like to appeal to Members to think about which elderly and vulnerable fellow Members they know who might need help and to consider what each of us can do for them in addition to the volunteers that the NHS and other organisations are coordinating. The Club is happy to co-ordinate such support if details are given to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Board wishes to thank all Members who have written in to express their support for the action which the Club has been required to take. We all share a deep affection and loyalty for our Club and that is more than ever necessary and appreciated in these exceptional times.
Doing the right thing by staff is obviously very important. We will be looking to stand by our staff to help preserve their health and well-being. To allay immediate anxiety and distress all permanent staff have been assured that they will be paid in full until the end of May. Please click here to see my letter to the staff of 20th March, reflecting Member sentiments, which was written after last week’s emergency Board meeting.
That letter was written before the Government’s packages of measures were announced to try and support businesses and workers, whether self-employed or employed. The Club has employed staff, self-employed coaches and instructors and casual staff. The position is still complicated and not all details of the various schemes are yet known. Where any opportunity exists to obtain financial support for the retention of non-working staff we will, of course, be pursuing it.
Apart from looking after our staff, the priority is keep the Club’s future secure which means we must do everything we can to conserve cash. We are planning on the basis that the closure of the Club is temporary and expect to reopen the Club wholly or at least in part as rapidly as changing circumstances allow.
During this period, there will still be salaries to be paid, overheads to be met, including loan repayments as well as essential maintenance to be carried out. There will be no income generated during this time from events, catering, classes and other activities. A reduced team of Grounds staff are working to maintain the golf course, grass tennis courts, croquet lawns and gardens ready for a swift resumption of activities for Members when permitted.
Against this background the Board approved the suspension of all non-essential, discretionary expenditure. This includes work on the Masterplan projects. These along with other suspended items of expenditure will be reviewed when we are able to resume normal business. Our senior management team is also taking steps to limit expenditure by rephasing projects, cancelling contracts where possible and other steps. At the same time, we do not want to jeopardise essential relationships by behaving unreasonably.
The Board also considered the position regarding the hosting of the AGM, due in May, and an announcement about that will be forthcoming shortly.
We are aware that the closure of the Club is a real loss to many Members, beyond disappointment and inconvenience. Our senior management are working hard to ensure a speedy resumption of operations when the law and safety permit. We are determined to ensure that no lasting damage is caused to the Club’s long term future by this hiatus and we are confident that Members will be patient and understanding not just now but also when the Club is permitted to reopen.
If any Member is suffering genuine hardship because of a loss of income caused by this crisis, the Club will consider each individual case on its own merits. Please contact, in the first instance, the Chief Executive at email@example.com with the appropriate information.
After reasonable certainty has been attained on the period of closure, the terms and duration of the Government’s support packages, the impact on the Club’s finances and future operations, and taking into account any costs which may be saved, we will consider what the Club can do going forward to reflect the fact Members haven’t been able to enjoy the Club’s facilities for the period of closure.
Throughout our decisions, we will continue to aim to be fair to individual Members as well as safeguarding the future of Club as a whole.
Best wishes, good health to everyone and please support your Club at this challenging time.