Chairman’s Report for the AGM, March 2014

COLCHESTER CONSERVATIVE CLUB Report for year ending December 2013
As we head to our AGM, in March 2014, it would be great to be able to report that our financial position has improved. However, that sadly is not the case and our outgoings continue to exceed income. We certainly have had several excellent events and weekends but these are outweighed by most weekday evenings, doing little business and still paying running costs and staff wages. To this end, the Committee went to London to ACC head office last year to meet with their senior officials to take advice and find a way forward. They were very supportive and have given us a loan to enable us to continue to trade for the foreseeable future. They took the opportunity to look into our practices, including a thorough look at our financial systems, methods and spending. They were very impressed with the way our treasurer manages our finances. Thank you Colin. They did however, point out what we already knew, that our staff wage bill was far too high. Many of you will recall that we had Colin Frost as a temporary Steward and Josh as a Cellar man. However, the Committee decided that the only economic way to go was for us to run and manage things ourselves. This is very hard work, especially for our Secretary who has to deal with the tills and takings every single day. Many thanks for all your hard work Tony. Similarly, Colin Amos does all the staffing rotas and my thanks go to him. Steve Boddice is working with us again and undertaking many specialist tasks such as ordering alcohol, cleaning pipes and maintaining the cellar. Lots goes on “behind the scenes” which members may not be aware of.
We do however, continue to have some very successful events. Debbie’s monthly Sunday lunches are a great success and recently she and Linda have started doing food when we have Saturday night entertainment….curries, sausage and mash to name but a few. The recent Valentines night was very well attended.
We are always pleased to hear member’s views and a few of you have written to us with suggestions about the premises. We would love to be able to look at premises which would be more economical to run but would not consider moving too far out from the town centre. As yet, nothing has come to our attention. Similarly, a few members have suggested we rent out the flat. There are a number of problems with this idea, mainly cost related. Firstly, we would need a solicitor to draw up a leasing agreement which is a very expensive transaction. Secondly, we would need to spend quite a lot on refurbishment such as making a separate entrance as the bar area has to be alarmed. It would take us a long time to recuperate the outgoings in rent.

Alan Sims has been doing a brilliant job in booking a range of entertainers and we have had some great Saturday nights including New Years Eve. Thanks Alan for all your hard work. We have held a lot of the events downstairs which helps us avoid visits from the Environmental Health Department of the local council with noise complaints.
Thanks again to Mick Munson for organising a successful trip to Newmarket races back in August. I know he has booked again for this year but with a different coach firm!
Many members enjoyed the art exhibition which John Morgan organised, raising some money for charity as well as adding interest and colour to our walls. Thanks John for all your help.
Bingo nights, Quiz nights and Music quizzes, QPR Fish Club and Meat raffle Sundays are all going very well and bringing members into the club. Thanks to Alan and Angie for all your hard work with the quizzes, to our regular bingo callers Sue and Colin, to Paul, Mick, Roy and Alan for the fish Sundays and Alan for the meat raffle.
Our darts teams continue to do well and the ladies won the league last year. Well done.
We still have a number of groups who regularly use our premises……The Buffs, two groups of blind and partially sighted folks, a naval association and Men’s supper club. We would welcome other users if members know of groups who may be interested.
The Committee’s heartfelt thanks go to our small but hardworking staff team. We appreciate all they do and again, a lot of extra work goes on behind the scenes.
Again a trickle of new members are joining each month and our advertising board outside has brought some enquiries.
We look forward to seeing you all at the AGM.

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