|June 10th 2021|
This is an important update and needs to be read and considered and, hopefully, responded to positively. I have identified the particular issue that we have to address initially and then, latterly, provided a more detailed narrative detailing the background and history.
THE ISSUE IS CLEANING, PRINCIPALLY THE MALE GOLF CHANGING ROOM
Our success with the club’s financial performance has, largely been as a result of the clubhouse volunteer programme introduced in 2018 whereby we introduced volunteer bar staff and allocated the responsibility for cleaning the changing rooms and toilets to the three committees, men’s golf, ladies golf and bowls. This initiative saves the club in the region of £60,000 per year but we do not have sufficient men stepping forward to clean the male facilities on a daily basis – this exercise takes approximately 1 hour per day.
If we do not get sufficient volunteers stepping forward within a week (by Friday June 18th ) the board will have to accept that the clubhouse volunteer does not have the necessary support of the membership and will look to engage cleaners in which case we will loose the support of the volunteer bar staff and have to engage paid bar staff which will increase costs significantly for the club.
TO COVER THE COST OF THE NECESSARY BAR STAFF AND CLEANING WE WOULD NEED A MIXTURE OF THE FOLLOWING :
– 80 ADDITIONAL 7 DAY GOLF MEMBERS OR
– AN INCREASE IN FEES OF, CIRCA, 20% WHICH COULD TAKE FEES TO OVER £1000 – RAMSEY COULD NOT COMPETE AT THIS LEVEL
I hope that sufficient volunteers will lend their support as it will be a sad day for the club if we have to abandon the clubhouse volunteer programme.
Over recent years the club’s financial state has improved significantly but, as reported on numerous occasions, we still do not have sufficient members for their fee income to meet all of the club needs. My estimate is that we still need around 450 golf members plus our current bowls and social membership to meet our needs compared to the 370 we currently have. In an effort to manage the gap between revenues and necessary club expenditures to maintain and improve club facilities with further capital investment and avoid the possibility of having to impose significant increases in annual fees the management board established a clubhouse volunteer programme back in 2018 specifically designed to save around £50,000 – £60,000 per year by :
– introducing volunteers behind the bar to replace the majority of the paid part time staff who now support both the bar and restaurant working, collectively, around 90 hours per week at present and, at times we are under staffed.
– allocating the management responsibility for organising the cleaning of the three changing rooms and associated toilet facilities to the three main committees (men’s golf, ladies golf and bowls).
If we lost the financial benefit of this particular initiative it should be clear to all what the potential consequence could be on annual fees.
These two measures coupled with our successes in increasing membership and visitor revenues have enabled the club to increase its investment in the course and bowls green, to achieve a small annual financial surplus and, importantly, to maintain membership fees at a level that takes account of club facilities and rates levied by other local clubs.
Whilst broadly successful the cleaning aspect has never been particularly popular and some members have actively campaigned against the plan. However, for an extended period it has worked sufficiently well with the bar team and enough volunteers stepping forward to support it.
Since the club re-opened following the covid lockdowns the ladies golf section and bowls club have continued with the cleaning regime but, despite calls for volunteers by Captain Alan Mawhinney from the 350 strong male golf members, only two volunteers have stepped forward. This is very disappointing. Particularly under covid we have a duty to maintain the facilities at a higher standard so the time has come for the membership, particularly the male golfers, to either support the programme or the club’s management board will have to accept that the clubhouse volunteer programme has failed and needs to re-engage a cleaning contractor or staff for the whole building – this will have an immediate negative consequence on the bar team on the basis that why should they give up so much of their time for the benefit of the club if, amongst 350 male golf members, 30 a sufficient number are not prepared to put their names on a monthly rota to ensure that the facilities are cleaned every day – cleaning takes approximately 1 hour.
Additionally I have been very disappointed by the level of criticism aimed at myself and the bar team over the last couple of weeks for slow service during busy periods and the fact that I had NO staff available for a bank holiday competition last Monday and the bar could not be open when the players came in off the course. In the hope that we are able to maintain our clubhouse volunteer programme we need the following to happen :
1) A sufficient number of our male golf members to commit to cleaning
the male changing rooms and toilets. Surely there are thirty members (less than 10% of the membership) who would take this task on which would spread the load so that each participant would only be giving up about 1 hour per month or fifteen committing to the same activity twice a month. The golf committee, under Captain Alan will administer the rota so please lend your support and contact Alan at email@example.com. If we do not have sufficient volunteers for this by Friday June 18th we will interpret it that the membership will not support the clubhouse volunteer programme going forward and proceed with the engagement of cleaning staff and paid bar staff to replace the volunteers lost as a consequence. This is a sad day and, I have no doubt, will ultimately, impact on fees.
2) Given the current pressure on our bar team we need to recruit additional volunteers – particularly under covid rules we have to maintain a table service approach which, particularly at weekends, involves over 20,000 steps per day – by comparison I am advised that a round of golf is in the region of 10,000 steps. So, if after June 18th we still have the benefit of a volunteer bar team I would welcome applications from suitable volunteers, maybe 4 please. – ideally couples are best to spread the load and provide company during quiet periods but please note that the work can be exhausting during busy periods. Comment has been made that once lockdown restrictions are lifted the pressure on the bar team will reduce considerably – this is true to some extent but, post covid, we will see a return to wakes, parties, celebrations etc that will increase the workload and pre covid the bar volunteers were typically working, collectively, over 70 hours per week but without the constant walking from bar to deck.
I have been told on many occasions that the efforts of our volunteers were not sustainable but for the benefit of the club I have doggedly continued to pursue this strategy, typically allocating 30 + hours a week on club matters. With the membership apparently not supporting the volunteer principle in its entirety, particularly the cleaning aspects, the time is right for the management board to re-think the club’s plans.
Regards to all and stay safe
Chairman of Ramsey Golf and Bowls Club