Taking Bridge to the streets

Every summer Rugby Bridge Club plays bridge in its local shopping centre to try to recruit new people for its autumn lessons. This not only helped generate members, but also yielded them coverage in their local newspaper, which gave further exposure to their club.

Terry Bradbury, a member of their committee who organises the activity, picks up the story…

"We approach the Clock Towers management and negotiate a date and place to hold the event. We aim for late July/early August as the main purpose is to recruit - mainly beginners but also people who have played before - for our training sessions for both Beginners and Improvers which take place weekly from mid-September to summer of the following year. These are managed by Wendy Pattinson who also works on other aspects of recruitment including advertising in village shops/halls and in local papers."

"On the day itself we set up two tables and a whiteboard and play a competitive match between two teams of four. We ask each participant to bring their own folding chair to minimise the amount of equipment that I need to transport. While the match is being played one or more engagers stands at the front and chats to anyone who shows any interest or even curiosity. We aim to take the telephone number and/or email of those interested so that we can follow up before the training starts. We play two matches (with different teams) of about 16 boards over a period of roughly 5 hours."

"Does it work? This year we got 8 names and details and so far none have indicated a likelihood of drop out when I've followed up. My twice a week partner was recruited this way four years ago and is now well inside the top 20 in our Master Points table.”

Hopefully that gives you food for thought. Terry has offered to give advice should any club want any suggestions on how this activity might work for them. If you have any queries then please write to peter.stockdale@ebu.co.uk and he will pass on your message to Terry.