Last night, I chaired the Club’s Annual General Meeting, held by Zoom with over 250 members logging in to hear the reports, vote on the resolutions and ask questions. It appears, from the feedback, to have been well received.
Although the pandemic has been, and continues to be, a severe test, I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to continue to ride out the storm. Our financial position is stable due to early and decisive actions – including a 20% reduction in payroll and a freeze on non-essential capital expenditure – and substantial Government assistance.
As soon as the lockdown restrictions were eased, we were able to unfurlough our staff and evolve our services. All of our efforts have resulted in a Club which is a safe place for you to meet friends and family, to exercise, to celebrate special occasions and to stay overnight in familiar surroundings.
Throughout the recent months, I have been heartened by the messages of support I have received from many members, including some generously offering an additional financial contribution. As a Club and a mutual organisation, we are in a stronger position than commercial organisations, in that you have shown true understanding of what is required to support our Club through thick and thin.
I have always held the view that this is one of the most compelling features of the Club; that we are members’ club, owned by and managed by members for members, rather than for the benefit of external shareholders. In good times, members reap the rewards of membership with the Club’s outstanding range of facilities and quality of services, improving year-on-year with surpluses being reinvested in the Club. In lean times, members have always taken shared responsibility to help the Club recover.
I was pleased to announce at last night’s AGM that the Board has decided that, as a result of swift and decisive actions and prudent cost control, we are now in a position to provide all members with a 10% discount off next year’s subscription fees in order to encourage you to renew your membership. To put this into perspective, this measure could reduce our membership revenue by up to £3m in 2021, but our judgement is that, having taken account of the future financial risks, this is affordable and the right thing to do – to thank you for your fortitude and loyalty in these challenging times.
In conclusion, whilst the situation continues to provide challenges, I encourage you to come and visit your Club where top quality service, first class facilities and a warm welcome await you.