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Club AGM Minutes 2014

Minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2014

Minutes read and agreed: Ross Newby, Chair

Minutes read and agreed: Lauren Sizeland, Secretary

Committee Members Present: Ross Newby (RN) - Chair Alison Rose (AR) - Treasurer Lauren Sizeland (LS) - Secretary Paul Askew (PA) - Cricket Matt Buxton (MB) - Tennis Dan Radley (DR) - Hockey Andrew Stanton (AS) - Squash

Committee Members Apologies: Chris Rowland (CR) - Club Manager Pete Compton (PC) - Lacrosse Doug Wilson (DW) - Squash

Attending: 23 attendees


1. Reports

Chairman's report

RN highlighted the following report on the year 2013-14 at Spencer Club (SC)

There is little change in terms of the overall success of the club. Most of the sections are now at full capacity in terms of membership. The confined space means there are at times conflicting needs and we continue to be grateful to the staff members for all they do for us and to the huge number of volunteers who give their time to make a community club of this type work as well as it does. The club is open to everyone and includes those at an almost elite level, through different age groups and down to junior players.

There have been a number of staff leavers this year: Elaine Wishart, Sophie O'Hearn, Rosie Byrne and Louis Maguire. Losing four staff in one year has led to great change. We have recruited replacements for all the posts successfully and hope that everybody is getting what they need.

Thanks to all the many volunteers across the club. There some that are not widely visible and others that are. The SC couldn?t function without the time and effort these individuals give.

Section reports


PA reported on behalf of Cricket. This is his tenth and final year as Chairman of the Cricket club. He outlined that the club continues to aim to recruit cricketing experts and maximise inclusion - sport for all is the participation objective. It also aims to be best in performance and excellence and to enjoy one another's company. That ethos is embedded in the club's constitution.

The teams have generally done well this year. The First team was relegated, but there are some real positives. Over ten years there has been huge growth from 250 juniors in 2004 to 1000 in 2014, making it the largest in England. Now there is a women's section which is already doing well.

There are 150 members in the girls section. It is one of the two best clubs in the country for the 'Chance to Shine' and it supports a group of Afghan refugees. Some of the colts are now included in men?s first team and there are 6-7 players selected for the Surrey squad.

The good reputation that the club has achieved in the community (and England's success in the Ashes) is helping to upon up opportunities to gain sponsorship.

Strong committee to carry on as PA steps down from the Chair. Now have an income of around 220k with expenditures of about 200k - a strong and stable financial position.


The report from MB:

In 2013 there were 150 adult members and juniors. Now there 300 members. Aside from the Surrey league team competitions, there is regular social tennis for all members, as well as ladies, mens and children's tennis training sessions. There is also a ladies Veterans team for 70+ players.

There have been a number of initiatives around the grass courts: a Spanish club used the facilities for a potential reciprocal visit by Spencer tennis to Barcelona; a wine society played; and Junior Wimbledon players used them for training in June.

The club's finances are robust.


The report from DR:

Our aim for the year was to win in the right way

The Men's 1st XI under Phil Balbirnie led Southern Premier 1 at Christmas and eventually missed out on promotion to the National League by just 5 points. Women's 1st XI led by Laura Gittins consolidated their position. The Ladies' 3rds promotion means a big derby match between the 2nds and 3rds in a few weeks' time. Again, we were one of the best represented clubs at the London League awards.

We boosted our reputation for being a friendly, fun club, by behaving in the right way, showing respect to teammates, umpires and the opposition, paying subscriptions on time, wearing the right kit. With captains working more closely together there was better movement of players between teams. Fewer umpiring incidents this year by virtue of targeting the potentially difficult games with our best player/umpires.

We took up extra pitches at Battersea on Sundays for the Juniors, with increasing numbers of parents are getting involved. We ran successful courses, pushed on towards appointing a junior director of hockey, lots of ambition in the section, but there is also pressure on pitches. We had Gold medallists at the London Youth Games, boys and girls made up the backbone of the Wandsworth team.

We've launched the Sapphires, our first women's Vets team which further builds on our aim to be the country's best community hockey club. We are also running a Masters over 60s men's side for the first time.

There were several themed social events and 300 attended the annual dinner at Jasmin's. A Clubhouse draw boosted bar revenues. We're looking forward to the 25th anniversary of the women's section which will mean a bumper Club Day.

Expenditure increased but we still achieved a surplus. We were able to fulfil our intention to keep full adult subs at the same rate. Juniors raised their subs to fund ambitious plans.

We committed at our AGM to have a better attempt to win sponsorship. The President reconnected with many of our former members and achieved some excellent fundraising.

In terms of the overall SC everyone is delighted with the appointment of Chris Rowland. Ross Newby has continued to be brilliant, specifically devoting a lot of time together with Alison Rose to make the Club Manager's appointment and leading discussions for hockey on our behalf with ATA.

Our priority is to focus on the resurfacing of the All Weather Pitch following the Astro report, plus associated issues like drainage or shock absorbers that could be cost-effectively addressed at the same time.

Special thanks to Ruth Matthew who went beyond the call of duty in her dual capacity as occasional bar worker and amazing hockey secretary.

Our Frank Grover Trophy for overall contribution towards the Club was won by Myra Sae- Heng for fixtures, summer league, teas.


Andrew Stanton reported on DW's behalf:

There are two teams with the surrey league. Through the winter and summer seasons. The First team are yet to complete their final match of the season. Second team has finished mid-tabel of the 7th division. It has a good and broad set of (9-10) players in the squad. The First team unfortunately lost the main strong players, so they are struggling to maintain their position. There is a very large gap of ability between the two teams.

We hold a training night on Tuesday evenings, for juniors then seniors. We are grateful to the coach Suhail Salim for his continued commitment to coaching.

Owing to security issues relating to cash in the light meters, there were instances of mis-use of the courts by non-paid-up members. To resolve it we commissioned the building of a new membership system and lights that are operated through the club's website. The system went live in September 2013. It has built-in logic to enable guests to play for the allocated 45 minutes of playing time.

We have relatively low membership numbers and, until the new membership system has captured all players there are some players who appear to have not renewed their subs. However, now the players are linked to the courts' access there is better information about who is actually using the facilities.

Now that Chris Rowland is on board, we are hopeful that with his sound interest and knowledge of what maintenance is needed for the courts that we can set a programme for funding and prioritising the maintenance needed. We will consider seeking sponsorship as an option to make it viable. We have just received an offer for our first funding award for coaching.

In terms of the club's finances, we are a little behind, owing to the low membership. Our aim is to begin to promote the squash club to boost membership, including local advertising near Earlsfield station. Suhail suggested that, following many requests to him directly, that we should consider an option to offer a daily membership fee for off-peak play.


Retrospective report from Peter Compton, who was unable to attend the meeting.

The season for the first team started at the beginning of September 2013 with a hang over from the 'clean sweep' of the 2012/13 season representing the South of England in the European Club Championships in Ghent. Enjoying a great tournament, the team were crowned European Champions returning with the Ken Gallucccio Trophy which was positioned behind the SC bar throughout the year.

Through the season the Club regularly fielded three men's teams playing in the Premiership, Div 1 East and Div 2 East. The first team were not quite able to match the success of the 2012/13 Season being placed third in the Premiership but retaining the Senior Flags for the third successive year, the trophy will again hang in the clubhouse for the coming season.

The 2's season had the feeling of being 'bridesmaids' finishing as runners up in the Div 1 East and losing in the final of the Intermediate Flags Final. There was general disappointment with the result but this is more a reflection of our high expectations. They are in fact good results.

The 3's were, superficially, the least successful of the three senior teams being relegated to Div 3 East. However, the team principally comprised juniors moving up to play senior lacrosse and their standard of play progressed solidly through the season providing hope for an early return to Div 2 East.

We welcomed Spencer Reihl, from Denison U, Ohio, as our Schools Local Development Officer for the season and his commitment to our Development Programme made a significant contribution to the recovery of the Pop Lacrosse and Under 12 Field Lacrosse from a poor 2012/13. The U14 group however, remains weak.

The highlight of the Junior season was the u18 group winning the International School, Brussels Tournament in April, our third success at this important, international event. We also returned to Brussels with the u12s in June which, though a developmental exercise, was equally successful.

We were very pleased that Cameron Leslie, Gabriel and William Barrie represented England at Under 19 level and really pleased that Bill Fisher was selected for the full England team as a reserve and travelled, as part of the England Team to the World Championship in Denver in early July. All of these players started playing as 9 year olds in our Pop Lax programme.

Overall, it was a great season.

Club Manager

Owing to sickness Chris Rowland was unable to attend.

2. Open Discussion/questions

RN circulated a 'Big projects' list (revised following the AGM and attached as Appendix i) that we hope can be properly considered and planned/progressed if appropriate.

RN invited comments on the list. It was suggested that security cameras might be a good deterrent to potential thieves. RN responded that SC has considered it in the past and it is not currently considered a priority, particularly as there is now no cash kept in the squash courts for lights there is less likelihood of burglary.

Alain Jason suggested that to expand the SC's inclusiveness to those with special needs, to make it more friendly and inviting the entrance to the club should include wheelchair access. SC should encourage more people who are disabled to come to participate in the various sports. There may be funding available from Lord's Taverners to adapt the entrance.

It was suggested that Sport England have many different types of grants and funding options that the Club could apply for. DR commented that, from Hockey's perspective the quality of the playing surface needs to be at the right level according to the level of the leagues they are competing, to match the strive for excellence.

MB commented that the tennis members would like have better courtside facilities, akin to the improvements on the north side of the club house alongside the cricket field.

There was discussion about the possibility of a new clubhouse, the SC operates a building that was temporary, but still in use 70 years later. In the past planning permission was granted, but the funds couldn?t be raised at the time. It is estimated that it would be in the region of 2million to rebuild it. There are sinking funds within the respective sections, but there is no sinking fund for the club as a whole.

The question was asked of, What are the three main objectives of the club?? It is acknowledged that it is in a good area, but the facilities are not well advertised in the local community. There must be opportunities to maximise the sum of the parts. It would be valuable to have a mission statement and use that to publicise the club, whether or not to increase membership.

Although the parents of junior cricket members are not automatically members of the club, the query was raised as to whether it would be possible to extend the membership/voting membership to increase the interest and to be more inclusive.

Should the SC be a 'club in the community' (rather than a purely elite club, which is exclusive of normal players)?

There is a new women?s gym on Garratt Lane. Perhaps there could be a cross-deal with it.

RN indicated that all the above comments and suggestions would be considered and discussed by the SC committee. He reminded the forum that any projects, particularly major or long-terms projects will need to be managed or led by people. The club depends upon volunteers to help take those things forward. Potential volunteers are encouraged to make themselves known to the committee or individual section committee members.

3. Formal business

3.1 The Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the AGM held on 26 June 2013 were agreed and signed.

3.2 Matters arising and progress on actions

There were no matters raised.

3.3 Presentation and adoption of annual accounts

AR distributed and explained the summary of the annual accounts for the year ended September 2013. She explained that in the past the accounts were audited by a former chairman of the club. A voluntary external auditor could not be recruited in time to meet this AGM date. Therefore, Rachel Elliot prepared the accounts, which were checked by AR. We continue to seek an independent auditor, in order that we have an impartial review.

The main things to note:


Slightly disappointing year for bar takings, although it does seem to be the general trend according to Carlsberg the main supplier. However, gross profit has not really changed, owing to larger profit margin on products.

Playball continues to provide good income, doubling in the twelve-month period. This is due to a price increase and additional hours and days. It is now a year-round business and now contributes a significant amount of the SC revenue.


Two main elements of variation are increased salaries and ground expenses, which is mostly attributable to the maintenance of the Fieldview area.

Refurbishment phase 2

Costs relate to repairs made to the roof. The SC is expecting the balance of funding from Sport England. The club as a whole is contributing approximately 10,000.


This is the net income we generate from the Astro turf. There has been a reduction in profit as the ATA has increased its rental, which SC didn?t pass on. We need to adjust that in order to increase the level of the sinking fund, which needs to be increased.

Alain Jason suggested that it would be interesting to record the accounts for all the different sections. An annual report, which could be used to support funding applications and grants. SC committee to discuss.

3.4 Ex-officio vote

PA proposed a motion to permit ex officio members of the committee who are not members of any section of SC to vote and be counted for quorum. The motion was passed by the meeting.

3.5 Nominations

Chairman - Ross Newby

Honorary Treasurer - Alison Rose

Honorary Secretary - Lauren Sizeland

The nomination for Chairman and officers was proposed by PA and seconded by all in attendance.

4. AOB

PA asked, on behalf of the Cricket club, whether there is a policy for smoking e-cigarettes outside only. CR to research and propose policy to SC committee.

Refurbishment stage 2

RN clarified that the floor, roof, central heating and rewiring are now complete. The remaining parts include: the kitchen, lighting, ceiling and some external work. The original plan to introduce a dividing wall is not now considered to be the best option.

Angela Murphy presented herself as a potential volunteer. Her particular relevant skills are experience of working with Corporate Social Responsibility and potential access to funding opportunities.

Date of next AGM

TBC - March/April 2015

Appendix i

BIG PROJECTS - revised following AGM discussion

The following 'big projects' have all been suggested as possibilities over the last year or so. This is a short version of a paper the Management Committee discussed earlier in the summer, for consideration in all Sections.

They are not in any particular order of priority. Some are in progress, others not. Some, on this page, are mainly for one or two Sections, others more a concern for everyone, most likely to be progressed through the main Club. The list does not include a number of smaller projects on the Club, facilities and grounds (or individual Sections?) to-do lists.

Which should be our priorities for next year and beyond? Are there others that should be included? Where can we find the skills and the leadership to take them forward?


Indoor cricket nets/school - find site and development

Irrigation Openview (securing good quality playing space for all teams)

Irrigation/drainage Fieldview (also Lacrosse

New pitch covers

Explore/pilot possibilities for disabled sport (also Tennis) - implications for access etc

Recruit junior cricket director


Make 'Tennis side' of clubhouse and surrounds more attractive

Resurface and repaint hard courts (in normal life-cycle, some years away)

Secure access to additional court space (for peak times)

Convert two grass courts (with lights)


Contingency planning for promotion to National League, for elite sport

Resurface AWP

Second AWP - find site and secure access (other Sections have interest too)

Renegotiate ATA funding arrangement


Squash court refurbishment

Squash court repainting and other external work


Refurb II - completing internal work, kitchen renewal and external

Access to 'Springfield Park' for possible new facilities

Clubmark accreditation (or equivalent) for whole Club

Partnerships with schools - 'Satellite Clubs' for secondaries; also primaries

Water storage/retrieval system

Finalise lease/virtual freehold with LMPFE

Membership database

Office to Cloud, upgrade PCs, broadband, wifi

Spencer alumni programme (Hockey has started one)

CCTV for security, clubhouse and outside

Fencing Openview and Fieldview side boundaries

Solar panels

New Clubhouse (perhaps to include gym facilities)

Combined (or at least more coherent) Spencer junior membership

Clarify rights, benefits and responsibilities of membership to junior parents

Spencer ;mission statement, and Annual Report

Club-wide sponsorship and fundraising, to complement sectional efforts, with common publicity (internal and external)

Explore membership benefits, e.g. favourable gym deals, etc

Review pros/cons of Spencer Club incorporation

Refresh Trustees

Spencer Club anniversary

Ross Newby

September 2014

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