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Chairpersons AGM Report 2021

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Chairs Report 2021

As I come to the end of my second year as Chair of Radcliffe Swimming and Waterpolo Club I have considered the challenges we have overcome as a club. 2020 started really well with the Club in a very strong position but then along came a global pandemic, one which I don’t think any of us really took any notice of at first. Despite what has been thrown at us this year I am pleased to say that all elements of the club have continued to meet each challenge head on and keep this wonderful club moving forward. The struggles will continue in to 2021 but with the development of vaccines I can see light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully later this year we will find some level of normality.

I am mindful of the fact that whilst we have at times missed training due to Government restrictions and pool closures the close relationship of our partners Bury Leisure and in particular Paul Wilcock we have been in a far better position than a number of clubs within the North West. I would like to place on record my thanks and that of the Committee to Bury Leisure and Paul Wilcock for getting us back to training. I would also like to thank Lee Caunce who has prepared our Covid Risk Assessments and provides a great go between the club and Bury Leisure. His support is vital to the club.

Once again all our volunteers have been totally committed to the club particularly in these difficult times and whilst I would like to thank you all for your support for the club there are a few that I would like to mention individually who have committed a lot of their personal time whilst holding down full time jobs. I personally know that this is a difficult thing to juggle.

Last year most of our Committee meetings were undertaken on line which is a first for the club. I believe this has been very successful and I would like to thank Sam Dickinson for his expertise and wizardry for arranging this. I would also like to thank the IT wizards in each household for getting some of us technophobes on line.

 I would also like to thank Simon Dickinson who once again has provided an excellent set of reports and manages our club finances.  It has been a particularly difficult year financially as the club had to keep stopping and starting the Standing Orders as different government restrictions were put in place.

Thanks my wife Janet Lord for her continued support in her temporary role as Club Secretary producing the minutes for the meetings and a number of other functions. This is a role she has now undertaken for nearly 3 years on a temporary basis and has once again sort of agreed to continue to do it for the forthcoming year.

 Our swimming team once again is without a Senior Coach which is becoming increasingly difficult to fill. Thanks must therefore be given to all our swimming teachers who have helped to fill the void left by this role. Whilst we have been unable to compete this year I know that all of our swimmers have been committed to training when they have been able to do so. I believe our future is bright and with the commitment of both the swimmers and teachers we will have a strong squad when we are able to compete again.

The Club and myself are particularly grateful to our Membership Secretary Nicci Dickinson who has had the unenviable task of trying to put registers together for the return of swimmers in Covid bubbles. This has meant that she has had to consider the ability of each swimmer to ensure they are placed in the correct group whilst ensuring the correct return to swimming forms have been returned. I know this cannot have been easy but it is something that Nicci has undertaken without any complaints and I am very grateful for the role she has undertaken.

Our Senior Waterpolo Section continues to grow with the support of our Junior Polo Section who continue to provide a steady stream of younger players to supplement the experienced Senior Squad. Mike Short and his team are excellent supporters of JWP and continue to work closely with Tom Gleaves to take the club forward. Like other areas of the club it has been a very difficult year for Senior Polo, however in my opinion it has been more difficult for SWP due to restrictions preventing training for sport indoors for those over the age of 18. This has resulted in the older members of SWP being unable to carry out any Polo activities for large periods of the year and as a result they have had to revert to swim fitness training. Despite this all members of the squad have remained enthusiastic and we continue to see strong numbers attend training when they are permitted. Mike will provide his report later and will therefore provide further information on the development of the squad. It is safe to say Radcliffe is going places on the Waterpolo front and hopefully there are exciting times ahead. Thank you to Mike Short , Simon Baker and his team for their support this year.

Junior Polo continues to go from strength to strength. Whilst matches have been limited this year due to Covid restrictions I am pleased to see that we still have a very strong and committed JWP Section within the Club. Interestingly I looked back at some of the early results from JWP when the section first returned to the club and I note that every Radcliffe Team were getting convincingly beaten at the time by most clubs. This is no longer the case with Radcliffe now doing the opposite. Some of the Clubs we played five years ago are either struggling or no longer offer Junior Polo which shows how difficult it is to build a strong JWP Section. The strength of this section of the club is down to a very strong team and the Leadership of both Tom Gleaves and Ian McKinnon. Thanks to both of you for your continued support and dedication.

Without the support of our excellent and dedicated teaching and coaching staff we would not have such great prospects in all areas of the club. Special thanks go to the head coaches who I know put a significant amount of work in to developing the sessions to ensure we continue to compete in all the competitions we enter. As always the club needs the support of all our volunteers and teaching/coaching is one of the areas where support is still required for all elements of the club. Whilst funding is limited we will always where possible support any volunteer in undertaking a teaching/coaching course in order to continue to support the club. If anyone knows of any person within the club who is willing to assist then please let any of the Committee know.

 I would also like to thank all our parents and guardians for their support throughout the year many of whom work in the background to support this great club. As noted earlier this has been a tough year for all of us but our parents have provided great support throughout.

In accordance with Swim England and Bury Leisure guidance the Club needed to develop a Covid Safe Environment for all our members and support teams. This required a Covid Lead to be appointed to the Club to oversee and manage all Covid related issues. Yasmin Poxton stepped up to the plate and has provided a lot of spare time recruiting Covid Support Staff and ensuring we keep up to date with current guidance. Not a particularly easy role given that the Government guidance is continually changing and Swim England quite often release updates late whilst they decipher the latest guidance. My thanks got to Yasmin and the team for undertaking this unenviable and difficult task.

Thank you to all our delegates for their support in attending the various association meetings this year and reporting back to the club. Pauline Broadbent – B&D and North Lancs, John Fraser – Central Lancs. Again not an easy role particularly with the events of this year and the possibility of the associations merging.

I would like to thank all our Committee Members for their input and commitment this past year. It has been very trying but I think we have all done an excellent job in keeping the Club going in the right direction.

My last thank you goes to all our Members who despite what has been presented to you have behaved impeccably, never complained and shown real commitment to your chosen sport. You are a credit to your families and the club. The discipline you have shown throughout this year has been amazing and will undoubtedly stand you in good stead for your future. I thank you all for your amazing support and dedication.

I have once again enjoyed this year as Chair, despite a number of challenges. I hope I have assisted to ensure that the club continues to move in the right direction and again would like to thank all those who have supported both myself and the club throughout the  year. The club continues to grow and develop and will continue to do so whilst we have such depth of support both at Committee level, coaching, volunteers and members.

Finally,I would like to finish by wishing you all the best for the forthcoming year and hope that we all manage to stay safe until the better times arrive.

Thank You

Chris Lord

Radcliffe Swimming and Waterpolo Club Chair