Hello, and welcome to what will be a regular monthly update from your Chairman, which I hope everybody will find informative.
It's probably best not to harp on about the current environment. Suffice it to say, I hope that all of our members have found a way through the pandemic, and that we all are starting to concentrate on the good things in life - sun (I'm sure it's coming), sand and bridge.
Online and Face-to Face.
I wanted to let everyone know what we as a County are doing to adapt to the new world. All is not doom and gloom - there have been some terrific successes for online clubs during the pandemic. Although fewer people have been playing the game, those who have are actually playing more often than they did before! I know that there is a core of players who can't wait to get back to the green baize, but one thing is certain - online bridge is here to stay. I was pleased to see several clubs have announced a reopening schedule; one (Crowborough) already seems to be playing! I hope the wealth of options that we have to play will be taken up by everyone as they become available. Your clubs need you as much as you need them!
With that in mind, we are reviewing the future of our competitions, and we are hoping to make the best of both worlds. Next season (I count a "season" as starting sometime around September) you'll see us offering a mix of online and face-to-face bridge in our regular events. We are considering restructuring some competitions to be a hybrid of live and online, so members can choose how they'd like to enter. I'll give more details as they emerge, in this Chairman's Corner series.
Growing the Community.
We know that this has been a difficult time to get new players into the game, although several teachers across Sussex have been running successful online sessions through the past year. Our two online events for less experienced players were very well-attended last year, so there is hope! We are looking at approaches made by other Counties to grow the bridge-playing community, and considering whether they can be adapted for Sussex. We are also once again sponsoring the Junior Bridge Camp later in the year, where we'll be enticing younger players into the game. More to follow on all this.
We've also come to the conclusion that, in these dynamic times, the idea of a paper Yearbook has rather run its course. It's expensive to produce, and it quickly becomes outdated. The website is, and always will be, the place to go for up-to-date details on club contacts and where / when heats of competitions are going to be held. From now on, information will be available on the website, and we are looking to produce printable elements for those who like to have a paper copy of addresses and contact lists. I'd also like to encourage clubs to help us ensure that their details are up to date on the site by letting Dick Wheeler (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mervyn Wotton (email@example.com) know of any changes, as they occur.
Lastly (for now), I'd like to encourage anybody who has suggestions or feedback (or who would like to volunteer to help!) to get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0751 533 3539. We need to know what we are doing well, and where we can improve.
I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully meeting many of you in the coming months.