ATLANTIC RACQUET CENTRE
AGM – 7th December 2016
St Margaret’s School
Significant progress has been made this year toward achieving the final vision for ARC. The construction of the building envelope began late spring and will be complete early in 2017. We will then be able to start internal works to develop the sports facilities. However, this work cannot commence until funding is in place to enable us to engage with the various specialist suppliers. We estimate our current funding gap to be in the region £400,000, with a total project cost of £2.75 million. Our emphasis now is to raise these funds through the following four strands:
1. Buy a brick – Build a legacy. This is accessible through our website www.atlanticracquetcentre.co.uk The minimum donation is £100 per brick and in return supporters will have their names on our ‘buy a brick build a legacy’ wall in the new centre. It’s easy to do, simply fill out a form and enclose your donation indicating whether a gift aid claim can be made. Each gift aid donation allows us to recover an additional 25%. This is open to anyone who wishes to donate and I’m pleased to say that half the funds raised so far are from non-members.
2. Corporate sponsorship – we are currently working on opportunities to engage with local businesses in effort to gain their support in return for pre-determined packages.
3. Partnership with local authorities – we are developing our relationships with all local authorities to maximise the opportunities that are available to us. Following the publicity of the Davis Cup Trophy Tour the profile of the centre has been raised significantly with members of local authorities showing their support.
4. Grant applications to National Sports Governing Bodies and identified funders.
Clearly there remains a huge amount of work to do, the bulk of this falls to the trustees, who have worked tirelessly this year to get us where we are, I do thank them for all their efforts. We often talk about the need to increase our capabilities through the introduction of people to support the trustees. While we have had a good range of skills we are lacking in marketing abilities and clearly would benefit from any assistance with our fund-raising activities. With the number of new members joining there may well be support and skills available that we are unaware of. If anyone is interested in assisting us, please speak with me or one of the other trustees.
Apart from the obvious need to raise funds next year will see the trustees working closely with the directors of ARC Tennis and Sports Club as we begin to look forward to additional sports coming to ARC. There are details we will need to formalise such as memberships, subscriptions and community access. We will continually look to see how this centre can benefit the local communities through the promotion of sports and active lives as we look to achieve our vision which has been described in our new business plan as:
Atlantic Racquet Centre has an exciting vision: to provide a community orientated multi sports complex for recreational, sporting and leisure use with over 1000 users per week by 2020.
Use of our current facilities over the past year continues to increase. Tom’s work with the coaching programme continues to be a great success. During the summer 196 people per week were receiving coaching; even now there are 176 people a week being coached. Coaching takes places either on the
ARC courts or at schools through the excellent outreach programme. Tom has been so successful we have now employed a second coach, Patrick Wilson, to provide a consistent level of support to the programme. Patrick’s employment means that we will now be able to progress, among other things, disability tennis, this has been one of our aims for some time and will be good to progress.
2016 has seen ARC make remarkable progress which we are determined to continue into the foreseeable future – however, I imagine the question on most people’s minds is “That’s fine, but when will all this be finished?”. It is very difficult to give a definitive answer, however, the trustees objective, subject to funding, is to have the tennis hall up and running by late summer 2017 to enable the delivery of indoor tennis, badminton and table tennis by autumn 2017. While acknowledging, there is a lot of work yet to be done it does feel like we are in ‘touching distance’ to achieving what has been the dream of many people for a long time.
Having thanked the trustees for all their work and support I have, once again, to thank Andy Lobato, who is not a trustee, but continues to work on this project devoting a huge amount of his time and providing support and guidance to the trustees. Finally, I must also thank Ginette Berry, who is not a member of ARC. Ginette provides administrative support to the trustees, attending all our meeting and taking the minutes, it is no small task but one Ginette has always cheerfully undertaken.
Martin Morris - Trustee