AGM Update

Dear FOS&RC Members, 
​ ​ 

Following the club AGM held on the 23
of June, I would like to update the membership on issues discussed and connected directly with it. 

For those that were unable to attend on the night, the meeting was well attended and a lively debate was held on many of the proposals put forward. 

Members were asked to vote on whether voting for future proposals for constitution and by-law rule changes could be made by email in order to allow for every member to have their say. Whilst there were some concerns expressed regarding the process and integrity around the votes, in the end all members present saw this as a positive step and voted overwhelmingly to introduce this. However don’t forget that we still need at least 20 members to turn up at the AGM to deem the meeting as properly held, so wherever possible please keep attending! 

We also discussed the proposal that the club should recognise the needs of certain groups to receive a modest reduction in annual fees for memberships. This meant that members of pensionable age and also those under 25 could pay 25% less than currently set rates. This will put us in line with most other clubs and organisations who recognise the special financial circumstances that such groups can face and also that it may help us attract or retain more members who otherwise might may leave or not return and attract new comers to our club. Again this was voted in by all the members present. 

We also agreed on the proposal that our fees for memberships and light fees would not be increased in line with inflation. The view of the committee is that an increase should only be made when there is a need to do so and not purely to keep pace with prices. We need to remain competitive as a club and by keeping our fees as low as possible we will maintain our best chance of retaining existing and attracting new members. 

The AGM also has the function of electing officers of the club and committee. This year the current Chairman Colin Codrai was standing down after 9 years in the seat. We should all be grateful for his efforts over the years and we wish him the best for the future as a playing member who can now just relax and enjoy his racketball and the odd beer! I put myself forward for this role as I believe that the club is facing some big challenges over the next 3-5 years and I feel confident that I together with the committee can make a difference to our club and help to take us forward. 

This year we had an election for the role of junior organiser. This situation arose because one of our members, Paul Finch wished to take on the challenge of leading and developing the junior section at FOS&RC. Our club constitution allows for any member to apply for any committee position prior to the AGM. The existing holder Shane Pletts also wished to continue which created the need for an election. The process that followed was entirely in line with our written constitution. This was quite an emotive issue for many of our members with support for both candidates clearly being shown for a mixture of  reasons. Both candidates submitted their junior plans and this was circulated to the membership prior to the AGM. Both candidates had the opportunity to discuss with members ahead of the AGM why members should vote for them.  Information was circulated to the parents of juniors with an offer from Paul to discuss any concerns. Juniors are the future of not only our club but for squash in general.  With falling squash participation numbers generally, the recruitment, development and retention of our young players is probably one of our biggest concerns in order to secure our club’s future. 

On the night each candidate was given the opportunity to present their plans and take questions from the floor which included parents of juniors. Following this a vote was held by those members present, plus postal votes being allowed for the first time so that the wider membership could have a say in the outcome because this was viewed as such an important issue for the club and our juniors. Whilst the committee understand some of the frustrations that this election may have caused, particularly with a number of parents, the process was fixed according to our rules and had to be completed within a fairly short time frame. This process may not be perfect but it is what we have to work with as a members club.

The result on the night was that Paul Finch received 39 votes and Shane Pletts 22, which meant that Paul was elected as junior organiser for the coming year. At the AGM Paul made an offer to the existing junior coaching team to work with him on Saturday morning coaching and other junior activities. 

Unfortunately within three days of the AGM the existing coaching team made arrangements to move the Saturday junior section to a new venue at the Fleming Park Sports Centre which commenced on the first  Saturday after the AGM . This new group session is a private venture and has no connection with FOS&RC. The committee and many other members are very disappointed with this course of action.  The committee feel that new junior organiser should have been given an opportunity to demonstrate what he could offer our juniors but this action denied him the chance to do this.

This is a real shame because the feedback so far about the new format Saturday coaching with Paul and his team has been excellent with numbers now increasing each week. There is a lot of on going work to further develop the junior section which will be announced soon with a new strategy covering all aspects including development, coaching skills, reward, mentoring and integration.  Juniors and parents who decided to move to Fleming Park are more than welcome to come back to the Saturday morning sessions at Fair Oak at any time. There will also be additional junior activities at other times during the week which all junior members will be welcome to attend. 

Other members of the committee were re-elected unopposed as follows. Stewart Chandler (secretary + racketball captain) Paul Bright (treasurer) Andy Tyler (membership secretary and IT) Natalie Morant (support functions including finance, new members / mentoring, gym) Andy Codrai (tournaments) Dave Brierley (squash club captain). The role of social secretary was not been filled and this responsibility will be covered by all committee members on various future events. Note: Andy Codrai is planning on this year being his last as the tournament organiser so if you would like to consider this role please speak to Andy.

The last part of the evening was to acknowledge our members by presenting awards for 'squash player of the year', 'racketball player of the year' and 'member of the year'. Dave Brierley the squash captain nominated Kyle Finch as the squash player for an outstanding season playing and supporting the first team’s return to the Premier Division. Any member who supported the 1st team by coming along to watch would no doubt agree with this award. There were other players who equally could have won this award and Dave’s choice was a difficult one, however our congratulations go to Kyle.  Stew Chandler nominated Bob Broadbridge as the racketball player of the year for his playing, commitment, reliability and match food making ability! Well done Bob. Nigel Sanders was presented with the member of the year in recognising his selfless efforts in supporting the juniors during many years at the club. An award well deserved. 

The AGM is only a once in the year event where traditionally matters get decided. Whilst this meeting is important to our club, we would like to improve communication between members and the committee and I would reiterate the fact that a member can attend at the start of any committee meeting and discuss matters of concern, suggest better ways of doing things or put forward any specific improvements that we can consider. 

As we move towards the 2015/16 season, I am very encouraged by the position that we currently find ourselves in. Financially we are more sound than we have been in many years.  We have come a long way in the past three years with improvements already achieved and there is a lot more in the planning to continue the development of our facilities and increasing the membership to our optimum level. You will be kept fully updated as to what is going on and consulted where appropriate. This is your club as much as any other member and we as a committee seek to serve our club in the best way that we can.  I am sure you are aware of the many hours work behind the scenes being put in to manage our club, done for no other reason that we are all passionate about our club’s success and maintaining one of the best clubs around for our members. Any member is of course welcome to step forward and join the committee should you feel that you have something to offer. 

Our next newsletter is just being finished which will update you on many recent and current matters regarding FOS&RC. 

Wishing you great forthcoming 2015/16 season.


Dave Moore
Chairman FOS&RC