Club Management Focus: Winter 2017

Stamford Bridge Club is thriving

Stamford Bridge Club is going from strength to strength, due to a number of proactive schemes which not only benefit the club at the present time, but also look to the future. The members of the club relate some of their projects below…

"Stamford Bridge Club, Lincolnshire, one of the largest and most active in the country, has embraced with enthusiasm the project to bring the game to young people in schools.

The SBC Academy, the educational arm of the Club has trained a group of members, known as “buddies”, to go into schools to work with teachers in classes on card play before going on to mini-bridge. This programme was operating in 11 schools in the East Midlands at the start of this year.

A keen and experienced Stamford club member, Liz Dale has written a series of four books on teaching children of various ages the basics of the game. These are on sale in the EBU shop and also available on Amazon.

Stamford Bridge Club has so far relied on introductions to schools by members and their friends with teaching connections. The programme is supported by English Bridge Education and Development who provide materials used by the schools, and there is support from the Club’s EBU county, Northampton.

Our own extensive teaching programme for newcomers among its 570 members has proved an excellent base for launching classes in schools in the area.

Other local bridge clubs have been invited to Stamford’s training sessions for schools teaching to help the further recruitment of buddies working in schools.

Ten week classes for adult beginners are held during the spring and autumn. The learners are then encouraged to join sessions at the club where help is given when requested.

An “improvers’ class” takes pupils beyond basic Acol, and a workshop is held weekly for those wishing to improve their skills with different conventions.

A major factor in the Stamford Club’s membership growth, and its teaching classes, has been the acquisition five years ago of its own purpose-built clubhouse at Exeter Gardens. It was built by the Club, without any grant income, through donations and loans of its members. Equipped with a digital system, and permanent display screens for teaching and duplicate scores, the clubhouse has proved a magnet for new members from a wide area, and is currently in use seven days a week, usually two sessions per day, plus teaching.

Despite its progress so far, Stamford Bridge Club is well aware that its future depends on introducing and encouraging newcomers to the great game. The team who organise the Bridge into Schools initiative believe that teaching in schools is essential if we are to ‘bridge the learning gap’.”