Secretary’s report 2019

Welcome once again to another report on your club’s activities.

The main topic of the year has been the new floodlights. Melanie Kay and Francis Day got the ball rolling with Sport England and we had a quoted figure of £90,000 plus. The year was consumed in fund raising led by Joan Knott and a small sub-committee. Melanie’s work commitments gradually reduced her involvement and Francis took the task on his own with input from a variety of interested parties. He liaised with Sport England, Crowdfunding, Tameside, who put the tender out for quote to save on vat, Joan’s fundraising and others involved. He thanked everyone on the club email. We replaced the Youth Committee Fund with a Floodlight Fund. Tameside paid the maintenance bills of the last year. Gary Edwards of Tameside MB agreed to monitor the work. Estimated total in February was £69,500.

Sue Hudak did a tremendous job co-ordinating the bag packs with the help of Shirley Steward. The estimated total from Sport England alone in March was £67,470. Joan and Francis met Carol Parker of Bromley’s solicitors about a sponsorship package involving advertising space. They may want use of the clubroom. £1000 a year agreed. Suggested it be put in the Floodlight Fund. In March we had potentially £80,000 with £9,500 due in April (new tax year). Gary Edwards did specifications for three quotes. Replies by the end of March and choice by the end of April. He checked the wiring. We were hopeful of e reduced cost as ducting was there. A social dinner dance with auction and race night and a sponsored twenty- four hour marathon were suggested.

In May floodlight specifications went out for tender. No positive reaction to the social event. Reunion suggested as a better idea. In June we met Carol Parker of Bromley’s. They had put advertising signs in three places and agreed £1000 per yr. on a twelve month contract reviewed each year. Specifications went to four firms for reply by June. The aim was July/August start. One of the firms came to look around. The sub-committee reported promises adding up to £84,503. In July the sealed bids were evaluated. In August we had two bids and needed three for Sport England. We explained and Sport England requested all the details of the process to put before the Board who they felt would be sympathetic to our project continuing. They were. We went with the lower £88,500. The Tameside charge of £4,400 for dealing with the tender process would take the cost to £92,900. Committee agreed to pay Tameside out of club reserves if we got permission to proceed. Funds to date were £85.000. With Bromley’s £1000 this left us £2,500 short. Gary Edwards felt once appointed the firm would take six weeks to get parts and one week to do the job.

In September we chose Altitude Services as the contractor at a cost of £88,500. Sport England gave the go ahead and we informed Tameside. There was a contingency fund within the quote. I gave Roger Greenwood of Tameside the club’s first payment towards the cost. There were still several conditions we or the contractor had to sign before Sport England would release any money. One condition was adding a Conflict of Interest Policy to our Constitution and Rules which we agreed.

Francis and Joan have discussed money saving and money promoting ideas. Joan and Sue have asked coaches for ideas on equipment needs with regard to small grants. We are open to any ideas on sponsorship and further fund raising. Committee agreed the clubhouse was not for sponsor’s banners or posters. It was for past and present athletes photographs.

In October Mr. Day, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Shaw met the contractor and representatives of Tameside and walked round the track discussing a variety of questions put forward. They would leave as long as possible before concentrating on columns and lights. The conduit for electric cables had been laid. Bromley’s payment was authorised. Press release delayed until Sport England release. In December we finally had a full set of working floodlights. Our thanks to Wayne Martindale and his workers at Altitude Services for their efforts and work done. Members were very pleased as they could see clearly. The columns drop so bulbs can be changed. They are LED bulbs. In January Altitude Services invoice was £82,872.91, Tameside design and tender£2,400 and supervision and management of works £2,000 giving a total of £87,272.91. Mr. Day informed Sport England of the completion and the ceremony on Tuesday 14th January 2020. Joan and Francis compiled a list of dignitaries and interested parties and sent out invitations. Committee discussed and agreed an opening programme. The weather relented and it went well with a lot of happy faces and many compliments. Many committee members have pointed out how much had been done over a short period of time. They did not think club members realised how well we had done.

Phill put a big thank you email on the club site. He thanked everyone but made a special mention to Roger Greenwood and Tameside MB, who don’t often get good publicity, for their support. Altitude Services presented us with a £400 cheque for our service to the community. Councillors’ Hollinshead and Choksi are presenting trophies at our presentations.

As in the past our members have risen to the occasion and done what is necessary. I wonder how long this can continue as our core reduces and gets older. There is little sign of new blood with the same love for the club. Thanks to everyone for their patience. Thanks to all who helped with fundraising and liaised with all the bodies concerned in the obtaining of new floodlights. This does not mean we can relax. Part of the deal with Sport England is that we set up a Maintenance Fund. Future fundraising, sponsorship and grants will go to this.

In October we entered the Asda green token scheme and in January we qualified for a £500 cheque. The presentation and photo were in the clubroom on Tuesday 4th February 2020. Phill’s last official club duty.

On to other business and the kit was discussed in January. Agreed vests from Cavendish with male and female cut. The club buy a stock. All other clothing is a matter of taste and needs to be paid for when ordering. The Primary cross-country championships went well on the cycle track. Thanks to helpers. Martin McGann trophy agreed in recognition of his 50th National. Martin was proud to have a cup in his name. The criteria for deserving to receive this, needs thinking about. We are still looking for someone who has the skills of correlating results and writing reports on the club’s activities as our Press Representative. Mr. Day has done a few. Some were printed and some ignored. The parking measures we introduced seem to be working after a period of confusion. The cross-country presentation went well. Congratulations to all winners. Thank you to all who helped. We hosted a SE Lancs. Cross-country fixture.

The coaches have had regular meetings. The reports to committee have been sporadic. Discussions have been lively. Unfortunately not all coaches attend. Progression appears to have been a theme throughout the year. In view of Health and Safety, Food Hygiene and Welfare policies dogs were no longer allowed in the clubhouse. Guide dogs by prior arrangement. This also applied to the track arena. Health and Safety rules need enforcing on the track and athletes should be supervised when they leave the track to go to the clubhouse. Health and Safety polite notice requesting parents/carers and spectators stay behind the metre high fence surrounding the track.

Mike Coogan M45 200M Masters world champion and a member of the winning sprint relay team at the Indoor World Masters. He finished 2018 and 2019 season ranked fastest in the world over 200m. Well done!!! Once again we hosted Target/Sprint. Committee agreed booking of track for drone training. Initial concerns were unfounded. Beth McManus completed coast to coast run West to East in the North of England. Francis Day and Angela Oldham represented England in May. We hosted two Cheshire League, a YDL and a Northern League meeting. Thanks to everyone who was involved. Particular thanks to our Team Managers. Cheshire League team finished 7th overall, YDL Upper M60 Nomads and YDL Lower were 7th and Northern League were 3rd. We allowed Oldham to use our track and clubhouse for a Northern League and a YDL Lower meeting. We held a Masters 5000m on the track. This went well. Thanks to Saul Gallagher. Once again Martin McGann and his team organised a successful Black Knight Charge. Thanks to all. The race went well with a near maximum number of athletes. Several members were nominated for Tameside Sports Awards as well as the club itself. I came third Unsung Hero. The Track and Field Presentation went well. Thank you to all who helped. Coaches nominated winners then discussed the proposals to decide the winners. The choice is coaches not committee. A new trophy for Vet male and Vet female athlete of the year in track and field was agreed. All year we have been carrying a waiting list. The numbers have fluctuated from over a hundred to less than a hundred. Young Leaders have helped reduce the list and movement across the training groups has freed up space. It is something that is being worked on. U-8’s on the waiting list had the chance to train at Active Tameside athletic sessions at Oxford Park on Mondays.

Committee fully discussed two main financial items: cost of booking track and EA levy. There was general agreement on track booking fee being £70per hr., £53per hr. for schools’ in Tameside (25% discount) and £35per hr. for Active Tameside, Sport Shoot and Masters/Vet events (50% discount) to encourage growth or promote our links. The booking fee for the clubroom to be £50per hr. Slimming World have agreed to this. Their regular income is very welcome. We are open to negotiating with bodies who may have legitimate reasons for a larger discount.

Some members felt collection of the EA Levy was costing the club. They thought athletes should have the responsibility of paying EA direct. Secretary and Treasurer stated it was an in-out payment that had no impact on the accounts. Committee felt change would be a nightmare to implement and have many disadvantages. We have developed a workable system with one manic period in April. Any loopholes are immediately closed. On membership we dropped EA fee payment to Year 5 to ease confusion at Year 6. New Year 5’s joining Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. don’t pay EA fee until renewing in January when they pay the April fee. They won’t get an EA number until the Portal opens in April but they can still compete as u-11yrs. All other categories will pay EA fee up to April and pay the EA fee for the year from April 1st. New members that are Year 6 and above joining January to March, that intend to compete, pay double EA fee for January to March and April to March the following year.

Committee can agree an increase in club membership fees up to inflation rate. With the fluidity of the AGM and collection of membership of fees a proposal to increase above inflation would be a problem to implement immediately. Members proposed an addition to the Club Constitution and Rules whereby the AGM agreed an increase above inflation if proposed, seconded and passed for the following years AGM.

Phill Pearson had the offer of wooden tables and chairs from Hyde Cricket Club for free. More up to date and looked better. Ours were starting to show their age. Committee agreed if Phill was happy when he saw them up close. They have had a mixed response. They will do for now until we can save money. We have kept green chairs and rectangular tables. We have given blue chairs to the Neighbourhood Centre.

Coach travel cost is once again a discussion point with varied opinions on how much to charge if anything, to collect all before or collect a deposit followed by the remaining amount and who goes on. Some seem to think £5 is a maximum that should be charged no matter how far they are going. In most cases it is way below the actual cost. We need to have an idea how many will use the coach. The size of teams varies in each league as do the age groups. The formula is simple: Get a quote and divide the cost by the number of seats. This gives a basic cost. The club have varied its support due to problems encountered with the numbers who actually use the coach coupled with the proposed cost per person. The club support agreed has varied from 25% to 50% but in some cases due to lack of numbers this has been over 50%. This is unsustainable. An unreturnable deposit needs to be collected to try and stop athletes who put their name down and don’t turn up. Next would be those  officiating followed by parents if there is room. Usually the coach is cheaper than using a car.

First Aid training by Tony McGuinness was enjoyed by all. We have joined Tameside Sport and Physical Activity Network. The Christmas Party was changed to a Fun Run on the track with prizes for best dressed and winners followed by a buffet in the clubhouse. We also did the annual trophy presentation. James Fairfield got the club place at the London Marathon.

Next on the agenda is getting our Trackmark recognition sorted. This is the new inspection of tracks from UKA. There are six units: 1 Track, 2 Field, 3 Ancillary, 4 Operations, 5 Floodlighting and 6 Competition. We are a Level 1 applicant that needs to be working towards by April 2020 (completed if possible) and completed by 2021. Each unit cost is £75 for a certificate. The inspection of facilities have to be done by approved inspection companies who have a charge. We need units 1 to 4. Sportlabs Ltd. have done Unit1 and Unit 2A (not the cage) at a cost of £1,680. We have mainly green, some amber and no red. The amber is a deep clean of the track and run ups and small work on mats. Next is the cage testing inspection by ROSPA which has been cancelled twice. The cost is £500 plus vat. So we are ‘working towards’. We are working on Level 3 & 4. A deep clean would remove the moss that is prevalent around the track. The cost could be high. Other future plans are: clubhouse roof, repairing damaged ceiling in gym and meeting room, LED lighting in the clubroom, internal decorating and long jump cover.

We have been given more than our usual home track and field meetings. This is good but I worry that we do not have a large pool of qualified officials. We have lost an important volunteer in Phill. We need more qualified officials and particularly a Level 2 Field judge. We do well usually with volunteers on the day. I have mentioned this in several of my reports. Details of coaching/officials courses are updated regularly on the noticeboard. Registration and payment is online. The club will pay with the proviso they use their skills for the club. We still need a computer buff who can do results using the relevant programme.

Our core of helpers is dwindling and getting older. We do not appear to have a group coming up with the club ethos and natural dedication as a lot of our older long standing members have and still show. Sue Hudak doesn’t wish to continue on Committee or be the Club Welfare Officer due to health reasons. I thank her on your behalf for all the hard work she has put in fulfilling these posts on your behalf. Please think of someone who could be our Welfare Officer. It is not a committee post. I would also like to thank, on your behalf, Mick Rooke who has completed his two year stint as Membership Secretary and is unable to continue. I thank him for his diligence and work with Joanne on behalf of the club members. I wish him well. This post is open to a volunteer member for 2yrs. It is not a committee post.

 

The biggest shock of the year was the loss of Phill Pearson. I had known him since he joined the club. He was one of my sounding boards. I could rely on a sensible thoughtful answer. He would always listen and never showed his annoyance in an aggressive way. He chose his words and still got the message over. His athletic prowess was the Duathlon and Triathlon where he reached a high level of performance. He wrote a book on athletic injuries and what to do which many of you have got. He was an accomplished musician musician and played in a band  that he brought to the club for a social evening. Folk music was his main genre although he liked all forms. He was always available. He would do anything for the club: paint, lay tiles, DIY, officiate, put out and bring back equipment, announce, do notices, frame certificates, work out membership fees, compile our policies, lock up and many more. Phill is around you in the form of notices. His one constant number one love was Christine. Our thoughts and condolences go out to her at this sad time. I will definitely miss him. We have lost a true clubman and a lovely man.

Thank you for reading this. I wish everyone the best of luck in 2020.

J. Murphy (Secretary).