Club Management Focus: Winter 2019

Bewdley Bridge Club

Bewdley Bridge Club faced a series of key decisions about four years ago. The club had enjoyed excellent stewardship from its Treasurer and Secretary but was in serious decline. Table numbers had fallen to the extent that the club no longer had a sustainable business model and the club had lost connectivity with the Worcestershire CBA.

Following the AGM in 2015 and under the guidance of a new chairman the club agreed a recovery and development plan based upon the following principles: -

  • Membership needed to be expanded, recognising that the most significant area of growth would come from individuals and partnerships that had progressed via the bridge teaching provided by Richard Greenwood, a Committee member and an EBU accredited bridge teacher
  • The atmosphere in the club needed to change with the emphasis being on creating a welcoming and friendly environment which in particular encouraged new members
  • A willingness to run from time to time a separate Intermediate Section on club night so that new members could have a gentle introduction to duplicate bridge which would provide a pathway to long term participation at the club
  • The urgent need to modernise the club and invest in widely used bridge equipment
  • The equally urgent need for the club to be more outward facing and in particular to develop a much more positive relationship with the WCBA and to participate to the maximum extent in county competitions.

These strategies have proved successful. The following positive outcomes have been achieved: -

  • Average table numbers have more than doubled between June 2015 and June 2018
  • Club membership is at a record level with a good intake of the more recently retired
  • Improved club viability has allowed the club to invest in modern bridge equipment, with major capital outlay upon Bridgemates and a Duplimator. A capital grant of £850 from the EBU towards the cost of the Duplimator was very gratefully received
  • Improved club viability has also allowed the club to smarten its appearance, with investment in replacement bidding boxes, boards and cloths, together with the upgrade of the club laptop and website
  • Participation has grown in WCBA competitions, with overall bridge standards rising as players gain experience
  • The events programme has been expanded thanks to the investment in modern bridge equipment, with Swiss Teams and Swiss Pairs events now played regularly at the club
  • At various stages hand commentaries have been produced by the Chairman or the Accredited Teacher in order to help less experienced members with boards that may have proved difficult on club night
  • The club has a vibrant atmosphere with players of different abilities enjoying the competition

The club is now fully sustainable, the major emerging risk being that the current venue will struggle to accommodate further membership growth as ongoing teaching and supervision continues.

Contribution from David Halford (Chair of Bewdley Bridge Club)