I hope you remain healthy and well.
I apologise for the delay in contacting you to update you on our plans to open the club. The committee has now been through the relevant guidelines issued by the government and the LTA and carried out our own risk assessments. For tennis to go ahead safely, you will appreciate there will need to be certain restrictions in place. I will come back to the restrictions and guidelines further down, but for now I would like to cover one or two other items which have been outstanding since the lockdown started.
In the circumstances, we need to postpone the AGM indefinitely. It is hard to imagine a gathering like this will be allowed anytime soon. We will monitor the changes to the governments guidelines and arrange this as soon as it is realistic and safe to do so. In the meantime, the committee will carry on in our present roles and bring any important decisions to your attention.
Each year at the AGM we ask the members in attendance to agree to the membership charges we are proposing for the coming year. Clearly this year, this is not possible. The committee has discussed and agreed what we feel are fair and appropriate charges to take us through until the end of March 2021. Prior to the lockdown, the committee had already agreed to leave the subs at the same rate for 2020/2021 as they were for 2019/2020. The club was then forced to close and whilst we are now able to open the club; this is with many restrictions in place.
With the restrictions in mind, and in an attempt to be fair and reasonable, the committee has decided to reduce the annual membership fees for 2020/21 by 50%. This will result in the following charges:
Adult (Single) Membership £150.00 reduced to £75.00
Couple £260.00 reduced to £130.00
Family Membership £325.00 reduced to £162.50
Named Parent £45.00 reduced to £22.50
Young Person (18-21yrs) £55.00 reduced to £27.50
Junior (5-17yrs) £38.00 reduced to £19.00
NB: If you have any questions regarding the above membership categories, refer to the website www.wedmoretennis.co.uk for further details
We would ask all members to renew and pay the reduced annual charge within the next 28 days. This is a one-off reduction and will not be reduced further as the year goes on. This will effectively mean a member is actually only paying from September onwards.
There has only been one formal change to the committee with Susan Cunningham deciding the time has come for her to step down. Over the years Susan has done an amazing job. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and she will be missed. Thank you Susan. Kimberley Myers has agreed to help the committee with the running of the club by taking over from Jo Attiwell as the Clubhouse Manager. Thank you Jo for your efforts in the last year and thank you Kimberley for agreeing to take this on. If any members feel they could spare some free time to help us with the running of the club, please let me know. We are always looking for new volunteers as it is good to see a change of personalities to keep things fresh.
We advised members earlier in the year that our coach Craig Phillips had given the club notice and intended to work up until the summer. Following recent communications relating to the relevant LTA safety guidelines, Craig has made the decision not to return as our coach. We would like to thank Craig for his efforts and wish him all the best in future.
We have been busy working on a replacement coach and I am pleased to report the committee has a number of excellent applicants to work with. I am extremely confident a new coach will be in place soon and will offer an excellent program to suit the needs of all members and of all ages.
Due to coronavirus, the North Somerset Tennis League (NSTL) summer competition has been cancelled. We hope the next NSTL competition will be the winter league 2020/2021 starting in October.
With competitions in mind, we still plan to run our in-house summer competitions and hold a finals day as we do every year. At this rate we may need to hold the AGM and the finals day in one day, maybe even add the Christmas party to that list. At the moment only singles play is possible, so we will wait until doubles matches can be played. I will message everyone when we know these competitions can begin. But I do have a competition to add to the list of tournaments we run, and this is a mixed doubles event for the over 65’s. As with the other competitions the final will be part of our final’s day event. I feel this is a positive step to ensuring we are as inclusive as possible, and everyone has a chance to be part of the final’s day experience. The categories will be as follows: now have a Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Ladies Singles, Ladies Doubles, Mixed Doubles, Mixed Doubles for over 65’s, Boys Singles and Girls Singles. Anyone wishing to take part should reply to let us know which competition(s) you would like to take part in.
With finals day in mind, we will have the new honours board up soon.
Going back to the club reopening. With so many restrictions placed on us, it has not been easy to ensure we can open the gates and allow the club to operate safely. To enable this to happen in the short term, we have made the decision to open the courts during restricted hours, but we will NOT be opening the clubhouse. We will continue to work our way through the guidelines and carry out further risk assessments. But there are various changes we will need to make before we can safely open the clubhouse. So, for now, we welcome members back, subject to adhering to the guidelines below, but we must insist no one enters the clubhouse.
The guidelines I would ask you to read and adhere to before considering stepping back on court are as follows:
Current principles for opening WTC. The committee are following LTA guidance:
• The club is using extreme caution to ensure we get off to the best possible start
• Everyone should be as safe as possible from cross infection
• Everyone should enjoy their time at the club and not have to worry about how others are behaving
In practice this means a new set of rules which need to be adhered to consistently by all members both for individuals’ safety as well as the wellbeing of others.
The club will be open between the hours of 10am and 5.30pm. This is the opening hours of the Post & Wicket, and ensures WTC players can enter via the main playing fields gate during this time.
The first player to arrive at the club, should open the main gate to the club. This is to be left open, until the end of the day, where one of the committee members will ensure it is closed. The gate will be disinfected at this stage.
The club house will be closed for the time being, MEMBERS MUST NOT ENTER.
Until hand sanitisers have been installed it is recommended that players bring their own to use before and after play.
The first aid kit will be placed under the porch of the clubhouse, should this be needed.
Players should follow the 2 metre social distancing rules, when entering the club and courts. Make sure to allow previous players space to leave courts safely.
Max 2 players are allowed per court, unless they are from the same household, in which case doubles play is allowed.
Players will need to bring their own personally marked balls. Unless the play is between members of the same household, players shall use their own balls for serving. Alternatively wear a glove on your serving hand.
When entering the court, place your tennis bags at each net post, and change ends by your respective net post, whilst allowing the 2 metre distancing to adjacent courts.
We do not want spectators or players waiting on the side of the courts. If you turn up and all five courts are busy, please consider returning later.
Return balls to other players using racket and/or foot.
A poster with this information will be displayed at the club and the committee is happy for the club to be used from tomorrow, 18th May 2020.
We appreciate how restrictive these may be, not least the hours of play, but these are truly challenging times and we need to ensure the safety of our members and those around us is our number one priority.
I should add that we have been working closely with the Playing Fields Committee and our new ‘opening hours’ are in line with theirs. Our agreement is to open at the same time and ensure the tennis club is locked up ready for when the entrance gates to the main car park are locked by them each evening. We will continue to communicate with the Playing Fields Committee and as and when the hours change, we will change ours with them.
With the clubhouse closed, there will not be any toilet facility at the tennis club. I should point out that the toilets will not be open at the football club and the Post & Wicket. The football pitches have been transformed into a football golf facility and the Post and Wicket has reopened for take away only.
I am sorry for this long message, although I hope it covers everything outstanding from earlier in the year. I also hope it covers what you need to consider before you start to play tennis again. If so, please think of those around you and strictly adhere to the guidelines we have offered.
Stay safe and hopefully I will see you on court again very soon.
For and on behalf of:
Wedmore Tennis Club