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Chairman’s 2017 AGM address

4 December 2017 No Comment

Welcome and thank you

Welcome to you all and thank you for coming tonight to our Annual General Meeting and showing support and commitment to the club in general and the committee in particular. It makes a tremendous difference to me as chairman when I see this tangible support for our club. This is a members club, not a private or public company. No one is making a profit out of the running of this club. It is ordinary club members, like you and me, trying their best to ensure our club has top quality tennis facilities available for all of us to use and enjoy throughout the year. So thank you for coming and taking the time to show your interest and commitment. I know everyone on the committee appreciates that support and participation at the AGM tonight. I’d like to start my second address as chairman by thanking a number of people as I did last year.

But this year I appreciate that support even more because I know more of what they do on a daily basis to ensure the smooth running of the club with all its complexities and challenges. Our President Mike Foster for again chairing the meeting tonight and showing his interest and support for me throughout the year in the ongoing running of the club. Thanks too, for all the help of the committee. Particular thanks to Rob Upton as treasurer who will give his report shortly and Roger our secretary. Rob, just gets on with it, whatever it is. He really is at the heart of the club and although he has again been unable to play due to injury it hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm and commitment at all. He has been vital in the last few years to the club, and his thoughtful, robust financial planning and management has ensured we are in a healthy financial state and can plan ahead with confidence. The workload he has to deal with on a weekly basis is very high and it is time we looked carefully at how we can spread out this workload, more of this later. Roger, our secretary, quietly and efficiently gets on with his duties and ensures we always meet our responsibilities, such as being here tonight. Thank you too to the other committee members Meurig, Rhian and Bethan.

And so to John. As I said last year we are very lucky to have someone of John’s calibre and commitment here at our club. His love and knowledge of the sport and this club, his coaching skills and the overall management of the club, have again been of the highest standard in what has proven to be yet another very busy year, as you will hear from his report.

Summary of the past year

So what’s been happening over the past year?

Replacement of courts 5-7

Our major expense and court activity this year has been the replacement of the worn out astro turf courts with our green ‘artificial clay’ courts. They are the first of their type in Wales and this was a major investment and has given our club the benefit of 3 very different types of court surface. The 4 blue courts with their true pacy bounce and ideal for dry weather tennis, but not so good in the wet! Our 4 mid paced reliable hard courts and now our new slower clay courts that are good on the joints, brilliant in the wet and provide an ideal surface for coaching and longer rallies. A special thank you to all the members who helped me and the committee test various surfaces before deciding on the type you can now see outside the club house.

Tennis

It has been business as usual on the tennis front, lots of successful team tennis, coaching and social playing too. The box league has started again and thanks once again to Randall for organising this, and our winter teams are in full swing. John will give some more detail on the tennis front but my feeling is that there has never been more tennis being played at the club than now.

Catering

Our catering operation has had a really tough few years and we still have issues we need to work through. Last year I had to report to you that we achieved a hygiene rating of 3/5 following our inspection and this lead to the departure of our chef Ramo, who would not face into the issues reported by the inspector. A lot of time and effort has been put in to this area of the club since then and I am delighted to report that we achieved a 5/5 score at our most recent inspection, which is the highest rating. We still have lots of ongoing challenges but that was a great result. Thank you to John in particular who managed the kitchen closely and also Marcia and the kitchen team who have done so much to fix the issues. We have an old and out of date kitchen, which leads to some operational challenges. We have huge peaks and troughs with the demand for food. For example on occasion we may have external functions, team tennis meals tournament and hot weather all in the same week and at other times we have no events or team meals and it rains every day. How do we cater for these extremes? Believe me it isn’t easy. However, we are determined to improve and I am delighted to say that Ruth Henriksen, an experienced caterer has just joined the team and I know that she and Marcia will work tirelessly to achieve the standards we all want.

Other highlights

• 24 of our members have just returned from a very successful visit to our twin tennis club in Nantes – Don Bosco. This is our second visit and I know that everyone who went on the trip had a great time and I know they would all want me to thank Meurig for organising and leading the visit and also to John for his support and Nicky Hughes who not only drove the bus to and from the airport but also helped with the costs of the travel, thank you. • We also received a defibrillator machine recently and 36 members were trained on its use. It is located in the lobby and it is not only available for members but is linked through the emergency service 999 system such that it can be accessed by members of the public if there is a cardiac emergency nearby.

Next 12 Months – Priorities

1. Develop our catering capabilities.

2. Broaden the involvement of members in the running of the club.

3. Continue to maximise the tennis opportunities for everyone.

So what does that actually mean? For our catering function it is essential that we stabilise the staffing and ensure we are fully compliant with all the food safety requirements day in and day out. We will then be in a better position to meet members needs for food and refreshments on the vast majority of occasions. Easy to say but really hard to do, all day everyday. On to priority 2. At the moment the day to day running of the club lies in very few hands. I’m not talking about John’s role or about the overall committee responsibilities per se. However the workload of the treasurer in particular is unsustainable and needs to change. We need to think about the ways we work and who does what. For example managing the membership subscriptions and database involves significant work and that is just one of the activities that Rob gets on with. I would like to separate and develop that role to include how new members can be more carefully integrated into the club.

It would also be good to bring one or two extra people on to the committee in order for more people to understand how the club works and prepare them to take on specific roles in the future. I talked about this at the last AGM but no one stepped forward to join the committee or to take responsibility for specific activities. Just because everything seems to be running okay the moment doesn’t mean to say we can be complacent about the future of the club. Things can go off track very quickly and I am determined that it doesn’t happen, but I need your help. Don’t get me wrong lots of members do help already. One small example is members volunteering to learn how to drive our tractor that keeps our new clay courts in good order with weekly sweeps. But we need more of it and across a wider range of members.

Maximising tennis opportunities will always be a priority as this is the main purpose of the club. We can’t be drawn away from this and we will work hard to provide opportunities for everyone. Team players, box leaguers, social players, new and established members alike. This of course needs your help too. We want members to Captain our teams or be available to play as much as possible in the teams, join the box league, actively welcome new people into established playing groups, come to mix-in to meet new people and support John and your committee as much as you can. Remember we are members just like you. Not everyone wants to organise, lead or raise their profile and that is fine. However do your bit and help John, me and the committee in whatever way you can, so that we can ensure our club retains its place as the premier place to play tennis in South Wales for many years to come.

Thank you.

Graham Webster, chairman