Commodores Spring Newsletter

Spring Newsletter: January 2018


Dear Members,

Last night the Flag Officers and General Committee met with all of the Executive Officers, Committee Members and other volunteers to thank them for their help and support.

I took the opportunity to bring them up to date with our Club Development Plans. What we have been doing in the last few months, what we are planning to do in the next 6 months and how that impacts the next 6 years. I now want to share that information with you all.

When I met with a couple of Section Secretaries a few weeks ago, I was surprised to discover that we had failed to effectively communicate our Club Development Plans with them.  So I took a few moments to repeat a message that was given two years ago.

Our Club has a Development Plan, which is documented and available on the web site.

It contains details of the strategy and vision set by the Flag Officers, together with the aspirations and agreed objectives of the various Sections.

The aspirations and objectives are prioritised and do change over time, making the Club Development Plan a living document. But it is important that we capture and share changes within our Plan as and when they occur.

We are a Members Club. Our future survival depends upon a thriving membership base. That is why our key Strategy is based upon 5 core principles or objectives: –

  1. Improve & maintain our recruitment and community profile
  2. Improve & maintain shore based facilities
  3. Improve & maintain water based facilities
  4. Improve & maintain shore based activities
  5. Improve & maintain water based activities

If we keep these five elements as our guide and direction when deciding upon future activity and investment, we should ensure that our efforts are properly being directed to the overall benefit of the Club.

As an example, within our Club Development Plan, there is a section relating to the ‘Building Development’. As you know, we have invested £250k (some £563 over budget) on this aspect to improve and maintain our shore-based facility. When complete it will also help us to improve and maintain our recruitment and community profile.

The building work has therefore come out just £563 over budget but slightly ahead of time on the delivery plan. We are hoping to get the Club House facility up and running now by mid April.

We have also spent funds, replacing a section of sewer drain that had collapsed (amounting to over £5,000), and needing to bring the main intruder and fire alarm controls up to current standards, (amounting to a further £10,000). These were unforeseen and the General Committee approved these unbudgeted items as separate entities to the main building project. In addition we also agreed to upgrade the galley equipment to make sure we had a fully functional and legally compliant galley going forward and this is costing a further £15,000.

We know that the investment in the building has taken a long time to come to fruition, but we accept it is key to our future. Sport England sent a consultant to visit us some 3 years ago and within their recommendations it was clear that we needed to improve and modernise our toilets, showers and galley if we were to attract new members.

The House Committee also have aspirations to make better use of the building during the working week. In conjunction with a new catering franchise we hope to be able to benefit from additional income from this area as well as offering our meeting space to external groups.

With our 90th anniversary occurring this year, we are looking to capitalise on the opening of the new club house by conjoining both with some publicity for an event in late May or June

Another aspiration from the House Committee is to explore making the balcony cover a more permanent fixture. The success of this extra flexible space has been evident during the past few months.

We have a ‘Task Group’ looking at membership issues. They will report their findings to ‘House’ at the end of next month and we can then consider new options to retain and attract members.

The Flag Officers and General Committee are reviewing the detailed make up of our Executive Committee structure. We have received representation from some Section Secretaries, who do not feel empowered to make effective change under our current arrangement. We are therefore proposing to replace the current Finance & Policy Executive with an Operational Management Committee consisting of the Flags and the Section Secretaries. Details of Terms of Reference are just being finalised and agreed before we embark to make these changes.

Marine have a number of aspirational projects they are considering. Work on the Pier to reinforce and strengthen the timber piles is now near to completion and investigations into the best arrangement for the floating pontoons are well advanced.

Another Marine initiative is focused upon the options to replace or repair the Sub Lifter. Whilst facts and options are being collated, we expect to hear more detail over the coming months.

Making better use of our moorings is a key target for marine this year. Ways in which we can offer ‘serviced’ moorings are being explored in conjunction with other initiatives to attract more use.

Angling are still pursuing their plans to grow the training aspects to encourage younger members amongst which their aspiration to have a dedicated sea boat is still a high priority.

Once the Building Project is complete we will be in a position to review the main Club Development Plan document. I know that many other initiatives are waiting to be developed, subject to funding and priority.  But, I would encourage all Secretaries to review any of the content that relates to them and update those parts of our Plan as appropriate.

Remember our simple 5 point focus:

  1. Improve & maintain our recruitment and community profile
  2. Improve & maintain shore based facilities
  3. Improve & maintain water based facilities
  4. Improve & maintain shore based activities
  5. Improve & maintain water based activities

As we prepare for a busy 2018 season we are looking forward to making full use of our refurbished building facility. The new handbook is full of events and activities, so please take time to read through it and put markers in you diary to support your Club.

Have a safe year on and off the water.

Jim Watson