Letter to all re: Membership Fees 18.01.2021

Dear Parents/Guardians /Members,

Following on from the membership renewal email sent to members, it is understood there has been a number of queries / comments regarding payment of this year’s membership fees. The Executive Committee would like to communicate our position as a club, so that members have a better understanding of where we are financially.

We feel there needs to be some clarification of why we charge an annual membership fee. Historically, as far as the current Executive Committee are aware this fee has been used to support the club financially. Alongside the monthly squad fees this allows us to employ 3 full time coaches, 1 assistant coach, 2 other Coaching posts which support Saturday and Tuesday coaching sessions and a dedicated strength and conditioning coach who works across 3 days a week. Usually as a club we have access to unique facilities with a 50m pool, on site fitness studios and the gym.

In previous communications the current position of the club was explained to be financially unsustainable. Therefore, it was necessary for the Executive Committee to perform a financial restructure of the coaching staff at the end of 2020. By doing this it has helped alleviate some of the financial pressures we have, but we still have a long way to go due the current Government restrictions and the uncertainty of when social distancing measures will be relaxed.

Currently we are charging £25 per month for those who are wishing to access remote land training. Coach Chris and Coach K have been retained to facilitate these coaching sessions whilst all other coaching staff have been placed on furlough. Although this fee has alleviated some financial pressure on the swimming club, we are still responsible for paying two coaching wages, PAYE and pension contributions for all coaching staff that are furloughed and as a Club we are still losing in excess of £1000 each and every month.

In comparison when we are allowed to access the pool, the club will receive more income due to an increase in monthly fees. However our direct costs are also vastly increased; the furloughed staff returning to work on full wages as well as the pool hire charges which all add up to a short fall each month.

Historically the health of our Club finances has been bolstered by holding home galas where good profits are made but obviously during the pandemic and indeed whilst the Aquatics Centre was closed for repairs we haven’t been able to host any galas and therefore leaving us with a significant financial void.

Before the pandemic Coach K would attend local schools to grow the junior section of our swimming club, this in turn would increase our income through additional membership fees, but unfortunately due to the current lockdown position we find ourselves in this currently cannot happen.

The Chair and members of the Finance Team have been working incredibly hard the last year or so.  We have recently applied for a number of grants which have been made available but even if they are all successful the amount would still not be equal to the amount we’ve lost financially as a club.

The Chair has also reviewed and reduced any unnecessary or underutilised pool time to further reduce pool hire charges, all these changes have put us in a better position than previously but we are still losing money each and every month which these annual membership fees will help us to subsidise along with payment of salaries and pool provision once we return to the water.

The Chair has ensured that we are in a position to recover once we return to the water, without these membership fees to help fill that short fall the club would be required to re-evaluate the current land training provision and what we could offer once we return to the water which may be significantly less than what’s offered now.

We genuinely want a vibrant club when the Government allows swimmers to return to club training.  However we currently do not know when we (and other clubs) will be in a position to plan and run home galas.  There has been no guidance from Swim England as to an exit strategy when in-person swim meets may be able to be held.  This uncertainty clearly compounds the Club’s financial situation, as home galas provide a significant and considerable income stream for the Club. We understand that it is hard during these unprecedented times however; your continued support is greatly appreciated.

Kindest Regards

Linda Reiling (Chair)

David Convery & Ian Wilson (Directors)

Andrew Blunt (Treasurer)