Monthly updates will include a narrative on the latest committee meeting to keep the club's membership abreast of what's new at CRFC.
James reported to the Committee that out of about 400 invitations to vote sent out by email to paid-up members of the Club, there had been 90 responses. 83 people voted in favour of proceeding with the clubhouse development and seven against. It was therefore agreed that the project should go ahead.
This did, however, prompt a lengthy discussion of issues around communication to the membership. Email addresses of members are drawn from the records held on the RFU Game Management System (GMS). GMS is populated from data provided each year on our membership forms. Despite this, it appears that some people did not receive the email. The Committee agreed that a major piece of work is needed to check the integrity of what is on GMS and whether contact details are accurate and up-to-date. Another issue is that notwithstanding work undertaken previously by Dave Martin, GMS data needs a large amount of cleansing. Lead coaches for each age group have previously been asked by Julie Taylor to review the records for their age group and remove or amend them but only one person provided updates.
The Committee agreed that in order to get accurate membership records it would be sensible to pay someone to trawl through the membership list, remove duplicate entries and get the data up-to-date. Meanwhile, anyone whose details have changed since completing the 2017/2018 membership form should contact Julie Taylor with the correct data. If you are a paid-up member of the Club and did not receive the invitation to vote email, please let James Fraser know.
The Committee discussed difficulties with using GMS, as it is not user-friendly and is unwieldly for communication purposes. It is, however, the means by which Clubs are expected to communicate with their members and is a secure database. The Committee is receiving GMS training from Kent RFU in June and will raise difficulties with the trainer then.
The Fundraising Committee has been meeting and working on the fundraising pack for the new clubhouse. A meeting is scheduled to take place with Kent Fundraising later in May, after which a start will be made on submitting fundraising applications. We discussed whether to follow Westcombe Park’s example and hire a Project Manager to assist with fundraising, marketing and submitting funding applications. David Robson agreed to contact the individual appointed by Westcombe Park and explore whether this approach would be beneficial to us.
A very successful event was held on Sunday, 22 April. The Committee expressed thanks to all the many volunteers who contributed to the smooth running on the day. It was agreed that Tom should put together a checklist for use at similar future events to ensure that nothing important is forgotten and that experience of organising festivals built up over the years should not be lost.
The Committee expressed particular thanks to Mandy, who held things together and worked tirelessly all day.
The visit by the French Club Hasparren was once again very successful and we received a big thank you from Quentin and the Haspanders. This is another event where it is important to retain experience and learning from those who have organised the visit in previous years; Dickie has agreed to produce a checklist for future visits.
Michelle is organising a Play it Safe course near the start of next season and several of the Committee will be attending. Michelle will be contacting coaches who need to attend. Daniel Kimmons, a mini parent, is the new Safeguarding Assistant and will be working with Michelle from next season.
As the 17/18 rugby season draws to a close the Committee noted the achievements by all teams. The 1st team ended fourth in the league and reached the final of the Vase. The Ladies have had an excellent season, led by Lyndsey and Zita. We hope to be able to schedule one of the Club lunches next season on the day of a Ladies’ home match. The Committee recorded thanks to Graham Arkley on his retirement as Head Coach and looking forward to Dominic Palacio taking up the position. A thoroughly enjoyable Players’ Dinner took place on 4 May. We have spent money on pitch maintenance work to keep the pitches in tip-top condition. As every we thanked Scotty for all he does to maintain the pitches to a very high standard. Visiting teams often remark on how good they are.
Next season we hope that a player from New Zealand will be joining us, we will have a new Head Coach and a new 1st team Captain. The Committee is planning to meet less frequently, every other month once the new season is under way, although ad hoc meetings will be arranged if there are decisions requiring a more speedy response. Tim will be sorting out dates for Club and Volunteer lunches at the end of May.
Please join us at the AGM on Sunday, 10 June 2018, 12 noon at the Clubhouse.
The Committee agreed last year that once planning permission had been approved the membership should be involved in the decision to proceed with the new Clubhouse. We discussed the best way of doing this and agreed that members will be asked to vote on the proposal via Survey Monkey. Members will receive by email a link to the survey and we hope that as many members as possible will take part, which will also provide an indication of our members’ engagement in the project. The background and context of the proposal will be explained by way of an introduction to the vote, including the need for proper facilities for the range of people who now use the Clubhouse, as well as the fact that the fabric of the current building is rotten in places. The Committee discussed the huge amount of work that has taken place since 2009 as part of the Development Plan; a new Clubhouse will continue the progress that has been made.
Assuming the membership votes in favour of the new Clubhouse, fundraising will start in earnest. David Robson is in the process of finalising the updated fundraising presentation. We discussed whether to have another go at recruiting a professional fundraiser. It appears that we are more likely to obtain small amounts from a large number of funders rather than large amounts from just a few. This is very time-consuming and involves much form filling. Any contribution from the RFU is likely to be available only towards the end of the project. Applications to the Parish and Borough Councils are in hand.
Michelle Forknall was thanked for all her work preparing for the visit. The visitors arrive on Thursday, visit London on Friday and take part in a tournament on Saturday. This is a regular exchange fixture in our calendar and always greatly enjoyed.
As the Rugby season nears it close we identified a number of maintenance jobs that need to be carried out during the summer months, including cleaning of posts, noticeboards and repair of the walkway. All matters are in hand thanks to the offers of help from several Committee members and others.
The pavilion has now been demolished and the new containers are in place to store what was previously kept in the pavilion. The vertidraining sanding work is booked in. The pitches are in good condition for this stage of the season and the Club has been congratulated on how good they are. There should be a smooth transition over to Cricket.
Tom O’Sullivan asked for volunteers and most of the Committee who are not required elsewhere offered to help. Parking is always an issue for these events and Tom will be asking visitors to car share where possible. The Committee is most grateful to all those from the wider membership who can help on the day.
Although neither Zita nor Lyndsey were able to attend the meeting we considered the report submitted and were greatly encouraged by the fantastic progress that has been made during the Ladies’ first season. The scores have not always reflected the Ladies’ performance and there has been significant improvement during the season. There will be a recruitment drive over the summer to increase the squad. There are also four new players lined up to start with Cranbrook at the start of next season.
Steen has stepped down as Head Coach, but Nigel and Peter have been working with the team, which has been working well. Lyndsey and Zita will become Registrars for the Ladies and take on the admin required.
As reported in March, there was a feeling that the ticket price was too high and so Dickie has ‘re-engineered’ the event to reduce the ticket price to £70. We hope that 220 to 240 will attend what should be a very enjoyable evening. Bands and catering arrangements are confirmed.
Winter nets have now finished and the Club has been preparing for the 2018 season. Fixtures have been arranged for all age groups in all leagues. There are more fixtures than in previous seasons due to the additional teams being fielded. Fixtures start at the end of April and are, as ever, subject to change at short notice due to weather and sometimes unavailability of opposition teams.
During the meeting the need for additional volunteers was a recurring theme. For example, we still need someone to take over managing the shop, particularly management of the stock. Also someone to take over Mini/Junior registrations from Toyin and a Go Cardless volunteer (Go Cardless is a simple direct debit system and our preferred method of receiving payments). We would also like to find someone who has marketing/PR experience to help publicise the Club and raise its profile in the locality.
Advance notice of the AGM is on our website and we hope to see as many members as possible on the day. Anyone interested in becoming an Officer of the Club or Committee member should contact firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 April.
Is there anything you would like to ask the Committee or put on the next agenda? If so, please email email@example.com. The next Committee meeting is on 9 May.
We discussed parking arrangements for the Kent Cup on 22 April. We are still exploring the possibility of parking on Jaegers, as well as parking at High Weald Academy, where building works may reduce or prevent parking at the school.
Please let us know if you are available to help on the day, eg with parking, registration, catering and general marshalling.
Prices have not changed for three years and we agreed that Adrian should review prices and present a proposal for any changes. New prices are likely to take effect from the new season. Members will continue to enjoy a discount on bar prices.
We agreed to the verti-draining and sanding of the pitches, as maintaining pitches to a high standard is a Club priority. Mark Scott will be arranging for the work to be carried out.
We also agreed to the purchase of two more containers for storage, including the contents of the cricket pavilion, which is due to be demolished.
We will sort out the potholes that have reappeared in the driveway to the Club and also repair or replace the walkway surfaces that have suffered during the bad weather.
So far, no volunteers have come forward to help manage the Shop, so we will place a notice in the Clubhouse to try and attract volunteers. It is not too difficult finding people to help on Sunday mornings but what we particularly need is one or more people to take on stock management.
The Ball is currently undersubscribed, but it was felt that people are waiting to the last minute to commit to attendance. A final decision on whether to go ahead is needed by 31 March. If you have not already told Dickie that you are definitely attending, please let him know now.
The Committee discussed whether there are ways of running a less expensive event, as some feedback has been that the ticket price is high. It may be that inclusion in ‘Heads and Tails’ and the raffle in the ticket price has not been understood.
Training will start after Easter. As soon as the last games of rugby are completed the ropes will come down and the boundary mown shorter and rolled.
Fixtures have been arranged for all age groups in all leagues. There are more fixtures than in previous seasons due to the additional teams that the Cricket Club is fielding. Fixtures are subject to change at short notice due to weather and unavailability of opposition teams.
James reported that an asbestos demolition survey of the pavilion is about to be carried out. The demolition contractor can undertake the work by the end of the month, subject to approval by TWBC of the Bat Precautionary Method of Works.
The Club will be registering with HMRC for Gift Aid to maximise the value of donations.
The potential for fundraising through the 500 Club was discussed. This a slow and steady fundraising revenue and we hope that more members will participate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
We will be running a course in September to bring you up to date with current RFU safeguarding policies and guidelines. Let Michelle Forknall know if you would like to attend. Even if you are not directly involved in safeguarding it is a worthwhile course for anyone working with children and vulnerable adults.
Now that we have approval from the planners to proceed with the new Clubhouse, the Committee is considering sources of funding to progress the project. We will be making applications to various funding bodies and stepping up fundraising activity. Volunteers are needed to assist in this major project for the Club. The pavilion will be demolished as soon as possible and additional secure container storage purchased to store items currently kept in the pavilion.
We confirmed that the date for the AGM is Sunday, 10 June 2018. Details will be on the website along with requests for Officers and Committee members. We hope the meeting will be well attended; it is your chance to hear from Committee members, make your views known on the future of the Club and get involved in the running of Cranbrook Sports Club.
The Committee discussed work that needs to take place ahead of the new Regulation coming into force in May 2018. GDPR will strengthen Data Protection laws and the rights of individuals to privacy. Although most of our data is kept securely on the GMS, and is held for a legitimate purpose, we know that various people hold information about Club members offline, eg in email distribution lists, and we need to map this to ensure that data is secure and not used inappropriately. A small group of Committee members is working on this.
The Ladies are having a good season and are currently placed third in their league. The Committee congratulated the Ladies on their achievements and hope that there will be further interest in joining the squad.
As Lara is to step down at the end of the season from running the shop, we are looking for volunteers to step into her shoes. The Committee acknowledges with many thanks the work that the Mantles had done for several years. We hope to find someone who will be responsible for the overall management of the shop, including stock control, and additional people who will help serve in the shop on Sunday mornings.
Ever mindful of the need to be ‘green’ and help save precious resources, the Committee considered what the Club could do to reduce waste, including encouraging people to bring their own cups for hot drinks rather than using single-use disposable cups. We also considered ways to make money through a system of bottoms-up beer dispensing and sponsorship of the magnets that make this technology possible. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwhanESeJ7c for a demo. Apparently, this system can pour up to 10 pints a minute; wonderful for busy times at the bar as well as a potential money-maker.
Dickie Swallow reported that ticket sales have been a bit slow. If you are intending to come to the Ball, please tell Dickie as soon as possible as we need to know that we will cover the costs. Previous Summer Balls have been hugely successful and make a profit for the Club. There has been some comment about the cost of tickets; this year the ticket price includes the cost of a raffle ticket and entry into ‘heads and tails’.
We are still short of the minimum order of seven in order to place a new order. Please let a Committee member know if you are interested in buying one.
We discussed whether people who already hold a first aid qualification through their place of work or other activity need to attend a Club first aid course to be Club First Aiders. It was confirmed that most first aid training does not include head and spinal injuries and that any Club First Aider needs to attend a specific RFU course. The Club has scheduled two courses in March. Contact David Robson if you are interested and are not already booked on to a course.
We discussed parking for the event, as overflow space at High Weald Academy will not be available on this date. The upper part of Jaegers may be an option and this will be broached with Cranbrook School. More parking will be available at the Whitewell Lane end of the grounds, once the planings have been shifted to that area.
Winter nets have now been underway for about five weeks at the High Weald Leisure Centre. Over 60 players have signed up and we expect to financially breakeven or make a slight surplus. The funds from Tesco and Waitrose have been well spent on a new bowling machine and batting cage.
The Club has organised fixtures for the Weald of Kent cricket league for all age groups and fixtures for the Border League will be available by the end of February.
Summer Training is planned at the Club on Thursday evenings and will start on the first Thursday after Easter, weather permitting.
If you have questions to put to the Committee, please contact email@example.com
Several people have recently volunteered for various Club roles. We have three new Committee members, Lyndsey Posey, Zita Blayney and David Robson. Tom O’Sullivan has agreed to produce the Club newsletter; David Robson will be our First Aid Coordinator; Sarah Bouchier is to act as Harlequins liaison and Lyndsey Posey and Zita Blayney will be Joint Chairs of the Ladies. James Bligh has offered to help prepare the cricket wickets.
The financial situation is healthy. December takings were as expected, good for the first half of the month but a trickling off at the end. We discussed how the Christmas/New Year break impacted on income from the bar and kitchen. It was suggested that it might be possible over the next Christmas/New Year break to play one or more friendlies and perhaps include players who are not normally available, eg students who are away during term time. The draft programme for the 2018/19 season is not yet available but we will consider this further when next season’s dates are known.
The Ladies have several matches coming up and we hope that members will turn out to support them. There have been a number of injuries and the Committee agreed that there should be a recruitment push to attract new players. We will advertise in The Wealden Ad; Zita Blayney is having a stall at the Cranbrook Farmers Market. We would also like to get the Girls’ section going again. Any Ladies interested in joining should contact Lyndsey Posey or Zita Blayney.
We have purchased Honours Boards that will display the names of past Chairmen, Presidents, Secretaries and Captains. We hope it won’t be too long before these will be put up in the clubhouse.
Last year we had some work done to improve the surface of the driveway and fill in potholes but unfortunately some potholes have returned. Mike McMinnies is writing to the contractors asking them to address the problem.
When the marquee was erected for the Christmas lunch the flagpole was removed and has not yet been put back up. This will be followed up with the marquee contractors and it was agreed that in future it is made more clear that anything moved by the marquee company must be restored to its original position and condition, including tables/benches, flagpole and fencing.
James Fraser reported to the Committee on latest developments. The determination date on the planning application is 7 February and we are confident that the planning will be approved, although it may be with some conditions attached. Once we have the permission, it will be full steam ahead with fundraising for the new Clubhouse.
Plans for the Ball are coming on well and people have started to book tables. We have had offers of help in the preparation of salads for the meal, which are greatly appreciated.
We have about 50 people needing training and once David Robson has more exact numbers he will be booking two or three courses. You will be notified of dates in due course.
We are very fortunate to have many sponsors and we would like to strengthen relationships and also encourage our members to support sponsors whenever possible. We are in talks with new sponsors and our main sponsor, Hire4Lower, is keen to do more to support the Club.
We have someone interested in purchasing a Club blazer but a minimum order of seven is required before proceeding. Some of the ladies present at the meeting thought the Ladies team members might be interested in purchasing blazers and will explore further. Meanwhile, let any committee member know if you would like to order a blazer
If you have matters you wish to go on the February agenda, please forward to Caroline Cannar (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than Friday, 9 February 2018.
The Committee meets each month to make decisions about the running of the Club. If you have matters you wish to go on the January agenda, please forward to Caroline Cannar (email@example.com) no later than Friday, 5 January 2018.
Much work has taken place to collect this season’s subscriptions. As at 13 December, 371 membership forms have been uploaded on to the RFU Game Management System (GMS).
The information on GMS still requires some sorting out and we need more help to remove out-of-date information. Most of us on the Committee are unsure how to use GMS properly and therefore we propose to hold a training session for both the Committee and also other Club members who would like to better understand how the system works. We will let you know when we have details.
We discussed the situation of the U18s, who have had not yet played any matches. The Committee agreed that this year, as a one-off, any U17 or U18 player in this situation and not covered by a family subscription can pay their membership at the student rate.
The meeting with our kit supplier, Akuma, has not yet taken place but we hope to arrange it as soon as possible in the New Year. We know that the Ladies are keen to have polo shirts to change into after matches. This should be possible if there is sufficient demand and payment is made up-front.
And talking of the Ladies, they will be playing at Heathfield on 20 January and hope to have your support.
The Committee expressed thanks to Dickie Swallow for taking over as Chair of the Juniors. Dickie hopes to get more involvement from Senior players on Sundays. The younger age groups are greatly encouraged by the involvement of more senior players and benefit from their experience.
Tom O’Sullivan, Chair of the Minis, has received some very positive feedback on the Minis from external people and feels that things are going really well, with new Minis still registering as members for this season.
Our two players from South Africa are staying on until after the Ashford game. The Committee agreed to present then with engraved tankards at the Christmas Lunch.
James Fraser reported to the Committee on latest developments. TWBC still has concerns about the trees and seeks assurance that we will manage the coppice area. The Committee is hopeful that there is a way of resolving things but it may take some time and require the commissioning of further tree reports.
Unfortunately, we were not successful in progressing through to the finals of the Aviva Community Fund and our application to the Co-op for a grant was also unsuccessful.
The Club has made its accreditation submission to the Kent RFU. The Committee discussed actions that have been given a ‘red’ rating, being (1) managing the transition of all players between age groups and into the adult section; (2) having appropriate facilities to meet the needs of all Club members and (3) addressing the recruitment and retention of all adult players, including women. These were no surprises and actions either are, or will be, put in place to address them. Of course, the facilities issue will be sorted once we have the go-ahead for the new Clubhouse.
Nick Ditton (Treasurer) brought our attention to a misconception that members of the Committee receive payment for their work. This came as a complete surprise, as all Committee members give their time voluntarily and do not claim expenses; we assumed that people know this to be the case. This prompted a broader discussion about communication, telling members more about the running of the Club and encouraging volunteers to fill all the roles necessary to make the Club a success. Communicating by email is not necessarily the best way of keeping people informed about what is going on and we need to use other methods.
We also discussed how best to induct new members, welcome them to the Club and provide information about the running of the Club. Tom has lots of ideas and Tim Fagg hopes to attend a Minis’ coaching session in January to talk about what goes on behind-the-scenes to keep the Club running smoothly.
Dickie Swallow updated us on the arrangements for the Ball. There will be two bands and it was agreed that the ticket price will include entry into the raffle and ‘heads and tails’.
We have several people waiting for training and Steen will be arranging courses for early 2018.
The Committee meets each month to make decisions about the running of the Club. If you have matters you wish to go on the December agenda, please forward to Caroline Cannar (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than Friday, 8 December 2017.
The Committee agreed that the Club will purchase a shed with a sales hatch for selling sweets and soft drinks. This will be sited outside the Clubhouse on Sundays and will keep children away from the congested bar area. In addition, it will provide an opportunity for people taking part in community-based voluntary work, eg the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
We have now sourced a new Club flag and we have a spare. Many thanks to Alan Depoel-Wood.
A Safeguarding workshop is being held in Canterbury on Monday, 27 November. Clubs will be able to bring up any safeguarding issues experienced. Michelle Forknall is attending; please contact her if you are interested in going along with her.
The Committee discussed DBS checks and what is required for adults accompanying Mini and Junior tours. We agreed that checks are needed only for Coaches and Assistant Coaches and not necessary for all parents who accompany children on tours. The RFU policy does not appear to include parents in the requirement for DBS checks.
We are seeking a new assistant Safeguarding Officer for the Minis. Please contact Michelle Forknall if you are interested.
We have a total of 327 paid members (all categories) as at the end of October and there are some more membership forms in the pipeline. We do not record a member until we have the completed membership form and payment. Please make sure Adrian has both so that he can confirm your membership for 2017/2018.
We are thinking about re-instigating the sponsorship of positions, as happened some years ago. We will consider this further in the New Year for possible reintroduction in the 2018/2019 season.
Following the U16s match at Bromley we felt it necessary to make a formal complaint about the referee.
We discussed concerns raised by members about prices and quality of some articles, particularly socks. We agreed that the pricing structure in general should be reviewed. Nick and Lara will meet our supplier, Akuma, to review the range of items and pricing.
There have been concerns about the state of Jaegers and Steen will be raising these with the Cranbrook School groundsman.
The Committee restated the position that all tours must be approved in advance by the Committee. Costings should be submitted to the Treasurer, Nick Ditton, prior to a formal request to the full Committee.
Through sponsorship from Tesco and Waitrose, the cricket section of the Club is now able to purchase a high-quality bowling machine and an additional mobile cricket net. We are very grateful for the support from the supermarkets and hope that the association will continue.
To date, Mark Scott has maintained the cricket area during the summer months but is unable to do this longer term, so we are sourcing a contractor to provide maintenance from the next cricket season.
Work is underway to achieve accreditation for the cricket club. Andrew Herbert and James Fraser are working on a development plan to achieve this.
There has not been much progress since the October committee meeting. Natural England has no objection to the development and the Parish Council recommends approval, with some provisos. The Parish Council has asked for the Club to write requesting formal permission to proceed (the Club leases the land from the Parish Council at a peppercorn rent). The Club’s Hon Secretary will do this. The Parish Council would like to be more involved in the development and send a Council member to a meeting.
At the date of the Committee meeting there were approximately 2,500 votes for us for the Aviva Community Fund.
The Committee meets each month to make decisions about the running of the Club. If you have matters you wish to go on the November agenda, please forward to Caroline Cannar (email@example.com) no later than Friday, 3 November 2017.
This is not a replacement for the Club Newsletter. It is an update on what your Committee discussed, which in October was as follows:
The Committee agreed quotes for Honours Boards for display in the clubhouse and is currently commissioning the sign writing.
We are currently looking for a suitable place in the Clubhouse to sell soft drinks and sweets on Sundays that does not get in the way of bar activities.
The Club flag will be replaced; thanks to Alan Depoel-Wood for sourcing a new flag.
The condition of the goal posts was discussed. They need washing and possible replacement. This is in hand.
We have a few parents who have offered time and labour to assist with jobs needed by the Club. Many thanks to everyone who is able to offer assistance.
Congratulations to the 1st team’s outstanding win over Kings College Hospital on Saturday, 7 October
Much work is going on to input the new season’s membership details on to the RFU Game Management system (GMS). Dave Martin has been working for a considerable length of time to clean up the data and he and Julie Taylor are now inputting the new season’s data. It is important that the data is accurate for the Club’s reaccreditation coming up shortly.
The ‘no pay, no play’ rule will be enforced from 1 November and players who have not paid a subscription will pay a match fee.
New direct debit payments are now being made through the GoCardless system. This is proving a very successful means of collecting payment for subscriptions, tour fees and other payments.
The Ladies team is coming on well and very enthusiastic. We still need more players in order to be able to guarantee putting out a full side for matches.
We agreed to hold a family lunch for players moving up from the Minis to Midis. Dave Martin will organise.
There have been further delays but the Planning Officer is aware. We have put in an application for funding to the Aviva Community Fund, which was submitted on our behalf by Doug Jackson at NFU Mutual. Since the Committee meeting we have heard that the application has been approved and we are now moving to the next stage of the competition to qualify for the award of funds. A big thank you to Doug for all his help so far.
Dickie Swallow is organising the Ball and has been getting quotes for marquees and caterers. He is currently sourcing a band and disco. The theme is the Club’s Diamond Jubilee.
The Club is always looking for new sponsors and would like to hear from anyone willing, or who has a possible contact that we can pursue.
The club was asked to host the Under 14s Kent Cup on 5th November, but on such short notice, it was decided that we could not accept the invitation this year.