Club

June Newsletter

Bishop Sutton Tennis Club Newsletter - Redevelopment of CVS Courts

This newsletter lays out important plans for development of the club, developments that we wish to consult the members on to help shape the outcome:

Court Capacity and Expansion Plans at Chew Valley School.

I am sure that you will have observed that the club is doing well but with that comes some challenges. We have upwards of 650 people at the club and just five courts. It is clear the court availability is under pressure. This is particularly apparent in the key hours when adults of working age are likely to use the courts i.e. between 5.30pm and 8.30pm weekdays and during the day at weekends. The committee are faced with a stark choice of either cutting back activities at the club which would affect a significant number of members, or finding expansion possibilities.

There is no room at the existing club site for expansion, and in the past, we have relied on Chew Valley School courts and Blagdon to provide some extra capacity. Blagdon courts are not ideal due to their location, plus there are only two courts, their condition is not great and there are no floodlights. Chew Valley School courts in contrast are closer and there are four available but they are not in a good condition, have poor nets and in the wet are very slippery.

The proposal that we are actively pursuing is working in partnership with Chew Valley School(CVS) to upgrade the courts, put in new fixed tennis posts and nets, and floodlight the four courts. This would provide a comprehensive set of benefits with the school having access within school hours to better tennis facilities, facilities that can also be utilised by the nine junior schools in the area, plus an improved surface for their netball matches. For the club it provides the expansion we need where we can selectively move some of our activities to CVS so relieving pressure on the BSTC site. The club is a registered charity and its core principle is expressed as "the promotion of community participation in healthy recreation for the benefits of the inhabitants of the Chew Valley area, in particular the provision of facilities for playing tennis" The club's future success is governed by the number of people who play tennis and this provides an opportunity to provide up to 2000 school children with a chance to experience tennis. Our coaching programme will be expanded to operate at CVS to encourage, stimulate and engage the next generation of tennis players and hopefully our next club members. Currently our coaching programme is largely restricted to members only. The capacity at CVS will allow a more inclusive approach.

How do we finance the expansion? The intention is to operate in three distinct capital phases, each one governed by the tennis committee with input from our members. The first phase is a deep clean, paint and install new nets and posts, planned in this summer term. This is budgeted at £20k with £5k provided by the school, and £15k already raised by fund raising that Mark Taber has done specifically for this purpose. In practice a no cost option for the club.

We will also progress the planning for floodlights with a view to install in the autumn half term or Christmas holiday. This is budgeted to cost a further £50k and we are currently engaged with a number of potential funders, LTA, Sport England, Bristol Airport etc. In practice we believe that the club could fund the £50k but our intention is to minimise that through fund raising. We are considering approaching members to see if they would personally support the project, but in the meantime we are keen to hear of any other sources of funding. The final phase in a number of years' time will be a more substantial resurfacing where the cost will be between an estimated £50k and £75k. The school have committed a further £15k to this phase. The first phase in principle has been approved by the committee, the next two phases will come back for committee approval once we have a clearer idea of funds available.

The ongoing running costs include for floodlighting operating costs and an increased cost of maintaining and cleaning the courts due to the comparatively higher use of the courts. There will also be circa £10k of extra sinking fund required. This will be financed by £2k contribution per annum from the school, plus a significant contribution from the coaching activities, an anticipated growth in membership of 10% and finally from the club surpluses. The coaching programme and the individual coaches will be expected to pay for use of the courts either at BSTC or CVS. This will be structured as a guaranteed minimum payment with a variable cost once they have passed a usage threshold.

So that is the proposal, the committee would be interested in your views. To that end I would welcome any comments via email or phone (Tonkin.dj@gmail.com or 01275 332885) or at a series of drop in sessions/meetings as follows:

Drop in sessions:

- Saturday 23rd June morning between 10 am and 12 noon
- Wednesday 27th June - 6pm to 8pm
- Tuesday 3rd July - 6pm to 8pm

Extra General Meeting - Saturday 7th July 5pm - 6pm

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Social event - our next social is a beer, curry and tennis night to be held on Friday 3rd August at 6pm; Jane Fowler will be again delighting us with her exceptional cooking and Mark Hunter being master of ceremonies to keep the evening rolling. Please register your interest with Mark (mhunter@hunteraccountants.co.uk).

Finals Day - the club competitions are underway so please make sure that you mark Sunday 9th September in the diary for our finals day, kicking off at 12 noon with BBQ, teas and more substantial refreshment throughout the day.

Court Maintenance - we are planning for the repainting of court 5 and the replacement of court 4. There is not a material difference in price and would be interested in views over whether to replace it like for like i.e. a hard court or replace as an artificial grass. Views to Keith Beeton please (keith.beeton@btinternet.com).

Looking forward to your comments,

David Tonkin
Chairman BSTC

Bishop Sutton Tennis Club