The October update on progress from the Committee including operations, property, the club supper, membership fees for 2012 and more.

This is the email sent to the club:

The October sunshine has made the start of winter training unusually pleasant, so I hope you have been enjoying it. Following this month’s committee meeting I have been asked to update everyone on progress, particularly around operations, property, fundraising, membership fees for 2012, the club supper at Liston Hall on 26th November and communications volunteers. I apologise for the length of the email, but there is a lot going on. It feels like more than two months since the fire, and much of what is being done now will take a while to bear fruit.

OPERATIONS RECOVERY

Most of you will have now seen, and hopefully used, the gym at Bisham. There is now a landing stage there too, and some boats on racking. The club now has a number of boats being delivered or on order following discussions with the insurers so we should have in the next few months one of the newest fleets on the Thames. We are looking at getting more landing stages for the club so that we can have full landing stage capacity at the club in addition to that at Bisham.

PROPERTY

We intend to move back into the newer half of the clubhouse as soon as we can. It has been separated from the old section internally and windows have been replaced. The internal roof is being taken down, and the building professionally cleaned by disaster recovery cleaners. Water and electricity reconnection has been achieved (thanks to Rob Robertson and Ed House) and the safety lights are working again. We have some issues around providing sufficient fire escapes to keep Building Control happy which we are working on. For our changing, lavatory and shower provisions, we aim to put two temporary cabins one on top of another just outside the club (where the club truck is usually parked). Electrical supplies will have to be upgraded to get a reasonable number of showers, but having one or two for emergencies should be possible from the outset. To put the cabins there we need planning permission – which takes 8 weeks from the day we apply – and we cannot apply without a detailed flood risk assessment. To that end, you may have seen people in yellow jackets doing a formal survey of the site. You may think that a flood risk assessment is over the top, but it is a symptom of the regulatory burden we are going to have to manage throughout the whole rebuild project.

We continue to negotiate with the insurers: we need to confirm with them that the old section of the club is a write-off and then agree what proportion of the insurance we can therefore claim. This is a complicated conversation, because we will not replace that part of the club exactly like-for-like so this is an artificial exam question about claimable values. Some club members with civil engineering experience are helping us and we have some external advisors doing work for us around this: more yellow jackets on site.

We have had positive talks with the freeholder of the site. Unfortunately I cannot say more than that at the moment, so please bear with me if I appear to be being secretive about this part of the process.

In the longer term, we clearly need to rebuild. We expect to be putting a brief to architects out in the coming weeks. For the brief we will be asking them about both a minimal rebuild option essentially along the lines of what existed before, but also asking about other options that might be possible. The club was not designed as a coherent entity for the number of users we now have and it may be that we have the opportunity to do something new to cater better for what the club is, and what it will be in the next decade.

FUNDRAISING

The fundraising sub-committee has not met this month, but there are some activities taking place. The Rower’s Revenge triathlon brings us some money directly (although we no longer run it) but also via members who entered it on a sponsored basis. Particular congratulations to Anna Smart, who has raised over £600, but also to Simon Fisher and Adam O'Hare. Meanwhile John Yeatman continues to press on with his million metre ergo challenge as does Dave Hampton so please support them. Remember that if you are doing any sponsored activity for the club you can create your own fundraising page.

On Saturday we have the Quiz Night and about 150 tickets have been sold - if you are on the newsletter list you shoud have received a separate email about this.

Our attempts to win the Wycombe DC text competition failed - we lost to a poledancing club!

MEMBERSHIP FEES, REVIEWS AND CLUB SUPPER

The committee agreed to recommend to the EGM that the membership fees for 2012 be kept at the same level as 2011 but that members would be encouraged to give a donation of £30 (and gift-aid it, if possible) on top. Although this element would be voluntary, we hope everyone will be able to add something. Our key aim is to encourage a high level of renewals for 2012. Since the fees will be the same, why not login and renew early before the Christmas financial squeeze, or at least check your records are correct?

As part of the committee’s reviews around the rebuild, there are reviews of the club strategy, trading and legal structure. I will let you know more about those in due course.

The club supper will be on Saturday 26th November in Liston Hall, Marlow. Tickets are £25. We are keen for a good turn out and you can book online now.

COMMUNICATIONS VOLUNTEERS

I'm looking for help from anyone who could help me with the website and communications (either in a technical capacity, or creatively in writing press and website/email/Twitter/Facebook group text). These newsletter emails go to everyone on our newsletter and update lists: however if you know someone who hasn't received this who should, perhaps we don't have their email any more - please forward this email: {action.forward}

Please contact me with any queries.

Regards

Ed Phillips, Club Secretary