Dear Club members
The Club’s committee met for our regular monthly meeting on Monday where we reviewed the discussions we had at the AGM, specifically on 2023 strategy and membership subscriptions. To recap the presentation from the AGM, as previously advised we are deliberately running this year at a deficit to run down our reserves which increased over covid (as we had collected subscriptions for the year in advance but couldn’t hire any pool time or run in person training sessions during the lockdowns).
This year’s deficit is in fact largely driven by lower numbers of club members (~170 now vs ~270 pre covid) rather than significantly increased costs, but we’ve all agreed this was the right thing to do as a thank you for sticking the Club during the dark covid days.
Despite this, the Club will most likely still have some £30k in cash reserves at the year end. The AGM discussion focused on whether we should continue to run sessions at a level which would continue to run down the reserves significantly, as well as alternative options such as increasing the membership fee, move to a pay as you go fee structure, or to cut sessions to match the lower membership numbers.
After a really good debate on the options, the committee – which now includes voices from the new committee for 2023 – settled on recommending that we retain the current fee structure for 2023 ie £120 for 12 months of membership. We have confidence in the Club’s unbeatable value proposition and amazing all inclusive training and coaching schedules, and we all recognised that we’re in the midst of serious cost of living increases and that as things stand the Club is in the happy position to be able to keep fees at the same level for the next 12 months. This would be with the aim of ending the year with a level of membership closer to the 270 level than the 170 level we are at now. Given the capacity we have at training sessions, we believe this would be a sustainable route forward for the club.
All members have a part to play here as ambassadors for the club and the consensus was that a significant proportion of members join due to personal recommendation. In tandem with this we are also keen to reach out and engage with those who are under represented in the club, and to explore creative ways with which we can sustain our current membership and nurture new membership going forward. If members have ideas or time to contribute here then please do get in touch as we have formed a sub committee to give some attention to this.
There are a number of caveats to this decision however. Firstly as we all know, inflation is currently in the ~10% region (especially for energy bills which are significant for pools) and it is quite possible that the costs of hiring swimming pools, track sessions and other overheads like insurance could rapidly increase without much notice. Secondly, if Club membership numbers decrease further in 2023, then our revenue will also decrease proportionately. We are able to take on a degree of these adverse financial risks, but they seem particularly difficult to foresee at present and at some point the future committee may have to re-evaluate the position.
If members DISAGREE with this recommendation, they should raise their concerns with me at a training session with any of the other committee members and coaches. If there is enough interest we will arrange either a dedicated session to discuss finances further, or have a wider membership survey. (If members agree then they are also very welcome to let me know about that too!).
The final decision will be made at the committee decision on Monday 5 December, so have your say now if you have a different perspective. The Club is a membership organisation and ultimately this is your money and strategy we are talking about here. We want to make the right decisions for you, the members, and ensure that the Club’s mission to provide quality multi-sport training, advice and supportive community resources continues for the next decade.
Nick Wenban-Smith – firstname.lastname@example.org