2019 AGM Chairman’s Report

2019 AGM Chairman’s report
Our Strategic Objectives
With the continued support from the Board, the Committee have been able to oversee the investment to improve the playing surface of the grass courts. Quotations have been received from two companies to maintain the synthetic surfaces and this work will be undertaken early in 2020 by the preferred contractor.
It is the view of the Committee that the next priority for major investment should be the provision of floodlights to courts 12 and 13 and the upgrading of existing lamps on courts 10 and 11. We hope that this prioritisation is shared by members. Please refer to the Treasurer’s Report by Peter Russell.
Following the November presentation to the Board made by Huw Walters, Dee Cohen and myself, subscription levels were reduced to a more competitive level. This revised proposition, together with our improved marketing strategies, has resulted in 48 new members across all categories to date. Please also refer to the Lady Captain’s Report by Dee Cohen. The Board are satisfied with this increase.
Soon after the Chief Executive’s appointment, Amy asked each Section of the Club to provide her with a vision statement that would sit within the Club’s overall vision. At your 2018 AGM the 33 members attending were shown this Section’s statement: “A welcoming Club, enriching Members lives by providing an ongoing exceptional experience”. This has driven the Committee’s planning and subsequent actions to move towards this end point.
The Committee recognises that the Section is sensitive to the fact that the Chief Executive does not always mention tennis in her video updates. This was raised with Amy who reassured us that she fully supported the ‘One Club’ principle and was concerned to embrace all elements of the Club; golf, tennis, bridge and social activities. The Committee undertook to provide her with material related to the Tennis section as appropriate which she has subsequently included.
The Chief Executive has also assured the Committee that no alternative use for the Garden Courts has been considered and hopefully they are not under threat.
Earlier this year there was a lack of access for tennis members wishing to register online as ‘food and beverage’ and ‘service’ feedback volunteers as part of the Club Vision. This has since been resolved and members are actively providing feedback as ‘critical friends’.
Please refer to slide at the AGM
Our new position in the market
For the first time we held three Open Day events. The first was held on the 10th March, before players were committed to their existing club having paid their annual subscription. Then a new initiative, a Mixed Open, on 22nd April for members of Middlesex clubs who the Committee considered were a target audience. Finally, the usual LTA Open Day event on 18th May.
The new marketing Sub-Committee has instigated Member and Committee guest passes. This is a strategy designed for existing members to invite friends to play with us in the hope that they might eventually become new members.
100 Committee guest passes were made available by MPGC for the Committee to use as they wish, to give out to member contacts. Once the new Member has joined, the existing member receives two free guest passes as a ‘thank you’ incentive. Please also refer to the Lady Captain’s Report here.
A marketing ‘Focus Group’ also initiated the improved internal and external website presentations. Thank you to Annick Devillard here.
New generic and specific flyers have been prepared as part of new member drives, for example Dee’s work with Moor Park 1958 and the Moor Park and Sandy Lodge Residents Association.
We have also reintroduced bag tags and year stickers so that these are visible and raise interest when members play at other clubs.
Thanks to introductions made by Graham Drake and particularly Gillian Kolesnikow, the Chief Executive has agreed that we can approach those Corporate Members of Armed Forces/NATO who are regularly using our facilities, to become adult members. As another Section initiative, MPGC is in contact with Darwin Fitness in Northwood and is close to allowing the Section to market ‘tennis only’ memberships. I have asked Dee to lead on this.
Dee’s Report rightly records that the positive outcome of our membership drive has been achieved through the contributions of many. I would ask that each member considers what more they could do as individuals or as a family to support this strategy, as you are our best asset in marketing the club.
Please refer to slide at the AGM
The Members’ experience
Following your approval at last year’s AGM the Revised 2018 Rules were approved by MPGC and our new 2018 Guidelines provided clarity on our dress code, court utilisation and Junior activity.
Safeguarding of our members remains a priority and we thank Kamlesh Vara for his continued dedication and on-going training here. Regrettably, there have been a number of health and safety incidents this year, which have been reported to MPGC and remedied wherever possible.
Members have enjoyed vastly improved grass court surfaces this year, thanks to the expertise and enthusiasm of John, Nick and Carey. We have received many positive comments from visiting teams and external parties who have all been impressed by the
quality of the courts and with continued support from MPGC we are hopeful of further improvement next year.
This year members again enjoyed some high-quality external events such as the Varsity match. This event was larger than last year with members having the opportunity to enjoy a champagne bar and barbeque.
The Committee believes that a few, high-profile, quality events each year add to our members’ experience and showcase our club well. We are mindful, however, that such events can impinge on members’ use of the courts and we will continue to be vigilant in approving such events to ensure this is rarely the case.
We have tried to establish improvements in our communication with members. As an example, the Committee arranged for a Junior ‘Focus Group’ to attend one of our early meetings this year. This informed some our 5Year Plan elements, referred to by Peter in his Treasurer’s Report, such as the upgrade of the hitting wall.
66 Members have signed up to the ‘Moor Park Tennis Players’ WhatsApp group and Carey Philpott continues to excel in editing the Tennis Section news, in accordance with the new bi-monthly frequency for Club News.
However, the Committee is concerned that not all Section members are receiving tennis related news and we would encourage all members to join this group so that ensure everyone is informed. Please contact Carey or Joan Roy if you would like to be added to this group.
We have succeeded in improving the utilisation of both Mansion and Garden courts with the preparation of a Summer Activities Schedule. This illustrates our additional coaching sessions e.g. Thursday afternoons; the introduction of an organised match practice activity on Tuesday evenings expertly led by Vivien Mrowiec and Jane Tweedie; our organised social play; and the clearer indication of existing member groups’ use of facilities. An Activities Schedule showing our new structured play for Winter is under development by Dee. Our additional opportunity for social play on a Sunday afternoon will also be reviewed.
To help new members get the most out of the club and hopefully ensure their retention, Carey and Dee prepared an ‘Information for New Members’ paper. This complements the ‘mentoring’ arrangement, both of which are designed to help them navigate their way around the club and find competitive tennis opportunities to suit their level of ability.
As a result of surveying members’ wishes, we have changed the timing of our social tournaments to a morning start. We also considered our approach to the combined sections’ social events, such as the Games and Grill evenings, where the Tennis section has been well represented and took the lead, thanks to Peter, introducing an opportunity to play boules.
On the back of the success of the 2018 Club Championships we agreed to change the date of finals day to July. Sadly, the weather prevented us from using our excellent grass but we thank tournament organiser and referee, Anjan Chowdhury, for his enthusiasm and hard work. The Sub-Committee will revisit once again the number of events and method of entry and all members are strongly encouraged to enter our 2020 tournament.
Once again, we listened to members’ wishes this time for more competitive play and Nigel Buckman has reported on our Box League initiative in his report. Members also wished to be able to purchase balls from the Pro-Shop using their membership cards which is now possible, and we are working on extending this to include other accessories and potentially clothing.
More recently, members had the opportunity to attend Dale Naylor’s physio seminars. We look forward to his future relationship with MPGC members.
We continue to try to improve our engagement with golfers. The Golf and Tennis social match, with our parallel tennis tournament this year run by Dee, was a success although, sadly, the putting competition was rained off. Nigel offered golf members a ‘Try Tennis’ initiative and next year MPGC intends to offer a ‘Try Golf for Tennis Players’ event alongside this.
Thank you to the members who make up your Committee. Each one works with persistence and skill on your behalf.
Alister Heaphy 31st August 2019

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