After an extremely protracted conveyancing process, MRC (via the new charity) now owns the freehold of the club. The club moved to the site about 25 years after it was founded and from 1910 (shown left) our landlord has been the same local family who have been firm supporters of the club. Our landlady for many years has been Mrs West, whose grandfather granted the first lease to us giving the club land security and low rent for 100 years. Other members of the family included Derek Mays-Smith, a well known rowing coach and President of MRC from 1949-70. One of the coaching launches is named after him, and other club boats are named after other members of the family.
The purchase price was £200,000. This was based on an independent valuation and includes limits on our rights to commercially develop the land (which we do not want to do, anyway). Payment is in stages - £50,000 now and then £30,000 per year, interest free. That is a great help at the moment, when cashflow for the rebuild is so critical to us, and we are grateful to Mrs West and her predecessors for their support over the last century.
In making the purchase we were also supported by British Rowing, who allocated us £26,000 from their Sport England lottery funding to help fund the purchase. Again, with fundraising so key for us now, that is a huge help and many thanks to them.
We continue to pursue a more permanent arrangement with the councils for the strip of land under the bridge, which we currently lease from them.
Membership and Racking
January marks membership and racking renewal times for most members (except JDS and BNU members who pay per-academic-term). Membership renewals this year are different for two reasons - firstly you're not renewing with the (old) club, you are applying to be a member of the new charity, and secondly the renewal is for 9 months only (so that next membership year can run Oct - Sept as previously trailed in January and October).
Although there is little practical difference between being a member of the current club and the charity as most of the policies and operations will be carried accross, there is a technical difference in that members of the charity are members of the company that underlies it (similar to being a shareholder) and are subject to the articles of association of the company and bylaws rather than the club rules. There is more information about the charity on the website.
The membership fees, having been unchanged for around 3 years are increasing by a little under 6% and racking will increase by 5%. In addition the Environment Agency has increased their charge by about £1. However, because we are seeking only 9 months membership now, the immediate cost is reduced. Adult membership will be £240.
The committee has been presented with a fundraising plan by Ali Kenny, which has been approved with some modifications. A fundraising group, chaired by Chris Lenton will be taking this on but we need some volunteers to take key roles, including (campaign) Finance Officer, Website Designer and Prospect Researcher. You can see the advert for these roles.
The plan is a fairly detailed document at 15 pages, but as a brief summary, it looks at raising:
• major individual donors - Gold and Silver - target £200,000
• middle to low individual donors - Bronze and others - target £ 50,000
• grants from trusts, foundations and other funding organisations - target £ 26,000
• corporate supporters - target £100,000
• fundraising events - target £ 50,000
Total - £426,000
The Gold and Silver donors (£10,000 and £5,000 bands) are being followed up by Larry Tracey. John Yeatman is leading on Bronze donors. Jacqui Napier-Munn is pursuing corporate donors, Jonathan Walne is leading on events (of which several are planned, including a Ball/Dinner Dance on 27th April 2013) and Allison Cross is looking at trusts and foundations.
Marlow Town Council has awarded us £500 towards the cost of the club defibrillator.
We've been contacted by a researcher in the psychology department at University College London who is doing some research into the effects of exercise on memory.
They need some volunteers (who take part in exercise) to take part in a web-based survey. If 30 members fill out surveys they will pay the club some money and if get 40 there will be a bonus. Find out more.
The flooding has put paid to our racing hopes for November and early December, so no results to report. However, as reported last time, MRC won the JM4x category at 4HoRR and the boys collected their medals and oar recently. This means that activity has been focussed on the gym which has been operating at capacity for several weekends, I think all users are looking forward to having a bit more space to exercise. Gym users will notice that we have taken down the dividing wall to the leg press room to give a little more space, and moved the dumbells out. The ergs have all been serviced and should be working well so all performance failures are down to the user! We are not planning on replacing any of the gym equipment until we have a new gym so members are reminded that we need to look after what we have. Weights to be put away after use, erg slides wiped down and any equipment failures reported to John Stephenson.
Although we are not expecting to attend any head races before Christmas, we are planning an inter club challenge with Longridge canoe club, to take place on the Sunday before Christmas. More details of this will be posted at the club shortly.
We will be holding the New Year’s Day Icebreaker again this year. This event has taken over from boxing Day Fours, and is a chance for everyone to come along and jump into scratch quads to race off over 500m. All are welcome to this event which is also a good opportunity to get to know fellow club members. Details will be sent round before the day, but please make a note in the diary and come along and burn off some of the Christmas pudding and mince pies.
We are in fund raising mode at the moment and are therefore not planning any significant equipment purchases for next year. We will however be looking at the stock of bookable sculling blades which are in great demand and hopefully buying another set or two. If any members have a spare pair of sculls they no longer use and would be prepared to donate to the club please contact Sally – we would like to build a supply of sculls to be used with club singles to save breaking up a set of four which are in demand for crew boats. Please remember that if you have private sculls at the club these should be clearly named as they do tend to wander. We will be conducting an audit of all sculls stored in the sculling shed at the beginning of 2013 and any we can’t identify will have to be moved into storage as we are running out of space.
The launches have all been serviced and are now in working order. These boats, as well as other equipment, get heavy use. We need to take good care of the equipment we have to extend its life as much as possible. Do remember to report any defect to John Stephenson, we do have a repairs budget but can only use it when we are aware of damage!