Sussex County Contract Bridge Association
EBU Shareholders Meeting May 2018

As a Sussex EBU Shareholder I attended the EBU Shareholders Meeting at the Imperial Hotel, London in May. The meeting was rather uneventful, with nothing very contentious being raised. 

The treasurer, Jerry Cope, reported the final outcome for the 2017/18 outturn remains a little unclear as the effect of the poor March weather was awaited, also the final cost of emergency electrical work needed for the Aylesbury EBU building. However he expects to beat budget and achieve a small surplus following the rolling economy programme and the unbudgeted sales of the new law books. The income thus generated has been boosted by the agreement of the Portland Club no longer to claim royalties from these sales, as they have not been involved with Duplicate Bridge for many years. The treasurer believed that EBU finances are in a reasonably stable state, with the main risk being the ageing membership profile in a very competitive time amongst all leisure activities. 

Graham Smith reported that County Working Groups are effective in the Midlands and North West, and that the EBU staff are currently working with the dispersed geography of clubs in the South West, and will move on to other regions in due course, so in the South-East we can 'watch this space'. Their intention is to share resources and integrate county calendars etc. wherever possible, and assist in persuading non-affiliated clubs to affiliate to the EBU. It is also intended that each region should have a sponsor on the EBU board. For further information CWG minutes are published on the EBU website.

Caroline Small gave a presentation on behalf of EBED, and the slides used are available. She reported that studies carried out have shown that playing bridge definitely has a positive effect on well-being.

Ron Millet reported on the EBU Membership Campaign which has bern piloted in Yorkshire since early 2017. The background is that members playing only occasionally in 2014 constituted 28.2% of the membership, a rise from 24.7% in 2011. Some 20% of EBU members are over 75, with nearly all of them being unlikely to be active players in 10 years time. A massive amount of bridge teaching is taking place all over the country, but a recent survey indicates that only 31% of students move from classroom to regular ordinary club play. Overall we are working very hard just to stand still.

So far eight clubs have worked directly with YCBA  and results vary from one club gaining no new members to another that has increased its membership by a third. There has been shown to be a large potential for lapsed players, low level players, 'new to bridge' people and especially those who have been taught in the past but never progressed to Club play. To apply the lessons learnt a working group has been set up  and they will develop a Resource Centre to offer media templates for other areas wishing to run a Campaign. The full report is available on the EBU website but the major factor reported is that while encouraging and teaching newcomers is important, it is vital to convert as many as possible to become EBU and affiliated club members.

Under Any Other Business we were informed that the General Manager, Gordon Rainsford, has now been re-titled EBU Chief Executive. A strategic aims document, Raising Our Game - Strategic Aims 2018 - 2023, has been prepared and was been included with a recent edition of English Bridge. A new member welcome pack has been prepared and well received, and each county was given two copies - they are with our Membership Secretary, Joy Mayall and more are available if needed.

PETER J BATES, June 2018