Chairman's Report 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Horsell Tennis Club AGM and a big “thank you” to all for sparing your valuable time this evening.  We very much appreciate all your support for what has been another progressive and busy year for our little Club.

Progress towards entering into a formal lease with the Council for our courts was mentioned at last year’s AGM. An enormous amount of unanticipated work has gone on to negotiate this lease during the past year.  The draft lease is now with our Club solicitors and, we hope, nearing conclusion subject to some last points concerning the extent to which the Council will agree to carry out the court maintenance to a commitment and to a standard to ensure safety, and take responsibility for the standard of those services delivered. The lease, if it can be finalised, will be effective from 1st April 2019.

Various matters arising from the lease negotiations prompted a review of our Club’s constitution and legal status and, at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Management Committee held on 19th February this year, it was agreed that the Club should incorporate as a company limited by guarantee to give it a legal personality. Having reviewed the eligibility criteria and benefits, it was also agreed that the Club will register under the Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) scheme, which provides a number of charity-type reliefs to support local sports clubs.

This new constitution will see us needing to appoint Directors, as well as the Management Committee. The Club will continue under the name Horsell Tennis Club. As a company limited by guarantee, the Club Directors and Management Committee are legally required to act in the interests of the Club members and any surplus funds must be re-invested to help promote the non-profit tennis related objectives of the Club.

The Management Committee has invested a considerable amount of their time and effort to confirm the way forward and the future management of the Club in the best interest of our members, for which I thank them on behalf of the whole membership. Further information will be communicated to members once the lease, incorporation and CASC registration is completed.

In terms of the finances, with careful financial management over the years the club has built up a good fund to meet unexpected costs and maintain its commitment to subsidising access to tennis.  If any HTC member wishes to view the accounts they are of course available for inspection.

Our healthy financial status is due to our continued healthy level of membership. Our current paid-up membership numbers 515, and we anticipate further renewals to come in the next weeks to make membership numbers broadly in line with last year. To date, we haven’t seen an impact on court availability at this level of membership and we will continue to attract new members from our immediate community via subtle marketing techniques and word of mouth.

The only addition to the court furniture this year has been the placing of kit pegs affixed to the fencing on each court.

You’ll be aware that we have done our best to keep membership subscription rate increases to zero. It was agreed at last year’s AGM that subscriptions will not increase for 2019/20. However, with a number of expensive outgoings on the horizon linked to the new lease, we will need to review the subscriptions for 2020/21 and beyond, but will ensure minimum increases to cover costs.

Our LTA venue registration was renewed this year that comes along with its usual benefits, including insurances. With some changes to registration requirements we were obliged to meet more stringent criteria. Thanks go to Parisa Pell for stepping up to take on the role of Welfare Officer. It’s good to see that many have registered with British Tennis Membership through the LTA, and of course those who opted-in to the Wimbledon Ticket Ballot will be eagerly awaiting the draw – not long now.

You will have seen communications about our new affiliation with LTA Licenced Tennis Coach, Chris Hearn, who has joined us this evening. Welcome Chris. As well as the usual eight-week junior coaching, this year we added a four-day Easter coaching camp to our junior programme, which proved very popular and quickly sold out.  We continue to use surplus funds to subsidise the coaching offered, which makes it great value to the participants and accessible to all. Plans are afoot to introduce more coaching, to include coaching sessions for our adult players in social events.

We continue to try and improve our communication with members via emails and our website. We’ve made a few changes to our website to improve content and ease navigation and have now started using online booking and payment for coaching programmes through the website, which has proven much easier for all.

On a matter of administration, your Committee proposed and unanimously supported a change in the timing of future AGMs to allow a closer view of the year ahead upon which decisions can be made. Future AGMs will therefore take place in February. A later social meeting will be held in April next year to draw the Wimbledon Ballot.

Finally, it remains for me to remind you that our Club exists purely because of the generosity of its volunteer Committee who keep things going and put a lot of time and effort in through pure goodwill. I offer a huge “thank you” to the rest of our Committee. I urge you to show your appreciation by getting out on court and getting involved with as many activities as possible throughout 2019/2020.

If you would like to join this happy band of volunteers and help at your Club, your Committee is keen to hear from you.

Wishing you all a good season of tennis.

Laura Cameron-Peck
Chairman, Horsell Tennis Club