New Conveners Letter to members

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To all members,

I am pleased to take this opportunity to contact you all and introduce myself as the new Convener of Dumfries Tennis Club, it is a great honour.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate Mike Goldie for all of his hard work as the previous Convener and I am sure you will agree that the club has made great strides forward under Mike's leadership.

For those that may not know me already, I would like to tell you a little about myself and my background.  I have played and been a member of Dumfries Tennis Club since 2009, prior to which I played tennis a lot in my early years at my local club in Annan.  I stopped actively playing for a while to pursue other interests but continued to watch and support tennis whilst not playing and have always had a keen interest in the sport.  I was very pleased to gain my Level 1 Tennis Coaching Assistant qualification in 2012 and have worked a little with some of our juniors at the club.  I very much enjoy coaching and helping our talented youngsters.

I am 39 years old and I live in Annan with my wife and our two daughters.  Recently I embarked on a new career as self-employed driving instructor.  Although I only started up the business in January, I have found my new career path to be extremely rewarding and being able to set my own hours has the benefit of providing me with more time to play the game that I love and has also helped me get this wonderful opportunity.

Dumfries Tennis Club has a wonderful hard working committee who, I think you will agree; go above and beyond to make the club special.  I would like to thank each and every one of the committee members for all of their hard work to date, and for their continued hard work and support to both myself in my new role as Convener, and the club in the coming months.

I would also like to take the opportunity to introduce Daniel McKeever into the role of Safeguarding Officer.  This is a very important role within our club, as the title states.  We want all members to be able to use our club safely and without harassment.  It is also essential to all of the parents of our Junior members to know that our club is a safe and fun environment for all of our current and upcoming future junior members. 

We also welcome Tony McCluskey as Junior Convener, another very important role, as the junior players are of course the future of our Club, and the sport.  We have a great base on which to build and I am hopeful that we will be able to continue to attract more juniors and encourage them to take up playing this wonderful game.

I am delighted that Mike Goldie has confirmed that he will be staying very actively involved with the club in the form of coaching, and he is of course assisted in this regard by Lewis, Steven, Chad and myself.  Mike has recently completed his Level 2 qualification and is heading up our coaching programme to continue the work and success of previous coaches.  We have juniors that are currently playing in tournaments around the region who are not only performing very well indeed but, who above all, are enjoying tennis and learning to love the game.  I believe, at their young age, this is what it is all about, enjoying and having fun in sport which of course goes hand and hand with learning and improving skills, and Mike is already showing great success in these areas.

I look forward to working with Daniel, Tony and Mike in the coming months in their new roles.

Going forward in 2018, we have the job of making the courts as playable as we can, sometimes in difficult circumstances.  They have of course had to endure some very harsh weather recently but on the whole have coped very well with what the elements have thrown at them.  Of course, the court surfaces have been down a fairly long time now and are starting to show signs of wear and tear.  As a committee, we have discussed this and are looking into the best way forward to keep the courts in good condition.

Another priority for us is attracting more players to the club.  Although we have not seen any decline in the past few years neither have we seen any major rise in numbers, which is something that I would like to look into further.  I believe we have a very friendly sociable club and that we already offer a welcoming environment for new members and always try and make them feel at ease.  If, however, as a member of the club, you have any thoughts or ideas for attracting new people to come and join the club, then please let us know. 

One area that has perhaps been identified as an area, in which we could grow numbers, is our ladies section.  We have had some new players that have started to come to the club nights which Louise Stewart has worked very hard to put on, but I do think that there are a lot more female players, or perhaps ladies who do not already play but who have an interest in the game and who would like to come and give tennis a go.  I am interested in working with Louise and Lindsay Thomson from the committee to explore and pursue ideas to increase the numbers of our lady members and look into holding additional tournaments and open days for not only our female members but also for female players throughout the region.

The junior section has a good backbone of kids coming up, but as stated above, I would like to look into how to expand this even further.  It is great to see all of the kids coming to coaching but I would also like to see more kids booking court time and coming down with friends to play tennis in between coaching sessions.

At our last committee meeting, we discussed ways of improving the facilities without incurring too much cost, and one of the areas we discussed was the tennis pavilion.  We believe that this building could be used more and we have started to discuss ways to improve this area for parents to use while watching their kids play or during coaching sessions, and also for members to be able to use this area a lot more.  Again, we would be interested to have the input of members here and to hear any ideas you may have.

We are currently looking into improving the "hitting wall" beside the pavilion and should have some news on this soon.

Currently, on average, we only have one committee meeting per year in addition to the usual AGM.  I do not believe this to be enough, and would like to propose that we have regular committee meetings on a three monthly basis to meet and discuss any issues and to forge new plans to implement those ideas going forward.  If any members are interested in joining the committee then please do get in touch as we would love to hear from you.

I hope that everyone enjoys their tennis in the months ahead.   Please do not hesitate to contact me on 07949386459 if there are any matters that you would like to discuss.

I look forward to meeting you all soon.

Kind regards,

Malcolm Mcewen