County Chair Meeting 2021

June 1, 2021

The County Chair meeting took place last week via Zoom. You can view the meeting on the EBU YouTube Channel.

The minutes will be published shortly.

Text chat and questions appear below:

00:19:59    Alan Mould Manchester:    Is there any reason to believe that 2022-23 will not repeat a loss making projection in 2021-2022?
00:22:36    Norman Inniss Kent:    Kent have just about broken even, even after our donation. 9 high games have been phenomenal
00:22:36    david guild- Yorkshire:    We know that a high percentage of people do not play online. If they start paying F2F, how is income not going to go up?
00:23:42    kathy:    Income was falling before the pandemic so the problem is more deep-rooted
00:24:34    kathy:    Oxfordshire has broken even but does not need an income - we have reserves
00:24:38    Norman Inniss Kent:    I think that online is here to stay. We will end up with a mixture
00:24:49    Lucy Cross Wiltshire:    Wiltshire has a comfortable surplus at present, mainly because of successful Green point in March 2021, and popular online regular pairs sessions and teams league (but waiting on BBO for possible teams charges?)
00:25:23    Patrick Shields: EBU Board:    Cheltenham BC treasurer is budgeting on the basis of a 50% drop online from winter peak to summer low
00:26:07    Norman Inniss Kent:    Green Point events are struggling across the country
00:26:20    Paul Gibbons, Kent:    A number of clubs which played once a week before the pandemic are now planning two sessions one online and one face-to-face
00:26:37    Pippa Bedfordshire:    Bedfordshire has done ok and has no ongoing costs
00:26:51    Adam:    Cambs & Hunts have had a better financial year than we usually do - online sessions are bringing money in and we don't have much in terms of expenses
00:27:00    Fred Davis (Northants):    There is a lot of online bridge being played on a casual basis, one reason is because it is free on BBO. Also, travel is a significant issue. Clubs need to have a good offering to bring people out in the winter evenings.
00:27:06    Paul Littlewood - Hertfordshire:    Very similar in N
00:27:26    Paul Littlewood - Hertfordshire:    Very similar in Herts to what Alan was saying
00:27:26    Tim Warren, Surrey:    Surrey: Our numbers up 31% Jan-Mar21 vs late 2020, but as elsewhere Apr 21 rather lower
00:27:46    Lesley Millet:    Yorkshire are looking at running Online and FTF Leagues in the autumn
00:27:47    Kiat Huang - Lincolnshire:    Lincolnshire's costs (mainly entrance fees to representative events) have not been covered by the usual sources of revenue, mainly because of the smaller footprint of clubs and membership in the county.
00:28:05    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Gloucestershire doing ok. Player sessions are in fact up
00:28:37    Tim Warren, Surrey:    Surrey: No need to go into reserves here
00:28:54    Peter Clinch Sussex:    I would like to say something
00:28:59    Nigel Durie NEBA:    NEBA not having problems.  A v.good Green Pointed Swiss Teams.  Clubs seemingly to be losing numbers over the last few weeks
00:29:28    Alan Mould Manchester:    Manchester has no overheads, but generating very little either
00:29:49    Alan Mould Manchester:    lost sound. I will leave and try and join again
00:30:47    Ron Millet - Board Member:    The real challenge is this. Will the financial benefits of a return to face to face be cancelled out by a transfer from the current virtual play
00:32:38    Paul Littlewood - Hertfordshire:    Should there be more green-pointed county assigned weekends as they are profitable for the counties ?
00:33:06    Norman Inniss Kent:    An extra GP event online annually?
00:33:06    Jim Parker Derbyshire:    Derbyshire are doing just better than breaking even, but, we only ever aim to break even. Any surplus is either used to provide free events for members any other surplus is invested in the privately owned building (owned by all Derbyshire Bridge Clubs) were we play F2F bridge.
00:38:50    Kathy Talbot Oxfordshire:    Oxfordshire gain probably due to reaffiliation of a club
00:39:57    Alan Mould:    Manchester has had two clubs affiliate in the last 18 months, including a new online only club
00:41:48    Tim Warren, Surrey:    Surrey: 3 new affiliated clubs here, too
00:44:06    Alan Mould:    Every affiliated club in Manchester is now running some online sessions. Previously, I do not think any were.
00:44:36    Jerry Cope:    Interestingly nearly all clubs (95%) have remitted their affiliation fee at 1 April
00:44:37    Peter Clinch Sussex:    Probably a larger percentage of clubs playing online, as several online clubs are formed of multiple affiliated clubs joining forces
00:50:58    Fred Davis (Northants):    Communication between clubs and counties has improved, and ideas have been better listened to.
00:53:39    Norman Inniss Kent:    The Yorkshire model is really interesting. The County has much more control of what is going on.
00:54:00    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Capacity Planning!
00:55:00    Norman Inniss Kent:    We have a lot of EBU and non-EBU teachers who are doing their own thing and not interested in a joint effort
00:55:06    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Teaching - see Yorkshire later
00:58:27    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Agree with conclusions. Is there a steering team to make things happen?
01:00:25    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Think we have analysis and high level of agreement next we need an action plan!
01:00:50    Ian Payn (Chairman):    Ian S - that comes later.
01:01:02    Ian Payn (Chairman):    Later today, I mean!
01:02:03    Pippa Bedfordshire:    RealBridge are introducing teaching with a Keep Bridge Alive campaign
01:06:25    Kiat Huang - Lincolnshire:    Just to clarify the idea of integrating RealBridge into the English Bridge School: teachers would be able to teach a class with students logged into EBS, then easily start teaching tables inside the EBS platform, powered by the RB engine (or other play engine, BBO, Stepbridge, etc).
01:07:11    Norman Inniss Kent:    2 days for a teaching course is too long, and expensive, and will put some people off. We need a fast track teaching course, one day.
01:07:29    Tim Warren, Surrey:    Surrey: I'm sure we would be happy to co-fund some elements of an EBU-led campaign
01:08:02    Norman Inniss Kent:    So would Kent. We might even be able to get some sponsorship.
01:09:07    Kiat Huang - Lincolnshire:    Is that a triangular iceberg? :)
01:10:55    Norman Inniss Kent:    Online teacher's course?
01:11:17    Myra Scott (Warks):    Many students prefer learning face-to-face.
01:12:37    Kiat Huang - Lincolnshire:    The younger generations want to learn quickly driving the process themselves - most gaming ecosystems these days tend grow like that.
01:12:43    Fred Davis (Northants):    Learning has to an enjoyable experience, with emphasis on making the game fun to play
01:12:53    Alan Mould:    Experience in Manchester suggests that getting beginners or learners is not a problem. The real problem is converting those to players in club sessions. Too many want to stay and play in "beginner sessions" or supervised play forever.
01:15:17    Lucy Cross Wiltshire:    Alan  from Manchester has a good point, it can be difficult to get players to convert from lessons/supervised play to the club
01:17:32    Lucy Cross Wiltshire:    we had teachers partnering students on their first few visits to the club, to support them and get them used to bridge etiquette, before they developed their own partnerships
01:18:13    Tim Warren, Surrey:    I suggest that one strand of marketing to find new players should be school teachers.  Some of these might in time set up school-based BCs, helping youngsters to learn to play
01:19:04    Patrick Shields: EBU Board:    Free lessons on offer at teacher Training College?
01:19:17    Tim Warren, Surrey:    (Sorry, I typed that before seeing that you already had that idea in your slide)
01:19:18    Norman Inniss Kent:    It needs a teacher with an interest. They are all totally focussed on the National Curriculum and don't have a lot of spare time
01:19:20    Kiat Huang - Lincolnshire:    A campaign to train school teachers in playing and teaching bridge?
01:21:03    Paul Roberts:    School children are used to playing all sorts of games online - how can we get bridge into that group?
01:21:08    Fred Davis (Northants):    This schools involvement topic, I believe , is regularly discussed by the Youth Advisory Group.
01:21:38    Lyn Fry - Middlesex:    Few players in nonaffliated clubs are interested in the NGS, masterpoints, the magazine.  The EBU needs to rethink what it might offer these players.
01:22:04    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Very good, thanks
01:24:41    Pippa Bedfordshire:    Bedfordshire has lost it's EBED/EBU youth liaison officer, how do we contact the replacement as we'd like to get back to teaching in schools again
01:26:25    Lyn Fry - Middlesex:    Realbridge is of limited use to teachers at present as you can only talk to one table at a time.  You cannot teach a group.
01:26:41    Fred Davis (Northants):    "Junior Teach In" weekends need to be encouraged
01:28:59    Gordon Rainsford - EBU CEO:    You can now address a whole session at once on RealBridge, but you can't interact with all tables at once
01:29:25    Gordon Rainsford - EBU CEO:    You can talk to them, but they can't ask questions or respond
01:45:04    Norman Inniss Kent:    we have teachers and clubs who are generating income from their activities. They are very resistant to becoming involved in wider initiatives.
01:45:25    Lyn Fry - Middlesex:    In Middlesex the nonaffliated clubs are vastly more successful than the affliated clubs and have no interest in encouraging their members to join the EBU.  The financial cost is too great and the benefits too small.
01:49:20    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Brilliant initiative. Well done.
01:49:51    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Could we have a project pack for implementation?
01:49:55    Alan Mould:    That is exactly the position in Manchester as well. The non-affiliated clubs are often bigger, recruit better but see no benefit in EBU membership. they usually play 12-14 board sessions as well.
01:50:53    Patrick Shields: EBU Board:    For non-affiliated club a lot of the benefits are for the players not the clubs, we should market the EBU *to the players*
02:01:13    Alan Mould:    The weather must be better in Derbyshire. It is not warn enough to eat ice cream in Manchester....
02:03:33    Ian Sidgwick Glos:    Yes
02:03:35    Norman Inniss Kent:    me please
02:05:46    Paul Littlewood - Hertfordshire:    Was there any clash with the club's own teaching programs ?
02:10:36    david guild- Yorkshire:    There was no teaching clash. There was no beginners' teaching in Yorkshire at this time and I am surprised to hear that 70% of other counties had beginner recruitment at that time.
02:18:24    Norman Inniss Kent:    It has become evident this year that there is more interest in playing bridge in the winter time. Given that why do the EBU hold their flagship event at a time when the sun is shining, many will have child care issues (often as grandparents), and hotel prices are at their highest. Why not in the winter?
02:18:24    Gordon Rainsford - EBU CEO:    Link to COVID information on the website https://www.ebu.co.uk/article/links-ebu-information-arising-covid-19-pa…
02:19:22    Gordon Rainsford - EBU CEO:    EBU Forums https://ebu.co.uk/forum/discussions
02:34:13    Alan Mould:    I have a question if I may
02:34:56    Paul Gibbons, Kent:    can I say something about something in the written report which has not been talkedabout
02:40:58    Paul Littlewood - Hertfordshire:    We have struggled to get NGS 9 events to work..is there a magic ingredient we are missing ?
02:42:42    Pippa Bedfordshire:    It would be useful to share the successful Kent 9high strategy with all counties
02:42:49    Lesley Millet:    Yorkshire are holding a 5 high this time at the Yorkshire Congress on the 13th June - there is a demand for them as Stepping Stones
02:43:39    Jeffrey Smith:    I note the Lockdown League takeup has significantly declined in Season 11.  Is there a case for lockdown league changes i.e longer matches, less often, Masterpoints?
02:44:05    Norman Inniss Kent:    There was a big input from a small number of teachers.
02:44:32    Patrick Shields: EBU Board:    Contacting players through teachers is very important
02:44:42    Peter Clinch Sussex:    what happened to the jeff smith entry?
02:45:28    Gayle Webb Board Member:    Having run several nine high competitions in Wiltshire, I think the secret is asking them personally if they would like to play.   Pure advertising is not enough, they need reassurance that the events are suitable for them.
02:45:56    Kiat Huang - Lincolnshire:    Along the lines of collaboration and growth, the USA, Australia and France run significantly large F2F congresses and some countries have remarkable player growth, so English bridge can learn from their experiences?