EBU Strategy Update

Dear County Chairs and Shareholders

The EBU Board had been planning to update its strategy “Raising Our Game” at the start of 2020, but Covid-19 has disrupted the bridge world so much (and will continue to do so) that this becomes a good opportunity to take a completely fresh look at where the organisation is going.

The Board recognises that the raison d’etre of the EBU (“promote bridge”) is shared by others and in particular by your CBAs. In elaborating and delivering that mission, it is therefore imperative that we do so in partnership with all those who support the game. To reflect this fresh start we are developing the following

  • A Vision Statement, describing how we want to position the organisation in the future, 
  • A Mission Statement, describing the function of the organisation for anyone who doesn’t know it,
  • A Values Statement, describing some aspects of the approach we will take to achieving our vision.

All three are under development and your contributions to them will be welcome. At this point we are seeking quick inputs from anyone active in organising County Bridge; finalisation and formal adoption will come at the AGM in November. Possible alternatives on all three are on the page below, and are posted on the County Forum on the EBU website. Please look at them there and offer thoughts; if you cannot work with the forum, then email your ideas to patrick@gcba.org.uk

Another early strand in developing our strategy is identifying clearly what is, and what is likely to be, different from the past. A first cut of the issues is as follows

  • Too many people do not understand the pleasure that can come from playing bridge and/or find the game difficult to learn.
  • The average age of a bridge player is increasing as more people are learning to play later, and fewer are learning early – with knock-on effects on the number of players and bridge administrators.
  • Many people learn how to play bridge but never get sufficiently involved in Duplicate Bridge to gain the enjoyment that can offer.
  • The bridge playing population has (in numbers) veered significantly towards playing bridge as a social activity and away from strong competition.
  • There will be a smaller footfall in clubs across the country because of health worries and a number of existing clubs will no longer survive.
  • There will be a significant amount of bridge played online and the EBU, Counties and Clubs need to support bridge players in England who prefer that mode of play.

As with the Vision / Mission / Values, these statements are on the County Forum on the website and your wisdom on the validity and importance of these (and of any missing) is sought.

Convergence on the answers to the above will be followed by considering what services should the EBU (and Counties) provide to players and to bridge clubs. We will progress this around another Zoom session for Chairs or their representatives in early September.

Key to the way forward is that the EBU works openly and in partnership with others who share the same agenda – and that is why we are looking to your contribution at this early stage in the strategy development. We really want all counties to get involved so please do respond in some way. The EBU wants to become more inclusive of all styles and standards of bridge player; please share this with any appropriate people in your area who might usefully contribute.
Patrick Shields  (for the EBU Board)


There are three high-level, authoritative statements, which underpin any business and we need to have them and be clear about them. They are 
VISION STATEMENT: focused on the future and what the business aims to become; it needs to be stable, memorable, motivational and brief, something like

  • To make Duplicate Bridge the most popular indoor pastime in the country. 
  • To develop bridge from niche pastime to mass mindsport and game throughout England.
  • To increase the awareness and attractiveness of Duplicate Bridge amongst people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, and so double our membership by 2025
  • To enable everyone to enjoy bridge, in an atmosphere where you can make friends, bringing people together to exercise their minds while they socialise; we will challenge and inspire people to learn more about the game.
  •  ….

MISSION STATEMENT: focused on the present and explaining why we exist and whom we serve. For the EBU it needs to be something like

  • To promote the game of Duplicate Bridge so that the game is attractive and easily accessible to all potential players in England.
  • To govern, promote and grow the mindsport and game of Bridge for, and throughout, England.
  • The English Bridge Union is responsible for the advancement of Duplicate Bridge and the provision of the infrastructure to play the game in England. (Bidding for the Future 2013-2018)
  • To lead the game of Duplicate Bridge throughout England so that it grows and is accessible to all.

VALUES STATEMENT: this is a declaration about how the organization wants to value their customers and suppliers, and be valued within its own internal community. In our context it needs to capture the fact that we depend on volunteers as well as paid staff. It could be something like

  • We will work cooperatively with all others who are promoting the game of bridge, and will respect the contributions and views of all bridge players, and we will do this in a legal and transparent manner.
  • We value all people in the ecosystem of bridge. Including those playing, teaching, promoting, administrating, researching, developing and providing services or products.  Our commitment to inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity, and experience drives us to become the national mindsport of England
  • (Bidding for the Future, 2013-2018) To act always in the best interests of our membership; to take pride in delivering quality and value for money; to respect each other and celebrate diversity so that everyone can give of their best.
  • We will achieve our vision in a collaborative way with players, volunteers, employees and partners based on the principles of inclusivity, transparency and sustainability.

Kind Regards


Samantha Kelly
Communications Officer
English Bridge Union
01296 317215


This email has been sent to sam@ebu.co.uk in your capacity as an EBU County Official. If you wish to update this please let us know - kay@ebu.co.uk.

Read online at https://www.ebu.co.uk/dynamic/sendy/w/892crFbZNkmJt2S5E5E4f0lA

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