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Management Committee Meeting August 2023

Minutes of Management Committee Meeting held on Monday, August 7th 2023


Phil Catlin, Mary Sutton, Peter Jones, Ian Badman,Sue Withers, Ann Kelly, Ray Kelly, John McFarlane, LynnSmalldon

The Chairman opened the meeting at 7.30pm.

1. Apologies for Absence

These were received from Brian Pearson

2. Minutes of the Committee Meeting of May 22nd

These were accepted as a true record.

3. Matters Arising from preceding meeting

3.1 Club Lottery

Phil had spoken to Toby, who had earlier in the year, proposed a fund-raising lottery be organised. Toby had consented to organise this. It was agreed that this should commence next season.

3.2 Defibrillator

Phil had sought to find out if the defibrillator located beside the MUGA was operational but no-one he had contacted seemed to know. It was deemed unacceptable that a non-operational device remains in place, that could cause valuable time to be lost in an emergency. Matter to be further investigated. Peter had looked into the costs and practicality of obtaining a defibrillator for the Club’s own use. The British Heart Foundation will provide a free unit to organisations provided certain criteria are met. These include access to the general public (necessitating siting outside the Club’s premises), no other defibrillator within 200 yards and a busy location. This effectively rules this option out. Other charitable organisations offer partial funding to Clubs but likely cost to Club will be approaching four figures. The Secretary was actioned to find out more details of other options.

3.3 Solar Panels

At the last Committee meeting, an outlined planned approach to progress the project was agreed but no actions were set out and the project is in abeyance. In discussion Ian mentioned the need to re-felt the roof of the Clubhouse before the installation of solar panels and costs to do this could be substantial.  John estimated that the pay-back period based on current costs could be in the region 5 to 7 years. The recent quotation costed the project at around £10k. The possibility of getting a grant to cover part of the cost of the project was mentioned. Given the average age of our membership, Mary felt that funding the project via member loans would not be successful since many would be looking for a shorter pay-back period. It was agreed that no further action be taken at present and the topic referred to the 2024 Management Committee for reconsideration.

3.4 Local Council Grants

Following prompting by Martyn George, the Deputy Town Clerk had sent details of the Council grants policy and this document had been circulated to Committee members. Such grants are for relatively small sums and for sums over £500, specific criteria need to be met. This option should be borne in mind for future expenditure needs. Ian mentioned that he had obtained a quote of £800 to install side lighting alongside the entrance path, that might attract a grant of this type, although Phil thought solar lighting would be a cheaper option


4. Updates (as relavent) from Committee Officers

4.1 Secretary

Recruitment wise, 2023 has been quite successful. In the event, eight people did not renew their membership this year (four men and four ladies) but we did recruit ten new members (seven men and three ladies). A good number of visitors have attended roll-ups over the season with 24 entries in the visitor’s book. Eight of these seem likely to join next year.

The Open Day, arranged to coincide with the Family Community Day on the Sports Field was a let-down, largely due to the weather, although we did attract one potential new recruit. If we are to use Open Days as recruitment vehicles in the future, rather than just publicising the Club, such events need to take place earlier in the season. Some fresh promotional literature was prepared for the event and a 6ft by 2ft banner produced, these will find use in the future.

A proposal by an ‘Estate planning Company has been received offering to give talks to interested members on ‘Financial Planning for later life’ and ‘Issues relating to the need for care for the elderly’. There was no interest from the Committee in this.

4.2 Treasurer

John provided a current bank balance statement. 

4.3 Club Captain

Ian summarised the season to date. Performance in the WFML has been pretty average. Generally, matches have been well supported but this has come from ladies rather than men. The Club has started reasonably well in the Men’s League, winning their last two matches. The match against Ilminster has had to be changed to the Saturday when the Club is on Tour and fortunately there are sufficient players to fulfil the fixture. The friendly matches have not been as well supported as might be expected. Disappointingly, the Club was knocked out in the first round of all the major cup competitions.

4.4 Ladies Captain

It has been a mixed season so far, with the Club being at the top of the Ladies SW League earlier this season before falling back. The Club was knocked out in the first round of the Fear Cup to Yeovil and subsequently lost in the Plate to Street.. Mary proposed that next year the Club play in the County Southey Cup instead of the National Fear Cup Competition.  Lynn will be standing down from the captaincy role next year and wished to record her thanks to all who have supported her.

4.5 Fixture Secretary

Following the cancellation of the Wedmore match due to the Club being unable to field a team, Sue had received a letter from them which she read out to the meeting. They note that, following Covid, there has been a falloff in support for Club matches and, as we are experiencing newer members are less inclined to play matches than longer serving members. This seems to be a general issue with all Clubs. Sue is beginning to sort out next year’s fixtures and provided a breakdown of matches. It was proposed that we cancel some of the friendly fixtures that have not been well supported.

4.6 Competition Secretary

Ray mentioned that the Club Competitions had generally proceeded smoothly this year and the outstanding matches are scheduled for completion shortly. An unscheduled Cider/Wine/ Cheese Fun Day has been planned for Wednesday, August 16th but more names are needed to enable the event to proceed. The Secretary was actioned to circulate a reminder to members with e-mail.

4.7 Green/ Maintenance Officer

The hard work carried out on the Green has really paid off with it really bowling well and complimentary remarks have been received from a number of visiting Clubs. Maintenance work is ongoing with the latest issue being a fault in the hot water system in the Ladies toilet. Presently the hot water tap has been disconnected but this represents a hygiene issue and needs to be resolved. Ian advised that a new heating unit would cost around £80.

4.8 The Club at Somerton Representative

Phil mentioned that Graham Load will be relinquishing his management role next Spring and depending on subsequent arrangements, this may have connotations on our ability to gain post-match access to the bar. There has not been a meeting of the Club Committee for 2 months.

4.9 Recreation Ground Trustee

Phil had attended a meeting of the Trustees at which it was apparent that the Trustees are operating in an undemocratic way. It has been decreed that all sports clubs operating on the field and receiving sponsorship must pay 25% to the Trust. The Trust is required to be self-financing with its primary income coming from the Club at Somerton that has to pay a lease of £6k per annum as well as a percentage of their profits.

4.10 SBA Representative

Mary mentioned that the SBA had relaxed the restrictions on design of Club shirts and no longer require these to be registered. She advised that after many years in the role of SBA Rep. she will not be standing for re-election next year and a replacement should be sought

5. Topics Discussed

‚Äč5.1 2024 Management Committee Nominations

A Nomination form for next year’s Management Committee has been drawn up and will be placed in the Clubhouse. If past years’ experience is anything to go by, this will elicit a poor response from members. Seemingly the culture within Bowls Clubs is changing with an increasing number of members only wishing to sit on the sidelines and not get involved with Club Management. Peter queried whether there is any better way to persuade members to get involved. After discussion it was proposed that an e-mail be sent to all members asking them personally to consider standing for office and provide an individual copy of the nomination form, tied in with the following section on Captaincy.

5.2 Club Captaincy for 2024

As mentioned above, all the Captains and Vice Captains will be standing down from their roles this year and it looks like it will prove difficult to fill all these positions. Ian described how, with the number and frequency of fixtures, the difficulty in getting players to fulfil the teams and the ancillary work required, the role of Club Captain was extremely demanding on time. In discussion it was felt that the best way to alleviate this was to get more members involved to share responsibility. Ideas voiced included appointing a number of vice- captains with specific responsibilities for different classes of match (i.e. Leagues, WFML, Friendlies) or creating a selection committee whose members would take responsibility for different matches, depending on their availability. No decision was made on how to proceed but it was agreed that we need to agree a firm proposal before or at the next Management Committee meeting. In any case, the Club needs to have Mens and Ladies Captains in place to oversee the arrangements and sit on the Management Committee. The Secretary was actioned to draw up an e-mail, explaining the situation to members and to seek nominations for the redefined captain’s roles. This to be circulated to Committee members for comment prior to general distribution.

5.3 Presentation Dinner

Ray provided a chronological account of the situation to date concerning plans to hold the Presentation Dinner at the Northover Manor Hotel. An e-mail together with an application form had been sent out to all members stating the deadline of September 9th for a response. Only one form had been returned to date. Ray pointed out that should we not reach the minimum required number of placements, we will be required to pay an additional £250 for hire of the room. There had been some disgruntlement amongst members concerning the limited choice of menu and the extra cost (including extra payment for post-meal coffee).

The Secretary was actioned to send out a reminder to members. If after this reminder it looks as if we will fall short of numbers, there is the option to cancel, with a cancellation fee of £100 being payable. If we did need to find an alternative venue, the Club at Somerton was suggested as a possibility, where outside caterers could be brought in to provide the meal. In this event, it was proposed that a strongly worded letter be sent to the Northover Manor indicating our disappointment at the reduced options available.

5.4 AGM Protocol

Peter advised that the next Management Committee Meeting be held at least three weeks before the date of the AGM. At this meeting, Committee members should provide copies of their annual reports to be presented at the AGM at this meeting, so that they may be circulated beforehand. In accordance with our new constitution, these will be taken as read at the AGM and only points arising may be discussed. Club members will be invited to submit items for the agenda ahead of the AGM and these, together with any additional topics that this Committee feels need to be taken to the AGM can be discussed at the next meeting.

5.5 Club Rules

The delegated sub-committee has yet to meet to draw up the Club Rules. A list of possible subject areas to be included has been produced. It was proposed and agreed that the sub-committee meet at the end of the season to complete this task and the draft set of rules will be circulated for discussion at the next Management Committee meeting, before being presented for approval at the AGM. These rules will primarily be used to advise new members.

6. Any Othe Business

6.1 Tennis Club Expansion (raised by Phil)

The Tennis Club has sought permission to create a third court. Phil presented a plan whereby this would be constructed alongside their present facility, necessitating removal of the hedge, relocating the footpath and redesigning the entrance to the Bowls Club. Phil considers this plan is unlikely to gain approval since the relocated path would be too close to the football pitch. It is likely other locations on the Sports Field will be considered.

6.2 Keys for Clubhouse windows (raised by Mary)

Presently we do not have keys to lock the windows in the Clubhouse since they were never supplied. Phil agreed to contact Nick Shore. Alternatively, we should be able to get one from Somerton Windows.

6.3 Toilet Block (raised by Mary)

The original proposed project has stalled since we do not have an updated quote. It may worth looking again at installing a pre-fabricated building and subsequently installing the plumbing, thereby breaking down costs. South Petherton have installed new toilets and we should find out more about how they raised the money.

7. Date of Next Meeting

Not agreed at meeting but the date of Monday, October23rd seems appropriate (3 weeks before the AGM).

Footnote:  Following the meeting, it was discovered that the Club at Somerton are unable to accommodate the AGM on Monday November 13th and it has been subsequently agreed that the AGM will now take place on Tuesday, November 14th (to be notified to members)