Chair’s Report for 2021 Annual General Meeting

What a strange year this has been. Looking back at last year’s report, there is no mention of Covid-19. Our minds were on Harry Gration and the finishing touches to the refurbishment of the hall, we were looking forward to a plethora of forthcoming events! Little did we know what was to come.

Outdoor activities were seriously curtailed; cricket and football, led by Harry Collins and Rob Joy respectively, managed only a fraction of their usual play, and even tennis with Andy Corfield in charge this year, found themselves restricted, but did manage to upgrade their floodlights. But for a while we did have a popular bootcamp on the field, and there is hope for its return, plus outdoor Zumba.

Indoor activities were hit even harder. We lost Alison Walker’s Pilates after the first lockdown, but have recruited Yvonne from body-motion with a mixture of widely spaced lessons in the hall, and Zoom, depending on government regulations. Sophie Brooke (Feathersteps) managed a few private lessons when permitted, but Hayley Patrick-Copeland (Evolution) and Neil Blakeway (Karate) have largely been unable to operate, and the short mat bowlers abandoned all hope! Louise Jay (Zumba) has made a start here, but the Youth club has hibernated, although there are moves from the Parish Council to recruit a new Youth Leader for the future when operations resume. Allsortz and Kaleidoscope have largely desisted too, we hope all previous activities will be able to get back underway soon.

Throughout and in a very hit and miss manner, our loyal employees and friends Paul White and Michelle Young have continued to keep the building ticking over, so that the task of re-opening, when it comes, will not be too daunting or unnecessarily expensive. Sheila Suddaby and Shirley Moore have preserved the high kitchen standards. We are now fully Covid-ready with twelve sanitisers installed, thanks to Barry Carpus and David Southworth, the bar has sneeze-guards, and we can take orders and payment at the table if required.

One really encouraging sign is that The Treehouse Nursery came to Bubwith, to provide a comprehensive service for our little ones and their parents, occupying the upstairs floor. It has been a difficult first year for them, getting established in a pandemic, but the signs are improving for the future. The evenings would have normally seen a series of occupiers upstairs for smaller classes, meetings etc, but social distancing put paid to that.

The committee did introduce some improvements upstairs, with revision of space to make a safer area for Treehouse and create a secure storage for Allsortz. Redecorations and introduction of an air conditioning/heating unit brought it up to standard, bearing in mind our ambitions to Raise the Roof, introduce windows and a lift. This project, referred to as Phase 2, has had to be set aside as all capital spending from the grant awarding bodies has been diverted to helping mitigate the effects of Covid.

We did take note, however, of the need to consult the community in advance of any further grant applications, and to this end in July and August we conducted an on-line survey enabled by officers of ERYC. Our only major success in seeking funds had been to gain support of Sport England to the sum of £50,000 towards Phase 2. In addition, they engaged on our behalf the services of Kelly Gordon, a consultant, who helped us plan and interpret The Survey.

Not wishing to waste the time in lockdown, we set about upgrading what we could afford to do downstairs. Our ladies and gents’ toilets were thirty years old and looked it, so with the help of funds from Garfield Weston, ERYC commuted sum, and Bernard Sunley, we raised the money to pay for full refurbishment done by Jonny Hart and his company from Hull. Thanks to Barry Carpus and Steve Young for the fund-raising, and Barry for project-managing the job. We think they have the “wow” factor, the new toilets that is.

Harts also replaced the toilets in the changing rooms and re-fitted the showers, but the rest was a decorative do-it-yourself job, so thanks to all participants, including Lizanne and David Southworth, Shaun Thompson, and Maurice and Linda Downey. It kept us busy, but the main decorating jobs, upstairs and downstairs, we left to the professional services of Richard Madge, so we have now covered the majority of the dark green paintwork which had become dated and depressing.

Back to that Survey then; although it did provide support for our upstairs plans, it also highlighted the lack of outside interest on the field. It has long been an ambition to move the children’s playground away from the drive, and somehow gain some more car parking space. To gain land at the north end of the field we had already abandoned the northern third of the “square” and now plan to extend it southwards, giving scope to extend the terrace into a better sitting area for spectators, and maybe introduce a café culture during the day in the future.

Walking running and cycling were the demands, and Zoom discussions and a visit by Kelly brought us to the ideas of a perimeter track around the cricket and football pitches, plus a cycling area with pump track and proficiency area at the south end of the field. As these are all healthy outdoor activities, we felt that there is a better chance of raising the funds, and to this end Steve and myself have been hard at the grant applications. Huge thanks to Lizanne for major input to the design, and to David for putting it on paper and to Geoff Cunningham; we would struggle without his expert guidance for refinements to the plans and for liaising with the planning department at ERYC. Harry Collins and Mike Suddaby have worked through measurements and added valuable opinion.

So now we are waiting, both for news of our grant applications, and for permission to re-open. To that end Maurice and Paul have been beavering away to make new arrangements for the bar supplies, and have signed us up with H B Clark of Hull as wholesalers. They already supply The White Swan in the village so we aim to streamline services to enable convenient deliveries of goods when needed. Keeping the bar hardware in good condition has been undertaken by Paul, and the rest of the building has been maintained by Barry, including a regime of fire checks since a major upgrade of our fire protection system also installed this year. We even managed to divert a downpipe into a drain rather than over the terrace!

Funds have been closely monitored by Steve, who has incorporated government funding with small grant sums to keep the ship afloat. His report may well show that, despite all this expenditure, we have a little more in hand at the end of the year than the start. We have, through Lizanne and Cathi Poole respectively, managed to improve our website and Facebook publicity, enhanced by a 360- degree tour of the premises courtesy of Darryl Brooks photography.

With many thanks we say goodbye as trustees to Carol Hall and Becki Farrow, in both cases due to family commitments, and we are delighted that they still wish to help as volunteers when time allows. We are indebted to Bubwith Parish Council, and East Riding Council for their continued support. We couldn’t do any of this without the support and assistance of our families, for which we are very grateful.

We also look forward to the premises opening again, we already have a number of enquiries from potential new class teachers, and from hirers wishing to hold celebrations and functions. We are exploring our potential to hold better parties, including weddings. New ideas include drama, particularly with children in mind, sounds exciting. Onwards and upwards.


Richard Moore.                                                                                                                            18th March 2021