Coronavirus & Membership Renewals

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Dear Club Member

Some people have asked if we, as a Club, will be suspending our membership fees when there is only (currently) limited facilities available which could, potentially, be even more limited in the future.

It is a fair question to ask, but it is important to remember that we are a members’ club – owned by the members and run by the members for the members. We will continue to have to pay rent (which has its 5-yearly increase on 1st April) to Severn Trent (they have indicated that they don’t regard this as a reason for reducing our rent, although we will continue to pursue this) and pay our salaried staff. (All ‘casual’ staff have already been advised that there will be no ‘shifts’ for the foreseeable future.)

Even if all our members renewed, our income is still going to reduce drastically as our commercial income (which is currently greater than membership income and subsidising membership fees massively) will cease altogether for the time of this crisis. And obviously some members may decide not to, or not be able to, renew their membership at the end of March.

While we will limit expenditure as much as we can, we will still have bills to pay and, if this goes on for a while, our income will not cover these and we will have to tap into our reserves which are less than 6 months’ expenditure.

So, if we stopped collecting membership income and had no income, the Club would quite simply cease to exist. If this happened, I am sure the site would be snapped up by a commercial operator who would certainly not be a members’ club and would not have the interest of its ‘members’ central to all that it does. Don’t forget that only 3 years ago another organisation heavily lobbied ST to take over the site.

So, if a large number of members do not re-join, there is a risk that the Club will close forever. However, with our members’ support, we can get through this and emerge strong.

We quite understand that some may be unable to renew for financial reasons. To be fair on those that do renew, we would respectfully ask those in this position to remove any boats, trolleys and trailers from the premises on or before 31st March.

With regard to those considering delaying their renewal again, to be fair on those that do renew their membership, the long-standing club rule will continue to apply: members in the 2019/20 membership year who don’t renew on 1st April but re-join any time during the 2020/21 membership year will be required to pay the full annual fees when they re-join. So, if you are intending to continue as a member, there is nothing to be gained from not renewing on 1st April apart from the cash flow benefit which we quite understand may be critical for some.  

In order to preserve the Club, the Committee, on behalf of the members, has to be firm on this.

But let’s be positive – we have fantastic facilities, brilliant staff and wonderful members and all 3 go to make our great Club what it is. If you can, please support your fellow members, re-join and make sure we come out of this strong enough to continue for many many more years! Indeed, on Monday of this week, Jeremy & Will signed an extension of our lease until 2040 – let’s make sure we get to that date!

The Committee