Please see below for some Frequently Asked Questions on our fee structure and why prices have changed from 1 October 2018.
You may also find it useful to refer to the page detailing More Info on Costs
How is our club financed?
Some of our new members may be surprised to learn that Monthly Squad fees go nowhere near covering the cost of paying for the pool hire and the coaches. In fact, every year, our fantastic volunteers need to raise around £50,000 extra (i.e. on top of your fees) to keep Maxwell afloat - mostly by running our fantastic open meets (galas). We should also recognise the wonderful efforts of parents and supporters who bake cakes and organise raffles which provide the “extras” your children enjoy, such as fitness equipment and fun days.
The club simply couldn’t operate without our volunteers, and every parent and every swimmer in this club owes them a huge debt of gratitude. If you don’t already volunteer then please do offer your services – there is a role for everyone in this club.
Why are our fees higher than other local clubs?
Basically for two reasons:
1) We pay our coaches a fair rate for what they do,
2) We follow the Long Term Athlete Development programme recommended by Swim England which means our competitive swimmers are offered pool and land training hours that will enable them to be the best they can be.
We are a not for profit organisation, which is run by our members for our members. We share the costs and the work; only the coaches are offered payment, not any of the admin team or other helpers.
Is the club in financial trouble? Is that why prices have risen?
No, not at all. The club is in a very good place financially.
We do carry reserves (i.e. we maintain a level of “Rainy Day” money in the bank) to enable our club to continue in the event of our meets not being as successful as we need them to be. We dip into these reserves when we consider investment to be prudent but we must always keep on top of things, review our situation regularly, and make adjustments quickly if we need to.
What does the budget for 2018/19 look like?
Noel and Marc have put together a very thorough but challenging budget for the coming year – which looks like it might need investment from our reserves over the coming year whilst their plans come into fruition.
When a Head Coach leaves, there are always some swimmers who decide to move on, so we will be working very hard to increase and retain our current membership. This will mean that our fixed costs can be shared across more members.
In addition, earlier this year, EveryoneActive (who manage the Aquavale and Swan pools) increased their pool hire charges by 15%.
We take great care to manage our costs very carefully each month (e.g. by cancelling lane hire when we go to away meets), but this year we will need to increase our charges. We do not feel it is necessary to increase our prices by the same % as the pool hire charges have risen, but this will be kept constantly under review.
Why have some squads seen higher % and £ price rises than others?
The new prices reflect the fact that they have been held very steady for several years. In particular, the Academy squads have not had a price rise for over three years, and still represent the most fantastic value for money.
Whilst nothing can be guaranteed, it is hoped that squad fees will not need to rise significantly again for a while, as EveryoneActive have undertaken to hold pool hire prices for the next three years.
Some squads have also been allocated extra hours or training opportunities, and their prices reflect this.
We do however, need to keep our prices in line with other clubs, and this is particularly so at the top end, e.g. the National Squad.
What is the Maxwell Membership Charge for, and why has it risen?
The membership charges goes towards covering administration and other running costs (for example coaches’ expenses for away meets, subsidised coach travel to meets, coaches’ training & t-shirts, welfare training, software costs, credit card charges, legal/accounting/tax, DBS checks, volunteers’ insurance).
There will be a shortfall on these items in this year’s accounts, which again, has been met by fundraising, but in the light of ever increasing prices and regulatory requirements the Membership Fee will rise from £50 to £60 for senior (competitive) squads, and from £25 to £30 for Academy & SwimFit squads.
This will be billed on 1st October, and is non refundable (unless you decide to leave in the month you join). There is no separate membership fee for Masters or Uni squads
What are SwimEngland fees for?
These are set by SwimEngland and are billed 1 January. They cover insuring our swimmers and running our governing body SwimEngland (formerly the ASA), who set the rules and standards for our sport, and run the National Championships to which our swimmers aspire.
All money collected from our swimming members is paid straight over to SwimEngland.
There is a separate Category 3 membership fee for non swimming members. The club pays the fees for our Coaches and active Volunteers.
Why do Membership Fees and Swim England Fees get charged separately? Other clubs roll them into the monthly cost so they are spread more evenly over the year….?
We charge them separately because then everything is very transparent, we can manage our costs better against the money coming in, and – most importantly - you only pay for what you need. For example, some swimmers decide to leave at the end of the summer, so therefore they won’t be billed for membership charges for the next season. Similarly, some swimmers are not yet ready to compete in Licensed meets, so they only need Category 1 SwimEngland membership at the cheaper rate, not the more expensive Level 2.
Why is it a good thing to pay coaches?
Not everyone poolside is paid – we do have some fantastic Volunteer Coaches, Team Managers and Poolside Helpers too. However, we offer all our qualified coaches (who want to be paid) a fair rate for what they do, so that, if they wish, they can develop their skills into a lifelong career, and there is no awkwardness around ensuring their quality and consistency.
Our senior coaching team are very experienced, have undertaken many hours of training, and also take part in work with British Swimming and SwimEngland, such as County, Regional and National training camps and training programmes.
All our coaching team will have regular appraisals, and their training needs are constantly assessed.
It is very, very rare in Maxwell that we ever need to cancel sessions due to not having a professional coach available to take the session.
We are proud that our past four Head Coaches have done such fantastic things with Maxwell, and then gone on to have amazing careers with much larger and very ambitious clubs (e.g. Hatfield, Wycombe, Royal Wolverhampton, City of Bristol). This is why when we advertised our Head Coach role, we had such great candidates apply – because they know that they will be supported in their ambitions at Maxwell.
But none of this comes cheaply, and we wouldn’t expect it to.
Are there any bursary schemes in operation?
We do have some limited bursaries when there is genuine financial need. Please contact email@example.com in confidence if this applies. In addition, we will endeavour to help with seeking grant funding, and everyone is encouraged to help with fundraising in order to keep costs down.