WORTHING BRIDGE CLUB
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Saturday 12th March 2022 at 10.00am
at Byron Road
Present at Byron Road: Jan Adams, Karin Barry, Alexa Baxter,Anne Bello,Betty Coldron, Judy-Ann Cheevers, Laurence Chiswell, Chris Constable, Janet Cretchley, Robert Delacour, Eddie Elliott, Pat Holmes, David Hughes, Debbie Hildick-Smith, Penny Jeffrey, John Jeffery, Jane May, Carol Pembrey, Eileen Perrigo, Ernie Rivett, Gillian Skelton, Lynda Smith, Colin Smith, Dawn Sullings, Rosemary Tuddenham, David Underhill, Nigel Utting, Brenda Wilcox, Maureen Winn
Present on Zoom: Dick Wheeler, Cathy Glendinning
Apologies for absence were received from: Vaughan Bull, Pat Carter, Amanda Clark, Bob Cole, Valerie Conway, Robert and Marilyn Craine, Pat Farrell, Anne Goldson, Barbara and Ian Gordon, Val Harding, Roland Heathfield, Sue Horscroft, Denise Ireland, Doreen Lane, Ann Mackown, Gillian and Peter Mayhew, Jean Meneely, Penny Mitchell, Chris and Siobhan Mullins, Sue Napper, Angela Neale, Christine Norris, Mike Perle, Sue Petitt, Sandy and Chris Reimoser, Eve Snowdon Trigg, Geraldine Springer, Avril Strong, Sabina Surrey, Linda Turley, Stephen Waters
Members sadly deceased in 2021: Philippa Clarke aged 100 years, Helga Clawson, Ken Shilham, Barbara Cook (member until 2017), Jeremy Oakes, Peter Leighton, John Field and Rosemary Churchill whose teaching introduced many of our members to the pleasure of playing bridge.
Approval of Minutes from 2021 AGM – Saturday 12th March 2021
The Minutes were approved and signed off by Ernie Rivett
There were no Matters Arising
Chairman’s Report for 2021/22 –Ernie Rivett
First it is good to have a face to face AGM. Secondly I would like to thank our committee for all the hard work put in throughout the last two years. This thank you extends to the efforts of those who have also helped, but are not on the committee. A personal thanks to Colin Smith, who had to stand down for other commitments, for the work he has done while on the committee. I am also grateful to the financial support members have given by paying their annual subscriptions even though the club could only provide limited playing time.
It would be fair to say that the last two years has changed the way that bridge is now being played not just in our club but throughout the country. This unexpected health pandemic has thrown previous plans away as club adjust to the new circumstances. Some have closed while others have lost F2F sessions altogether and others just operating online.
At least WBC has survived and come out the other side but not without changes having to be made. We set up our own online club within BBO and this is being continued until further notice. I am proud to say that we were able to restart F/F as early as possible and support has gradually increased which is encouraging. We are continuing to be vigilant regarding Covid and keeping members informed as and when necessary.
I managed to keep interest going by arranging a number of online matches with other clubs and I believe that those taking part enjoyed the experience. One club in Kent provided us with a detailed history of WBC that we were unaware of.
I know that Alexa is going to summarise the club finances for the last year but I feel it is my responsibility to explain where we stand today and for the rest of this year. Essentially we have had little income through the club operations over the past two years. Fortunately we applied for and received a £10,000 government grant and this has all been used along with most of the bank cash we retained pre Covid. This was paying for Insurance, Security and Overheads that we have to pay whether we are using the building or not. In addition our 3yr energy contract ended in September and the best 3yr deal available meant a 27% rise in electricity costs.
Again we applied for another grant of £2667 in January and that was approved last month. This will cover the new energy costs for this year.
We will not know exactly how we stand until the end of this year. But taking average expenses from the last two normal years of £24,000 taking away the annual subscriptions of around £5,000 and the latest grant we need to raise around £16,400 on the income side to break even. By the way our membership has dropped from around paid up 270 pre Covid, to around 200 now.
It has been very roughly calculated that to break even for 2022 we need at least 30 tables per week.
When the committee meets in December I hope the club will be seen to at least break even financially. If not then some crucial decisions will need to be made.
Well enough of the doom and gloom.
The club’s annual competitions have restarted, it is hoped to have a Spring Festival in May but some changes may need to be put in place if attendance numbers don’t pick up. At the moment the team competitions that we had on the second and third Thursday may not restart. The new committee will have to look at that.
There is a doubt about the Hills, but a date has provisionally booked, and a decision will be made nearer the time as to whether a F2F event will be sufficiently supported from club and county members. It will be interesting to see what happens at both national and county levels regarding potentially large gatherings.
Out winter league teams’ event was completed last month using both F2F and our online club at BBO.
Online bridge will have to be reviewed as we go to warmer times, is it still worth running?
We will continue to make the club safe for members to use and keeping members up to date with what is happening. I know the government has relaxed the rules regarding Covid leaving decisions to individuals. But recently cases are increasing again so who knows what might be coming from the government and health officials.
Continue to watch closely the financial position. Be aware of any further money support from the government.
Rest assured your committee will act appropriately in relation to whatever situations arise and in the best interests of members.
Your continued support is essential for the club to keep going and once again thank all for the support given over the last two years.
The Chairman then invited comments and questions.
Robert Delacour asked whether we couldadvertise in the Herald to attract new members moving into the area. This has been tried but was expensive and not very successful. Ernie Rivett has also tried advertising in the Library but Colin Smith said that most new members found the Club through the website. Chris Constable suggested that we tried advertising in the local area magazines such as “Inside Worthing” which may be free and if not certainly much cheaper than the Herald. Lynda Smith reported that we now had 200 paid up members. Action Committee
It was asked if tuition should be run for BBO. Ernie Rivett said two problems met with BBO are payment in dollars and that it seems more difficult to view on a tablet. Lynda Smith said that there was a bank account in sterling but more expensive than the dollar account. Nigel Utting said that he has offered to help when asked as had others including Alexa and Lynda. The matter would be brought up in Committee. Action Committee
Ernie Rivett asked if there was any interest in reviving Mentoring with the idea of encouraging good card playing as well as good bidding. This was supported by Debbie Hildick-Smith and Ernie is to advertise and try out more sessions. Action Ernie
David Underhill said that he had been working with schools when living in Storrington and asked if anything was being done locally.
By Zoom Dick Wheeler said that the SCCBA was still trying to introduce bridge into after school Clubs but this had been limited by Covid and schools wanting to get pupils to catch up with their schooling.
Colin Smith spoke of his experience in Davison and Lady of Sion schools but this depended very much on the attitude of the head teacher and finding a staff member to be present. Eileen Perrigo said that she had been involved with two primary schools but again this had ceased with Covid and even in Covid free times a staff member had to be present at classes which made organising this more difficult.
The topic of the monthly team events at the club was brought up. Ernie Rivett asked for a show of hands and a large majority were in favour of resuming the monthly Club teams competitions. Those interested were asked to mark on the Attendance Register whether they preferred an afternoon or an evening event (or either) as there was feeling some members would prefer an afternoon session. Action Committee
Ernie also said that he would continue to arrange online team matches against other clubs during the coming winter. Anne Bello asked if there was interest in playing against the Shoreham U3A bridge teams and this was welcomed.Action Anne & Ernie
The Chairman’s Report was adopted unanimously
Honorary Treasurer’s Report for 2020 – Alexa Baxter
There was a deficit at the end of the year of £3,900. At the end of last year there was a surplus of £6,600 but we received a grant of £10,000 so there was actually a deficit of £3,400.
The net operating income, which is the bridge related income (table money, room hire, subscriptions) less costs (P2P, prize/host vouchers, directors), has increased slightly.
The overheads were higher in 2021. Some of the overheads are fixed costs which are due regardless of whether the club is open, such as insurance, the security system. Electricity costs have increased, the amount spent on flowers etc for members who were unwell or celebrated special birthdays was about £300 higher, we spent extra on having the club deep cleaned before we re-opened, and we also paid for zoom so that we could have virtual meetings with a larger number of people, both for last year’s AGM and for committee meetings (there is a low limit on the number of participants in free zoom meetings). All the existing bar stock had to be written off as it was all out of date.
We have purchased a card reader (£178.80) so we can take payments for table money, subscriptions and vouchers by card. More people are buying vouchers, mainly using a debit/credit card, so the use of cash has decreased. However, there is a charge on each transaction using the card reader and this has been taken into account as an expense. We also purchased a new director’s desk and chair (£919.98).
During the year there were 1371 tables, from both online and face to face sessions, compared to 777 during 2020.
The club re-opened for face to face bridge on 2 August 2021 with all current sessions and an additional one on a Thursday afternoon, which is a ‘relaxed’ session with fewer boards and more time allowed. We have continued with some virtual sessions on BBO on Tuesday afternoon and Friday evening to cater for those members who are unable to return to the club in person at the moment, because of their own ill-health or that of someone they live with.
The face to face sessions averaged 5 tables in 2021, though so far in 2022 the average has increased to 5.5 tables. The online sessions have only averaged 2 tables since the club re-opened but we are still making a very small profit on these. However, we may need to look at whether it is viable to continue them, particularly the Friday session which regularly does not run because the minimum of 2 tables isn’t reached.
Assuming that the average number of tables at a session increases to at least 6, which should be possible now that Covid restrictions have been lifted, and that there are no unforeseen major expenses, other than the expected ones of higher costs generally, we should be able to break even this year.
A lot of members paid their 2022 annual subscriptions in December and these are shown as a current liability. The liability for charity tombola etc is the amount raised during December by donations, the tombola and the book sale. This amount will be distributed between three charities, MacMillan, Alzheimer’s and the Stroke Association.
Comments on the Treasurer’s Report
Robert Delacour suggested that the cost of a voucher booklet should be increased to £31 to cover the cost of using a credit card. Nigel Utting pointed out the advantages of moving away from cash were such that we need an incentive to use vouchers. Ernie Rivett said that when the financial situation is considered towards the end of the year this is certainly a suggestion that will be borne in mind.
By Zoom Dick Wheeler reported that Clubs across the County were keeping online and face to face bridge going with some clubs still mainly online. Lynda Smith said that any outsider to the Club could be accepted by our system but though eight have registered no one has actually played in either of our two online sessions and the Friday session is now very poorly supported.
Carol Pembrey suggested setting up an associate membership for £5 to play online only. Anne Bello said that she would contact friends at Shoreham who could well be interested in playing in the Friday evening session. This was welcomed. We could also advertise through the website that Worthing was open to online visitors. Action: Anne and Committee
The Honorary Treasurer’s Report and audited accounts were adopted unanimously
Appointment of Independent Auditor
Angela Neale was reappointed Independent Auditor
Election of Officers
Nominations for the Committee were as follows:
Chairman - Ernie Rivett
Vice-Chairman – Eileen Perrigo
Honorary Secretary – Gillian Skelton
Honorary Treasurer – Alexa Baxter
Committee members:Judy-Ann Cheevers
David Underhill was invited to introduce himself as both new to the Committee and new to WBC. David has just moved from Storrington to Worthing, enjoys playing cards and wants to give something back. He feels that at times it is good to mix experienced players with less experienced in random pairs events. He found WBC a very inviting and friendly club.
All were elected unanimously
Election of Conduct Committee Chairman
Valerie Benson was elected unanimously
Any other business
Anne Bello asked if a picture of the Committee could be put up so that the faces can be recognised by new members and this was agreed. Action: Committee
David Hughes said that as he has read the committee meeting minutes over the past year he has been amazed at the amount of detailed work that the Committee has done. David asked those present to join him in applauding the Committee’s efforts.
The next year AGM will be on Saturday 11th March 2023 at 10.00am
Winter League Handicap Teams Results
6 teams took part with matches played online or in the Club
1st Sandy Reimoser £35
2nd Eileen Perrigo £25
3rd Ernie Rivett £15
4th Gill Skelton £10