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2017 Annual Awards - Club of the Year Awards Part 3

We continue to take a look at our finalists for the Club of the Year Awards in preparation for the 2017 Annual Awards that will take place on 25th November, 6.30pm at JetPark in Auckland.

The District Winners for the Club of the Year Awards are as follow:

  • Northland - Whangarei Squash Club
  • Auckland - North Shore Squash Club
  • Waikato - Awards Night Not Happened
  • Bay of Plenty - Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre
  • Central - Awards Night Not Happened
  • Wellington - Tawa Squash Club
  • Canterbury - Malvern Squash Club
  • Midlands - Temuka Squash Club
  • Southland - Makarewa Squash Club

Winners from each of the 11 regional District Associations are put forward as contenders for the coveted National Award, which is aligned with the Squash New Zealand Strategic Plan: 'Squash on the Move'.

When deciding a judging panel considers the contribution to and achievements in the following objectives:

  • Participation Growth - increasing the number of people playing and participating in community squash
  • International Success - club members achieving success at significant regional / national events
  • Welcoming Facilities - improving the condition, accessibility and utilisation of club spaces and places
  • Financial Health - governing and managing the club to provide financial sustainability
  • Unified Delivery - working with the District and Squash New Zealand to deliver squash in the community

Our third finalist for Club of the Year is Malvern Squash Club. The clubs nomination reads in 2017 the Malvern Squash Club has made a big push to increase the profile of the club in the Malvern and Selwyn Districts. We have achieved this through social media, local newspapers, school programs and word of mouth. So far in 2017, we have already doubled our female membership and welcomed a further 3 new members. We have up to 25 juniors regularly turning up for our junior program and we see new faces all the time coming along to club night on Wednesday evenings.

We introduced a 'Pennant' style in-house competition on Thursday evenings. This proved very successful, with some of our members choosing this as an alternative or addition to inter-club. These regular organised matches meant members have not needed to travel, given we are a rural club and this was appealing to up to 25 members, almost half of our total membership!

Earlier in the year, we hosted the kiwi sport initiative with the Selwyn Sports Trust which saw dozens of primary school students playing on our courts for several weeks, with a few of our members giving up their afternoons to introduce them to our sport.

Sunday mornings Chris Van Der Salm has continued to coach our more advanced juniors and they have made leaps and bounds this year all improving their gradings by at least 2 grades. Their introduction to tournaments this year is exciting to see and we hope they continue to do so for a very long time.

In June this year, we held an exhibition evening with NZ #1 and World #9 Paul Coll. This was open to the community and we had a really strong turn out. Paul played 3/4 court against the juniors, then played a best of three with several lucky members before playing four sets against Chris Van Der Salm to finish off. This was a hugely successful night with Seven Sharp making a fantastic interview for Paul, from the evening, which aired on TV to the whole country. The exposure this gave our sport and club in the district and across the whole country was incredibly valuable. Our members got a rare chance to learn what makes Paul tick and what it takes to make it on the world scale.

2017 also saw the birth of our Ladies Night on Friday nights. Viki Mclymont took the initiative to increase the number of women playing squash in our district and has done an incredible job - we have doubled our female members. Again this is a great way to open our doors for women who have never played before.

The introduction of a ladder or challenge board is under way. We envisage this to encourage our members to challenge each other to a competitive game for a spot on the ladder.

A lot of what we have done this year may not sound difficult or like much at all but going from a club that had declining membership and none of these things in place over the last few years, it is a big deal for us. Our club now has a great and positive atmosphere to it which is going from strength to strength, thanks to a group of people - not one or two individuals.

The club has contribute to international success through Peter Bond competing in the World Masters Games in Auckland this year. This event has been said to be the best games yet and it is great to know that our club was represented at this enormous event. Several of our members play a number of the masters tournaments around Canterbury. Our juniors are well represented in the D and Below Series in Christchurch and some have picked up wins in their divisions. Chris van der Salm is the NZ U23, Canterbury and South Island champion. The Malvern Squash Club was awarded the trophy for most successful club in the Christchurch Inter-club competition at the awards night last year. This is a true testament to all our members who played as they were competing and winning more interclub matches than any other club in the competition.

With an improving profile in the district we realised it is very important to improve our facilities and make sure our club is warm, inviting and modern. This year we have relined the walls and put insulation in the walls around our courts. Darfield is a very cold place during the winter and already we have noticed a huge difference in the temperature on court. This is only the beginning for our club as we have already started the process to put a new ceiling and insulation in the roof. Next weekend we are holding our second working bee to paint these walls so as to make way for advertising space.

We have an extensive plan in place which will see new heating and a modernised lounge too. Our club has been struggling in previous years with one person taking the role of president, secretary and treasurer, with only a couple of other members helping him. This year has seen us reassign the roles of president and secretary, giving our treasurer more time to focus on the 'books'. We are in a good position financially. Our income covers our bills and we have a small fortune put away. As a club, we have looked at new ways to increase our income. Increasing our membership is the most obvious way, however, we have also sold advertising on our walls to local businesses. These spots are not currently occupied as we hope to get all the space sold and used by 1st October, with a number of businesses already saying the want that space.

2017 has seen a number of new faces on the committee. We now have a strong committee to govern our club and with good delegation we approach each task with a 'many hands make light work' attitude. I am sure this is going to see these good things continue.

As an affiliated club of both Squash Canterbury and Squash NZ, we a forever reporting back to them with everything that we do. This year we have worked with Squash Canterbury and the Rata Foundation to provide new equipment and coaching hours to our club. The Rata Foundation very generously allocated our club $1500. $1000 was spent on new training equipment which our juniors have made great use of. This equipment included things like rackets, goggles, skipping ropes, ladders, cones, targets, balls and more. $500 has also been allocated for coaching which has covered or subsidised the costs of coaching for many of our juniors.

The kiwi sport initiative through Selwyn Sports Trust was initially made to us through Squash Canterbury. This is a great example of the relationship we have with Squash Canterbury and how we are working together to increase our participation and service to the community.

Squash NZ are always offering advise for membership growth, retaining members and much more for our clubs. This advice is readily appearing on their website and we take everything on board and use what we think is relevant.

Our fourth club of the year is the Tawa Squash Club. The Tawa Squash Clubs nomination reads as follows.

- Engagement with the community (e.g. other clubs, schools, partners)

  • We continued with a Tornadoes joint junior programme with Mana Squash Club. 8 sessions each term with 24 junior participants from Tawa. Courts are made available from 3:40 to 5:40 every Monday for this programme.
  • We ran a “squash in schools” programme for St Francis Xavier School (150 kids for 6 sessions) and Redwood School (125 kids for 4 sessions) at no cost to Squash WN, Squash NZ, or the schools. The results have been outstanding with an average of 60 kids at club night for the 3 weeks following.
  • We organised three away trips this year for members to meet and mingle with those at clubs outside our region supporting the Te Puke Masters, Kaikoura Masters, and Dannevirke Open.
  • We allow Tawa College to use two of our three our courts at no charge on a Wednesday afternoon from 3:40 – 5pm under the supervision of a teacher, an ex Squash player. This group has grown from 6 to 16 this year with new people introduced to squash on a regular basis. From this a Tawa College boys and girls team went to the secondary schools nationals this year in Palmerston North with the boys coming 13th from 32 teams and the girls 14th out of 19 teams.
  • We actively encourage other clubs to participate in our leagues and allow them to play league games at Tawa at no cost. We also market to non club members to enter the leagues at only $5 per league game (visitor fees are usually $10).
  • We were successful in obtaining funds for vandal proof security sensor lights in our neighbouring schools carpark, a token of our appreciation for being allowed to use the car park after school hours.

- Coach development processes in place

  • Mita Squash has an active presence at Tawa coaching seniors, juniors and coaches.
  • We hosted a Squash Wellington coaching development course and supplied 10 participants. Nick Mita also ran independent courses to coach our coaches.
  • We utilise our top 6 juniors as coaches at Junior Club night.
  • We upskilled and utilised Kelly Sports to deliver our Squash in Schools programme.
  • We developed a training device to allow beginners to hit a suspended stationary squash ball. This allows easier learning of the very basics of the body and racket position required for forehand and backhand. The Small Nix participants get a real thrill out of using it.

- Programmes offered for different participant groups

  • Our Mums N Bubs continued every Thursday - included a new sponsor, The Borough bar & Café. We now provide a weekly draw for a free coffee for 2 and at the end of each month a $50 meal voucher draw for all those who have been active over the month. There are now 70 ladies on our distribution list who have previously attended Mums N Bubs and we regularly get 10-15% of them coming at any one session.
  • We run monthly leagues with 4 or 5 in each league. This is most popular with lower graded players and have 40-60 involved in any one month.
  • We hosted and promoted the Mita Squash Summer Fitness programme from November to March. It is Nick Mita’s version of Squash Fit and provides off season fitness which is hugely popular and successful.
  • We run a small nix programme (5-8 year olds) on Friday afternoon from 5-5:30 to integrate with our main Junior night. The small nix group has now grown to over 12. Once they reach a suitable level they can then migrate easily into the next junior level which is run concurrently but extends until 7pm.

- A range of female and male (junior / senior) membership options available

  • We maintained our variety of membership options including Senior, Couple, Family, Mid Week, Pay to Play, Tertiary, Junior, and Senior/Junior.
  • Subscriptions can be paid up front or by the more popular method of monthly, fortnightly or weekly automatic payments easily managed with the use of the Xero accounting package.

- Retention and growth of overall membership

  • Tawa has been the largest Club by membership in the Wellington District (over 300 members) now for the past 12 years and therefore the largest single contributor to affiliation fees of any Wellington Regional club to Squash New Zealand and Squash Wellington.
  • This year saw a 7% growth in senior members and a 5% growth in Junior members.
  • Growth however has plateaued due to lack of court capacity. As a consequence, we have selected a working group to investigate adding a 4th court.
  • We introduced a membership offer as a Xmas gift - half price summer memberships, 25% off Mums N Bubs 10 trip tickets and 20% of RRP in Pro Shop

- Website and social media used to create engaging online presence

  • We updated our website to a new platform.
  • We enhanced our facebook presence and now have a willing volunteer updating regularly including video clips.
  • We send out a regular newsletter – at least once a month with results and happenings and also welcoming new members, thanking voluntary assistance, and acknowledging outstanding performance. This is posted on our website and facebook page.

- Regional / National results and improvements of players / teams

  • Our most recognised member, Evan Williams, continues to represent New Zealand on the international stage and will be representing NZ in the Men’s team at the upcoming Word Men's Team Champs in France. Although on The Thorndon Squash Club’s grading list, Evan progressed as a junior through Tawa, has been club champion for 12 consecutive years, and has an honorary membership.
  • Our D grade men and E grade men won their respective regional Superchamps competitions and had successful National Tournaments:
    • D Grade 3rd
    • E Grade1st – our first Men’s team to win nationals since 1980 in any grade.
  • We have one boy and one girl in the Wellington Junior Rep team (plus the non-playing female reserve) which comprised 4 boys and 4 girls.
  • We were represented nationally by Ian Richardson at the National E Grade Champion of Champions.

- Evidence of hosting successful events

  • We hosted the Wellington Masters and had a full complement of 94 – all 11 x 8 and 1 x 6 draws.
  • This is our signature event and we provided free food throughout the tournament, a live band for entertainment on the Saturday night, and prizes in line with Squash Wellingtons guidelines.
  • We were the principal host of the National Nga Hau E Wha tournament in October 2016 – another outstanding event with over 150 entrants.
  • We hosted the D grade regional superchamp competition with outstanding success.
  • We hosted the regional Champion of Champions on behalf of Squash Wellington.
  • Our club champs had over 50 entries followed by prize giving, a sit down meal for 70 in the club lounge with a guest speaker – an ex All Black and ex Tawa Junior. This was a great club night. Life members and partners were invited free.
  • We used Tournament Control Software from dtk in Kapiti for all of our tournaments. This replaces the need for a whiteboard to show the sequence of games being played and also allows participants to check from home if things are running to time.

- Attendance rates at other events

  • Tawa Open – huge complement of 110 for a 3 court complex – plus 10 were balloted out (from E grade down)
  • Tawa B Grade – full complement of 94 – J graders balloted out
  • We ran our 10th annual Social Xmas Ham & Turkey Tournament – we had to limit numbers to 112
  • We drove interclub participation with 8 mens teams in the winter (up from 6 the year before). Having only 3 courts, this created a congested evening at the Tawa Club with 4 separate contests each Tuesday night.
  • We had 30 teams participate in the interclub series during 2017 winning 6 divisions in Autumn, 2 in winter and 1 in spring.

- Facility upgrades and maintenance completed

In line with plans made at the start of the year:

  • We installed 2 more heat pumps in the gallery and connected with the existing one to a common controller coming on for 3 hours each day at 6am and 4pm. We are now the warmest and one of the driest clubs in Wellington.
  • We patched and painted all three of our front walls.
  • We were successful in obtaining funds for a new front door and entranceway which has been ordered and will be installed shortly.
  • We were successful in obtaining funds for a kitchen upgrade which is currently being done.
  • We added a roof to our 40 square meter outdoor deck making it usable in all weather
  • We replaced the carpet on our stairs.
  • We replaced our aging stove with a new one.
  • We painted our gallery and bar ceilings to cover water stains from leaks prior to our $50,000 reroof 2 years ago.
  • We installed a new water fountain adjacent to the courts.
  • We had all carpets professionally cleaned at the start of the year.
  • We installed speakers in the court gallery and connected to our amplifier so we can pipe music when appropriate, especially during social tournaments.
  • We have installed a trial digital scoring system on one court with an ipad and a screen with the intention of having it on all courts next year.
  • We changed our booking system to Booking Pro giving more flexibility and visibility for members and administrators. This can be accessed from mobile phones.
  • The Club ensures it is lounge and Bar/Kitchen Facilities are open and manned 5 nights a week and weekend afternoons to ensure we enable the members to socialise. This includes ensuring functions are promoted around key events. Additional entertainment last year included:
    • A Texas Holdem Poker night
    • A cabaret evening
    • A ladies movie evening
    • Several rugby evenings
  • We made eyewear available for loan to anyone at anytime while playing squash.

- Volunteer management strategies in place (to find, develop and keep)

  • We are fortunate to have a willing band of volunteers to assist with running tournaments (tournament control, bar and kitchen) resulting in all our tournaments being particularly well run.
  • We also have many additional volunteers to assist with working bees and maintenance.
  • A group of 8 parents volunteer their time to run junior Club Nights and Junior events. This includes supervision, co-ordination and coaching.
  • A call went to club members to provide food for the Wellington Masters Tournament and the response was outstanding allowing us to provide food free of charge all weekend for players and spectators alike.
  • Two working bees were advertised during the year resulting in over 20 helpers attending.
  • Regular newsletters acknowledge volunteer efforts under “Thanks a Million” heading.

- New member management processes

  • All new members are invited to club night, and to participate in our leagues and summer fun tournaments.
  • Memberships are processed on the same day as the request is received and an induction session is provided.
  • Coaching is also offered and a buddy is aligned to a new member if there is a requirement.

- Club promotion and signage

  • Our courts are fully sponsored with fresh signage on all tins and top front walls.
  • Our two court clocks are surrounded by other sponsors signs.
  • Our external front wall has the Squash NZ slogan painted on it Play Squash, Have Fun, Keep Fit.
  • Advertising signage on our street facing wall promotes club hireage, membership offers, Mums N Bubs and other events or opportunities if appropriate. These signs are changed regularly.
  • These coreflute signs are provided at no cost by one of our sponsors.

- Club / business plan used

  • Our club’s strategic plan was created several years ago and has been revisited this year and updated. From this our annual business plan has been derived. This is used as a strong guide and has worked well – our annual performance was within 5% of what we budgeted.

- Financial sustainability / viability achieved

  • From our draft annual accounts, we appear to have achieved a cash surplus of just over $18,000 (this excluding depreciation of ($11,665).
  • By sticking to a tight budget, and maximising opportunities, we have been successful with revenue streams from membership, bar, sponsorship and fundraising. This includes paying a full time manager – the only squash club in Wellington to do so.
  • Volunteers were used to do a significant amount of the years’ work saving tradesmen’s wages including:
    • digging the holes for the deck roof, carting up the cement mix and concreting the posts in,
    • painting the deck roof structure
    • filling and painting the front walls of all 3 courts,
    • painting the bar ceiling.
  • We participated in the Entertainment Book scheme selling 20 books earning $300.
  • We maintained our building levy which is approximately 15% on top of our subscriptions. This contributed over $7000 during the year towards new building work (ie not maintenance).
  • We continue to use the Xero accounting package and provide meaningful monthly reporting to the committee which highlights money in the bank, money earmarked for projects or liabilities, and money available to utilise.
  • We continue to provide a pro shop running at a profit
  • Our modernised facilities has led to the club being sought after for hireage and is providing another source of income.
  • A development grant of over $7000 was received and used mainly on junior development – the Tornadoes Tawa/Mana joint programme and the Squash in Schools programme.

- Sound leadership (role descriptions, robust governance practices)

  • We have had a strong and respected president working closely with the Club Manager for the last 3 years. With his departure to the Wairarapa an interim president was selected by the committee, namely Bryan Smith, who has a background in project management.
  • This skill set fits nicely with what we are looking to achieve.
  • There are 15 job descriptions ranging from Club Manager right through to League Manager. Most of these descriptions are for roles that don’t require the owner to be on the committee.

- Commercial sponsorship relationships

  • We brought on board 2 new sponsors and maintained our existing 6.
  • We provided a $2,000 budget for rep teams and players to apply for. This budget was created from proceeds of interclub and tournaments.
  • We ran a quiz night to raise funds for Kaikoura Squash who have an excess to pay of $25,000 for earthquake damage repairs. We raised over $1700 and one of our members presented the cheque to Kaikoura at their Masters tournament in September.

- Alignment and collaboration with regional / national bodies

  • We assisted Squash Wellington with a regional micro court initiative at North City Plaza and provided volunteers for 8 hours to help man the court over the weekend.
  • We ran “squash in schools” programmes utilising Kelly Sport as a trial for delivery, an initiative promoted to Squash Wellington and Squash New Zealand previously. The results have been outstanding with an average of 60 kids at club night for the 3 weeks following.
  • We hosted a Club Captains meeting for Squash Wellington.
  • We participated in the Squash Wellington Treat Me initiative which has provided an additional 30 members over the last 5 years.
  • We had four club members attend the SNZ roadshow at Mana Squash Club
  • We purchased 6 racketball rackets and balls and have made them free to borrow. We also introduced an element of racket ball into our in house Summer Fun Competition

- Use of iSquash for operations / reporting

  • We have a computer connected at the bar for teams, both home and visitors, to enter results immediately after events.
  • We entered all results into iSquash from tournaments as the tournament progressed.
  • All our members, graded and non graded, are entered into iSquash.

Congratulations to Malvern and Tawa Squash Clubs on being finalists in Club of the Year.


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