Context Image of designOctober is here, bringing with it fog and red lights in the morning, but there is some good news too.

We have reached one of the key milestones in our rebuilding plans. Our planning permission has now been submitted. You can see the application and follow its progress on the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead website.  The plans are not very different from those presented to members in the past, but a series of smaller changes have been made for a variety of reasons. 

We have given presentations to Marlow Town Council and Bisham Parish Council, both of which have been positive. We have also been speaking to English Heritage about the design and modifications have been made to reflect their concerns.

As this is a planning application, the key points are the exterior appearance, size, parking and so on. Internal details, like columns, can still be changed. Whether or not we get this planning permission, we need to think about being off site. The committee is looking at a few options both above and below the lock, and also trying to establish whether any part of the site can be used for boat storage.

The AGM of the club is at 8pm on Tuesday at the Royal British Legion. At the AGM the formal business includes appointing the committee and life members, but afterwards there will be an opportunity to discuss any issues with the committee. All members are welcome.

All members should have received both an email and postal mailing about the AGM. If not, please contact Edward to confirm that we have the right details for you.

Child Welfare Officer
Belinda Ford, our current Child Welfare Officer, is stepping down. The CWO is a particularly important role at the club, given the size and importance of our junior membership. In addition, in the new structure the CWO is a trustee of the charity. If you might be interested in helping out with this key role, please contact Belinda to find out about the role and discuss your suitability.  The club relies on volunteers, both on the committee and off it, so please put something back by helping us. Without this we cannot continue.

Champions Dinner & Auction
The Champions Dinner and Auction is a fundraising event for the club. The focus is very much on the auction of items rather than just selling tables. If you are interested you can find details on the website and to book contact Jacqui

Club Supper
The club supper will be on 24th November at Liston Hall. The format will be fairly similar to last year, although we will be starting and finishing a little earlier in the evening to comply with Liston Hall's strict closing time. Ticket prices and other details will be settled soon and I will write to you again closer to the time.

General Fundraising
We have produced a general leaflet explaining the vision, challenge and fundraising target. Please send it, or print it out and give it to anyone who might be interested in our project and want a little background. It is in two forms - one for folding into three and one to read onscreen.

I'm also delighted to be able to report a donation of US$2,000 from the parents of the Brunswick School, USA who the club knows from their visits to Henley Royal Regatta. We are grateful for their support.

Sport England
 Discussions with our potential partner clubs and Sport England have been proceeding well. The grant decision from Sport England is not likely to be to until at least February. In the interim we have a lot of work to do firming up the potential contract relationship with those clubs and how the building sharing would work. We are preparing a draft contract with the clubs involved, which we they would need to sign before getting access to the club, and also draft user standards. These should all be perfectly reasonable - MRC itself will sign up to them - but it is important that if we progress down this road there are formal agreements in place. 

Bucks New University Group
We have a new group at the club. Students from Bucks New University (in High Wycombe) have joined and a squad of them is now out on weekend afternoons. They will row for MRC in general competitions, and for BNU in BUCS (British University & Colleges Sport) competitions. If you see them around the club please make them welcome. Thanks to Ray Swordy and Tom Rendell for setting up this squad.

Learn to Row
We are now closing our adult learn to row programme for the Winter. Frequent amber/red lights, fog, cold etc. mean that it is not a good time of year to run organised courses and not that pleasant for new people to the sport.

We re-launched our adult learn to row programme last year: the previous scheme had got to the point where we were teaching only a handful of new people every year which was raising very little money, and starving the club of recruits for the squads. Last year, the first year of the new scheme, we put 50 people through learn to row courses. This year, despite huge disruption in the summer from weather, it has been over 80, with a further 103 still in the queue who we have not been able to accommodate! Many graduates have joined the club, and there is a new squad on Saturday afternoons run by David Plaskitt (a learn to row graduate himself) and Mike Landers.

The Junior Development Squad has also hugely expanded this year - it is now running four groups simultaneously to cope with the demand.

Membership Fees
Having studied other club fee the committee believes that MRCs membership fees are currently well below the average, with only a handful of clubs cheaper. This is the result of around 5 years when the fees have not been increased. Initially this was because the club's finances were stable. Later, it was  and then in light of the reduced circumstances the club found itself in after the fire. Of course the financial pressures on the club are currently very high, and Membership income is the single biggest source of income to the club in the normal course of events so we must act.  The committee's proposal, therefore, will be to make the Category A (full adult) membership fee £240 for the 9 month period Jan 2013 to Sept 2013 (equivalent to £320 for the full year, a 6% increase). Thereafter we hope that we can move to direct debits or other monthly payment methods. The aim is to reduce the post-Christmas impact of the single membership payment while we move to a new membership year, while increasing membership income. All other membership categories will be treated in the same way.

A reminder that club clothing and racing kit is available from Laura.