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Grafton Committee Update

Dear Members,

We are well aware summaries from committee meetings are over due and have been requested by some of you for a while now, please put this absence down to time constraints rather than willingness.
The most recent committee meeting was held on the 10th July 2017.

For those of you that don’t know our committee consists of the following good-looking and dedicated individuals (those present at this meeting are indicated):

Murray Sutton: Chairman (Present)
Lucas Wielgo: Club Manager (Present)
Toby Mitchell: Treasurer (Present)
Melanie Gibbs: Membership Secretary
Tony Braimbridge: Facilities Manger (Present)
Rodney Toop: Funding Secretary
John Peters: Head Tennis Coach
Graeme Hogarth: Squash Coach
Peter Gray (Present) and Louis Robjant (Present): Squash Membership Representatives
Sarah Honeyball: Social Secretary
Tim Bannerjee: Vice Chairman (Present)

We are now aiming to hold committee meetings on a quarterly basis to help drive forward improvement projects and numerous activities needed to keep the club in a healthy state.
Given the voluntary nature of the committee we often need to prioritise and focus on the most pressing action areas, I hope you’ll agree that agenda points that follow for the most part reflect this.

As you’ll see below there are various improvement projects that are critical for both the upkeep and general vitality of the club. We are situated in an area that consists of several other clubs, and realise members and prospective new members have a healthy choice as to where to play Squash and Tennis (and drink at the bar).
To state the obvious, all improvements come at a cost. We have traditionally covered these costs via by membership fees, donations and various fund-raising activities. Given the size and potential cost of some of the works we now need to complete, the committee feel that we should investigate the potential to raise some funding through bodies such as the LTA and Sport England, this is common place in other clubs. Rodney is leading our charge here and we hope to be able to share some feedback from these 2 bodies by the end of September on the steps we need to take as a club to realise success.

Tennis Courts 1&2 Floodlights and Power Management:
Some of you may recall the auction we held as part of the 2016 Summer Party. The donations were staggering and incredibly generous.
Unfortunately, this project has proved to be far more complex than originally thought. I could take up pages and bore you senseless with a full-blown description of the challenges Tony’s uncovered and had to deal with. In Summary, as well as the purchase and installation of floodlights we also need to either upgrade the club’s existing power supply, or reduce the club’s overall power consumption the accommodate the new floodlights.
From a cost, and future proofing perspective it is thought that a power upgrade would be the preferred option. If we can negate the challenges potentially presented by laying new power cables near the roots of surrounding trees we would sincerely hope to complete all works before Christmas.

Squash Court Heating
This has been a source of constant pain for our squash membership for a number of years now. Peter and Louis have spent a considerable amount of time evaluating the heating options that will provide much-needed improvement in time for this coming winter.
The committee have now signed off the proposal to install a new heater on each court, and a new boiler for the squash building. The aim is to complete installation by the end of September.

Tennis Courts 5-8 Refurbishment
Following an inspection by several tennis court specialists it has been confirmed that courts 5-8 will be in need refurbishment within 12-16 months.
This provides us with the opportunity to look at the potential of installing an alternate surface to the hard courts currently in place. The majority of clubs in the local area offer multiple surfaces, in fact it would seem to be fast becoming a standard offering for any forward-looking tennis club seeking to maintain and attract membership. Murray is collating info on available options and feedback from local clubs before we canvass our membership for your opinions.

All this comes at a significant cost, so we need to innovate. We are finalising some alternate membership offers that, to generate the revenue required to allow us make Grafton even more attractive. I hope you’ll forgive us for absence of a big reveal here. There are some financial details we need to work through. More info on this within a few weeks

Head Coach Updates
The recent Open Day was a resounding success attracting over 20 new members and bolstering attendance on our coaching programs. Once again, a massive thankyou to all those that helped make the event so successful. This will now become a firm fixture in the Grafton calendar.
Over the course of recent months several members have expressed an interest in looking at new opportunities within the tennis coaching program, particularly in support of our Tennis Teams. With the on-set of summer holidays and summer tennis camps, September would seem to ideal time to put new plans in place for 2018. If you like to be involved please let me know.

Members and Annual meeting / Questionnaire:
This has been an agenda point on committee meetings for a while now, and we fully appreciate the need to improve communication and gain more widespread feedback from our membership. As mentioned at the top of this update, please put the lack of progress down to time constraints, rather than willingness.
Look out for the first relatively simple membership questionnaire that will be hitting the newsletter within 3-4 weeks; please take time to complete - your feedback is vital.
We will be looking at the timing of an Annual meeting, and aim to put this in place by the end of the year.

The Social Calendar

Our social calendar continues to improve year on year, Sarah had the Social team are doing a brilliant job in giving us a year to remember!
It was great to see a host of new faces at the Summer party, many thanks to all for supporting.
Next up we have the conclusion to the Tennis 2017 Championships, Fox trophy and Oktoberfest. Plenty to look forward to.

I hope you find this information useful, please feel free to discuss any of the above with our committee members.
The next meeting will be early October, please let me know if you would like to add anything to the agenda and we’ll do our best to accommodate.

Have a great summer and enjoy your tennis and Squash


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