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 Committee Minutes - 28 June 2021[[:members_only]]

 

Summary of Actions

Number Action
2.1 All committee members to execute on the action items from the detailed financial review
2.2 HH to speak to people who might 'engage positively' with the club.
4.1 Committee members to send any suggestions for potential committee members to LOC and SB 
5.1 Google Docs spreadsheet to be created so members can see which events are taking place and who is volunteering
5.2 HH to include something on volunteering in the next newsletter
5.3 SB to follow up with Malcolm French on the current position with regard to the Royal Parks and the necessary licence(s)
7.1 HH will circulate or make the relevant link to the previous webinars available on News

The committee meeting was held on Zoom. 

1. Attendees and apologies

Attendees: Lan O’Connor (LOC), Sonia Pignorel (SP), Sue Barty (SB), Marina Mok (MM), Anne Bennett (AB), Sarah Maisey (SM), Mark Smith (MS), Sid Wills (SW), Hans Ho (HH), Monica Mundo (MMU).

Apologies: Lee Tolentino (LT), Isaac Leigh (IL).

It was reported that Liz Ayres had resigned as both a committee member and club member by email dated 24 June with immediate effect. On receipt of the email committee members had sought to take steps to address the impact of the resignation. Committee members will continue to do so over the coming days and weeks. SW has kindly agreed to take over the role of Covid Coordinator, at least until 19 July. All on the committee are extremely grateful to SW for agreeing to take on this role.

2. Minutes of previous meeting(s), matters arising, outstanding actions

The minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed as approved. 

Number Action
2.1 AB and MM will liaise on offering discounted kit to Lanzarote attendees
2.2 HH will include information on discounted kit in the next newsletter
4.1 LOC and SP to liaise on outstanding actions from detailed financial review
5.1 SB and SM to liaise to find date for committee to review new website
5.2 SB to circulate any information following meeting of local running clubs
6.1 AB to send communication on Lanzarote to remind attendees to book flights and bikes 
10.1 SB to circulate proposal for London Marathon places

LOC reminded committee members that it was important that they each execute on the action items from the detailed financial review.

3. Conflict of interest report

There were no conflicts of interest reported.

4. Committee discussion

There was general discussion. LOC reported that Manish Agrawal had agreed in principle to take on the juniors role, but it will be necessary to make sure he is supported in that role, particularly as it appears there will be a very limited handover.

AB suggested that it might be possible to find volunteers to assist for specific races rather than to take over a committee role. MM agreed that members should be asked to contribute as volunteers or to join the committee. SM raised the Endurance Running role and suggested that IL and/or LT might have some contribution as to how best to find someone with the appropriate strengths and skills to fill those roles. SM also queried whether a Deputy Chair role might be useful.

HH is happy to speak to people who he thinks could be 'engaging positively' with the club. 

There was some discussion as to individuals who might be interested in joining the committee in any role. Committee members were invited to send any suggestions to SB and LOC.

SW said he is meeting a number of new members who live near to the club, a number of whom are younger members.

SM raised the importance of socialisation, particularly as the club progresses after the last 18 months with COVID-19. SW said at club runs he always makes sure people introduce themselves and encourages networking and engagement.

LOC mentioned Hamilton Huxham and Kamlesh Parmar who were interested in roles as ride and run leaders respectively.

5. Volunteers and engagement  

It was identified that it was most important for members to know what is happening. One suggestion was to have a Google Docs spreadsheet created so members could see which events were taking place and who was volunteering. There was some discussion as to how best to reach potential volunteers and how best to encourage them to volunteer. HH will include something in the next newsletter.

MM mentioned the importance of making sure we were clear as much in advance as possible as to dates, events and likely numbers of people. SB will follow up with Malcolm French on the current position with regard to the Royal Parks and the necessary licence(s).

LOC mentioned that she, MMU and SM had been considering the possibility of holding a social event after the next test event being held in Battersea Park and promoting the social event in particular to new members. Details will come out soon.   

LOC also mentioned that the swimming training had begun properly again. Anne and the tri team are confident that, provided they continue to have enough coaches, and swim training is back on a regular basis, that it will all settle back into a sensible rhythm.

6. Next committee meeting

It was agreed to have the next meeting on Monday 26 July 2021, at 8.30pm.

7. Any other business

SM showed committee members a number of pages to show how the new website would look. All at the meeting were very pleased with how it was looking and thanked again all of those who had been working so hard on the project.

LOC mentioned the series of webinars. So far there have been two webinars: the athlete Q&A event with Chrissie Wellington and the Nutrition Hydration and Performance webinar. There are a couple more planned on prehabilitation and women’s health. All agreed it was important to publicise these as much as possible. It was decided to send a link to the recording and HH will circulate or make the relevant link available on News. LOC invited committee members to put forward any other ideas. There was also discussion as to making the recordings of the webinars available to members to view.

SM said that it will be important to consider how best to showcase events – and also things like discounts – on the new website.

Committee reports

Honorary Chair

With Sonia, the club treasurer, we undertook a detailed review of financial status of the club, outlining actions to take which will improve our situation, so that the club can operate without dipping into our reserves on an annual basis. The committee discussed the review in detail and together signed off a plan which should get the club to breakeven. We are implementing those actions at the moment. A couple of examples are to have swimming self-fund (which Anne has managed to do) and to ensure that the Lanzarote training camp requires little or no club subsidy (well done Lanza 2022 team).

We still have funds available for coaching and officials training. If you would like to get some training, become an official or a coach, please get in touch with Hans or anyone on the committee to take advantage of these funds. We also have a special fund for developing juniors.

I set up two webinars for the club as a regular additional club offering. The first was a Q&A session with ex-Serpie world Ironman champion, Chrissie Wellington, hosted by Hilary Walker. The second webinar was about nutrition and hydration, hosted by Ivan Gowan, with some great advice and insights. The three companies who participated have made generous offers and discounts available for club members. See club news for a recording of the webinar and more details.

If you have ideas and suggestions for future webinars, please get in touch with the committee. We have plans for future sessions on prehab/avoiding injury, and on women’s health.

It feels like a while ago, but in the last while, I also supported the Lanza team to get up and running for 2022. The camp has been pretty popular and is almost fully subscribed. We put together a strong coaching team and are looking forward to getting going.

The new website team is progressing. I joined some of the meetings and supported as a tester for some of the initial, basic functionality. We have an outline of the new site and hope to update on progress soon. If you would like to help, for example on reviewing and updating content, or providing photos for the site, please get in touch with the committee.

A lot of my Serpentine time is spent dealing with ongoing changes, covid updates and regulations. But all in a good cause: now we are getting back to real-life racing and events we have more volunteer opportunities, in areas like race organisation, relay teams and other events, including social events – of course.

And we always need run leaders race officials. The club will fund members to get these necessary qualifications, so why not go for it?

Swim has restarted and I am thoroughly enjoying getting back to coaching at Serpentine swim sessions on Wednesdays at St Pancras. Almost feels like normal life resuming…

Honorary Treasurer

Status report since last meeting:

Work continues on the year-end accounts and auditing - waiting for kit inventory

Finally got confirmation of savings move to Clydesdale after 3 months in limbo

Junior grant (£9,200 at stake): Follow up with Pad Rec Everyone Active to get the next deadline for our delivering requirement e.g. Views, etc (14th July)

Researched options for Kit POS/e-store to give to Kit team, Tech team, Lan etc .. suggest uploading inventory to izettle for now

Opentrack/Stripe hook up for Rosenheim

Update budget forecast

Chasing refunds for old Worldpay account

Xero management

Processing of invoices, payments

Due diligence before payments

Honorary Secretary

It seems like an age ago since we last prepared these reports - and apologies to any club members who have been missing them. After COVID-19 hit us all, and we were not able to carry on our business as usual, it didn't seem so necessary or even appropriate to prepare reports. Most of the club members were not able to perform their roles, and we were all just working together as a team to try to do what we could for the club. It has truly been a difficult time. Nevertheless, as you will have realised, we did manage to carry on holding meetings. In fact, in a number of ways it has been easier to get people together for meetings without having to travel to meet in person. The club rules do allow for telephone and online meetings, but do require us to hold at least four meetings in person each year. I hope it will be possible to hold the required in-person meetings, but, when we are able to hold a general meeting with the necessary quorum, we will propose a change in the club rules to allow online meetings for all meetings where it is not possible to hold them in person.Over the last few months there has been a lot of general committee work to do. Lan and I even managed to meet together in person to talk through some of the issues. I have also attended a meeting of the local London running clubs, all of whom have of course faced similar issues to those we have faced and are facing. There are a number who also seem to be looking at further developing their websites, as we have been doing, thanks to the marvellous work of Philip Whitehouse and Owen Barder in particular, with committee support from Sarah Maisey and Lan.It has been great to see the club runs back again, and with a number of new members, and the trial races have been great to see too. Thanks particularly to Malcolm French for his work with the Royal Parks to get those going. I have enjoyed helping out with those. But we are always hoping to encourage more people to help.I am waiting to see about any applications for the fourth club London Marathon place available for 2021. It will be good to see that take place - hopefully as another sign of some return to some form of reality. (Since first writing this report, there ended up only being one application for the London Marathon, from Hans Ho – so he makes up our Serpentine Club members team running in the Marathon.)

Club kit

Kit room has been open by appointment only after the Wednesday and Saturday club runs which is dependent on volunteer availability.

Some requests have come in from overseas members so am working to assess how payment can be made.

Junior specific sized t shirts have been ordered to accommodate our growing junior section and we are looking to restock on some sizes.

Have received one request for a coach hoodie which is currently out for price confirmation.

Sourcing replacement team jackets has been a priority with little success. Would welcome assistance in sourcing appropriate suppliers.

Strategic Partnerships

Since the last meeting, I have been working with the City of Westminster to complete Serpentine's "Active Westminster Mark" documentation, getting SRC included on the list of stakeholders for the Seymour Centre / Marylebone Library renovations and on-going participation on updates with interested parties (next meeting July 13th), liaising with Everyone Active as regards timing of the resumption of our activities at the Seymour, and updating some of the out-of-date discounts and codes in the "Discounts for Members" area of the club's website.

Any queries or suggestions, please let me know.

Communications

Over the last month I've continued work on the website redevelopment. As stated in previous committee meetings much of the back end work is now complete so the bulk of the development now involves setting the design and content and linking it in back end system. I haven't got as far as I'd have liked in the past month due to work pressures, but have had several key meetings with the other developers to iron out various issues and start on the design. I plan to take a week of leave from 12th to the 18th July to focus on the project and have set aside time with Marco Viapanni and Owen Barder (who are involved in developing the front and back end respectively) that week to ensure that I can use the time productively with the intention of making significant headway.

Triathlon

Lanzarote: I have taken on a role on the Lanzarote organising team for the second year. I have taken responsibillity for preparing the trip budget and pricing, and have co-ordinated the booking process and room allocation. The trip is proving hugely popular, we currently have 78 bookings plus a further 15 expected to organise their own accommodation and join in club activities. We still have a small number of places to fill, but based on current projections are likely to virtually eliminate the club subisdy.

Swimming: Coached swim sessions were suspended along with other club activities in March 2020. Attempts to resume towards the end of 2020 were frustrated by lockdown. In June 2021 I managed the resumption of coached swimming at 2 out of 3 venues - London Bridge and St Pancras. This involved co-ordinating venues and coaches and carrying out detailed risk assessments at both venues before offering the sessions to members. We now have 28 swimmers signed up across the two venues and are running a small surplus. Huge thanks to Lan, Aga and Alex for coaching the sessions. Feedback has all been positive, members are delighted to return to more structured training in a group setting. I hope to be able to restart swimming at the Seymour later in the year, subject to availability of coaches.

Funding: I successfully appied for Triathlon England funding, which will contribute towards training new triathlon coaches and bike leaders.

Website: I have updated the Triathlon section of the website, and have engaged with the website team to define future requirements, particularly in respect of the booking process for swim sessions.

Elsewhere I have been carrying out basic activities associated with the comms role and orgnanised for the Juniors emails to be temporarily re-directed to Marina Mok (many thanks to Marina for taking this on!) following the resignation of Liz Ayres as juniors coordinator.

Participation

In the past few months, I have organised the Capital Ring runs with a group of Serpies. We are dividing the entire Capital Ring (78 miles around the suburban areas of London) into 6 different stages, and to date we have run 2 stages so far, both with great success. Each time about 25 to 30 Serpies joined and ran together, everyone had a fabulous time running with others whilst exploring interesting parts of London, and ended up in a pub near the finish. The organisation involved comms, a sign up procedure, and volunteers to help with navigation. I’d like to thank those who have joined the organising team and have given advice on how to stage the runs, in particular Lindsey Chiswick who has also helped on comms. I hope that a successful summer with the Capital Ring Runs can help revive the trail running operation in Serpentine RC, with volunteers stepping up to organise runs as it was the case pre-pandemic.

Another key task for me at the moment is to help stage the Summer League races as well as being the Serpentine representative (together with Tom Poynton) to liaise with other running clubs involved. The original plan, after the meetings in April and May, was to have races (5 mile or 10k) on 4 Sundays throughout July and August. Unfortunately, with the relaxation of social distancing rules being put back by 4 weeks from the original 21st June 2021 date, the race organisers decided the first race on 4th July could not go ahead.

We organisers await whether the current relaxation date on 19th July will go ahead, which will allow the remaining 3 fixtures to be stages. For Serpentine RC, we are organising the last fixture on 22nd August in Battersea Park. I have been liaising with Malcolm French who has been instrumental in making this happen. Assuming it is going ahead, I will work with Malcolm in the next few weeks leading up to 22nd August to ensure the smooth running of the event. We will also discuss whether a club members-only event can be staged on that day as an alternative, should the Summer League be cancelled.

Apart from the Summer League, I have also stepped in to help the staging of the Summer Grand Prix club championship races in July, as the committee race organiser position is currently vacant. So far I have only been required to provide some comms support and get the word out for the races and request for volunteers, with Malcolm French once again being very kind to do the bulk of the work. I will however be standing in as the race organiser for the 3k race on 12th July as Malcolm is not available to be present that day.

Ongoing projects include providing support to the ongoing Serpiesphere Virtual 5k, club runs and encouraging members to enrol on courses to become officials and coaches for the club. There is a recognition among committee members that there is a lack of volunteers and organisers in key club races and events. I have been involved in discussion in this regard, and will be looking to contribute further on volunteer recruitment this summer, together with the official and coach training project.

I will be reporting further on work I have done since the last AGM in September 2020 in this year’s yearly report in the next AGM.

Club Runs and Mentoring

We have been under COVID restrictions for 15 months. In that time, as soon as was possible runs have taken place on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings. I set off the runs either from the bandstand or Hyde Park Corner, with the help of Hilary Walker who has done a massive amount and been a source of guidance throughout. Also I’d like to record appreciation of the support from Branwen Jones and George Allan for organising pace groups and sending out notifications, Elizabeth Ayres for her role as COVID officer, managing all the shifts and changes and Alison Barty for help on Saturday mornings.

For a period I was supporting new runners on a one to one basis when we could only meet one person for exercise outdoors. I see this as part of my Mental Health Ambassador role. Many of those on these Club runs have been new members, often living nearby and I think I have contributed to numbers of these joining the Club.

I have been offering ‘beginners’ courses’ which I have renamed Run&Talk, which is the term used by the England Athletics Mental Health group. It is more inclusive, open to those coming back to running after injury or losing motivation or with low mood.

I also attended 3 meetings:

  • The Safer Parks
  • The Parks Stakeholders Meeting
  • Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

I have had email and phone contact with several members who have been finding life difficult.