Aims and Objectives

The Aims and Strategy of Yorkshire Tennis (May 2018)

Yorkshire Tennis (YT) is an unincorporated association set up for the benefit of its members to promote the playing of tennis at the members’ clubs and venues and to enter county teams in all LTA county cup matches (for all age groups). Yorkshire Tennis (formerly known as the Yorkshire Lawn Tennis Association – YLTA) is independent of the LTA but receives the fees from the clubs/venues when they register with the LTA. In addition, YT raises income from individuals and companies through a sponsorship scheme called ‘The Initiative’ to fund its own programmes.

YT is a democratically elected body run by a Council made up principally of elected club members from Yorkshire Clubs. The Council is able to co-opt up to 4 other members for the purposes of securing the necessary skills to run the Association. The Council delegates the day-to-day running of YT to a Management Committee made of YT officials, namely an elected President, Treasurer and Chairman and elected chairs of the principal sub-committees. Details of the membership of the Council, Management Committee and sub-committees is contained in the Annual Report.

The objectives of YT updated in April 2018 are:

  1. Yorkshire Tennis will protect, nurture and promote the interests of its members with the provision of advice, support, guidance and funding within its means so as to create and maintain a sustainable vibrant network of clubs and places to play in Yorkshire.
  2. We should work towards Yorkshire County Cup Teams being ranked consistently in the top 3 in Great Britain by 2021

Each sub-committee establishes strategies and programmes to deliver these objectives on a collective basis. This website describes these strategies and provides advice and opportunities for clubs, players, coaches and officials to improve their own and the tennis fortunes of clubs, venues and schools.

Yorkshire Tennis Objectives 2018 to 2021 – March 2018

Introduction

This paper addresses the progress of Yorkshire Tennis (YT) over the last year and the need for adjustments to our objectives and related funding programmes.

In 2015, Yorkshire Tennis established three objectives: increasing participation by 2% a year (matching the LTA’s ambition), increasing the number of registered clubs and succeeding at all age groups in the County Cup. It was agreed in early 2017, that in pursuit of these objectives we would spend a significant element of our reserves through a three year programme called “Advantage Yorkshire’. We anticipated funding projects through a number of schemes to the amount of £210,000 per annum.

The most significant portion of the expenditure was to be through four principal programmes:

  • Loans
  • Grants
  • Rebate of 50% of registration fee and a
  • Hub Club programme.

Progress has been significant and demand has been encouraging.

To date the loan programme has grown from 12 to 21 clubs with the loan fund increasing from £102,000 at September 2016 to £260,000 at February 2018. The number of grants awarded since 30 May 2017 is 17 amounting to £80,500. The registration fee rebate scheme had a more modest take up due, most likely, to the requirement that for a club/venue to receive a rebate it must comply with the LTA’s Safeguarding Minimum Requirements. There were other elements of Advantage Yorkshire which will be addressed later in this paper.

Our Objectives

We have and intend to work very closely with the LTA North Region and we are jointly working towards increasing participation by their newly declared rate of 1% per annum. However, it has become clear that the resources of the LTA far outstrips ours and they can adjust their spending as they see fit to suit their own priorities. The LTA also measure progress against this objective but do so on a regional rather than county by county basis. The figures against which we have measured the progress are the registration returns of clubs and venues but it has become apparent that some clubs fill in last year’s figures at the time of registration therefore making the declared figures unreliable and/or inaccurate.

In 2018, the LTA announced the requirement for clubs/venues to meet certain minimum requirements of principally, Safeguarding and Diversity and Inclusion. While YT totally supports the LTA’s aims of making all tennis clubs and venues welcoming, safe places to play tennis, we feel that some small rural clubs will find it challenging to comply thereby possibly reducing the number of clubs in membership. Thus, YT’s focus should be on clubs not in membership, establishing their reasons for not joining the LTA and working with them to try and persuade them into membership.

In conclusion, the Management Committee recommends that the objectives concentrate on achieving goals that are more within the ability of YT to actually deliver.

So what should our objectives be?

Firstly, we believe that our objective for county tennis results should remain as currently drafted with one change in italics:

  1. We should work towards Yorkshire County Cup Teams being ranked consistently in the top 3 in Great Britain by 2021

The current numbers of players in county training is circa 200. Adopting the LTA model would bring it down to around 160 players. The programme is supported by an administrator, Diane Hutchinson, and John Loughton as County Performance Manager. John’s services are provided free by the LTA but if it turns out that he will no longer be available to work for us due to the roll out of the LTA’s new strategy then we will have to find a solution as the programme needs such leadership.

Turning to the two other objectives, we must bear in mind that YT is a membership organisation whose ‘raison d’etre’ is to look after its members through advice, support, funding and other services. While we support the LTA’s participation drive, YT can only increase participation through its members and does not have the resources or time to say, support park courts who presently are not members. We wish to continue to work in partnership with the LTA to create a vibrant network of well informed and sustainable tennis clubs operating within the principles of best practice for safeguarding, diversity and inclusion.

YT will continue to speak up for our members to help them operate in a changing landscape and allocate resources, within our financial means, to those clubs and activities which are looking to provide first class and sustainable tennis activity. For example, this means assisting our members with funding for facilities with loans and grants, sign-posting clubs to where they might receive the appropriate help and, where possible, assist in the locating of suitable coaching resources.

Thus, we recommend that our first two objectives be redrafted to match the reality and the resources of a voluntary run and led members’ association.

  1. Yorkshire Tennis will protect, nurture and promote the interests of its members with the provision of advice, support, guidance and funding within its means so as to create and maintain a sustainable vibrant network of clubs and places to play in Yorkshire.

In so doing, Yorkshire Tennis will work in partnership with the LTA and other stakeholders and will seek to achieve a high degree of satisfaction of its members. The Management Committee of YT will develop a range of measures which will be published and which will be annually assessed. Items that will be included in our deliberations are the number of:

  1. accredited coaches,
  2. clubs that meet the LTA’s minimum safeguarding standards
  3. clubs with floodlights
  4. clubs with 3 modules or more of Clubspark
  5. clubs with school links

plus we could carry out our own satisfaction survey, produce an action plan for unregistered clubs, offer a buddying/mentoring programme for new chairs of clubs etc. To achieve this aim YT should consider what infrastructure investment is needed to deliver these aims.

While, the LTA will also pursue the registration of clubs and venues into membership, YT are ideally placed to try and persuade non-members to join through its network of councillors who are geographically located around the county. This in turns generates the need to ensure that all YT Councillors have the appropriate resources and training to carry out this task as well as service the needs of their existing clubs. To that end, a discussion will be held at a future Council meeting about the need or otherwise for training and resources.

  1. YT will work with the LTA to establish a list of those clubs not in membership through its councillor network and provide resources to attract as many as possible into membership.

Recommendations for change and budget allocation.

The loan and grant schemes have been very popular. Since the roll out of Advantage Yorkshire (AY) 2017, YT has awarded £195,197 in loans to 13 clubs. Loans have the advantage over grants in that when they get repaid and we can then re-allocate the monies as loans to other clubs.

Grants once spent is ‘cash out of the door’. Since the launch of AY, we have awarded 17 grants totalling £80,500.

One of the principles when we launched AY was that we would review the financial situation every year to ensure that we maintained financial security for the association and worked towards a ‘soft landing’ when AY was no longer on offer.

Thus, the Management Committee recommends that:

  1. A cap be put on the total amount of loans outstanding to £400,000 at any one time. Please bear in mind that YT receives £40,000 of repayments every year allowing us to loan out this sum every year. The current loan book stands at £260,000 so we have £140,000 of further loans that we can award before we have to apply the cap and rely on repayments to refresh the loan pot.
  2. With immediate effect, we apply the rule of no more than £5,000 of grants be awarded to any one club. It was agreed that from 1st October 2018, the maximum grant be reduced to £4,000 on the basis that the club applying would match twice the amount of the grant in the project. The grant scheme would only be open to clubs with five courts or less.
  3. It was agreed that a £5,000 grant budget would be established to promote inclusive tennis across the county.
  4. The Registration Rebate scheme will go ahead this year 2017/18 but will not be renewed from 1st October 2018. The purpose behind the original scheme was to focus clubs’ minds on Safeguarding and this has been overtaken by the LTA’s minimum registration requirements making the rebate scheme irrelevant.
  5. We should continue with the Associate Membership Scheme for an annual payment of £10 which attracts £100 of coaching vouchers.
  6. The envisaged Hub Club scheme should be scaled back to reflect the introduction of the LTA’s Local Player Development Centres (LPDCs). The MC feels that a more modest budget of £10,000 should be awarded to the County Performance Manager to use at his/her discretion to plug geographical gaps in the development of young players and where a suitably qualified and motivated coach operates.
  7. In respect of county training, YT will support the LTA’s plan but will decide whether or not to apply for the grant of £5,000 once it has seen the terms attached and considered them. It is possible that to qualify for the grant, the standards required may require YT to spend more than £5,000. We just don’t know at the moment.
  8. We should produce an action plan for coaching in the county. We too often hear the lament that there are never enough good coaches or in some rural cases no coaches at all.
  9. The Chair of CCCE is authorised to complete a partnership contract with Leeds City Council for the adoption of the John Charles Tennis Centre as the ‘Home of Yorkshire Tennis’ which will provide a number of benefits, particularly in the delivery of county training. This will involve a one off payment by YT of £10,000 for capital improvements and refurbishment. The annual cost of court hire is estimated to be £20,000 which will be offset by our present hiring of other courts around the county.
  10. YT seriously considers the establishment of its own website. Adrian Waite has been asked to establish a specification for such a website with a view to obtaining quotes from potentially interested suppliers. Good communications should be at the heart of everything we do. We do not want to replicate what the LTA is doing but we want to make sure that when one of our members wants to find out something then they know where to go. Our experience in the last few years shows that an average member does not store our communications and when they want to find out something they want to know immediately and it needs to be online. We feel that the county website on the LTA’s is poor and very difficult to change and update when we rely on the Region or the Centre to do it. Before embarking on awarding a contract and development, the Management Committee will consider the state of any LTA offering to update county websites and its suitability to the operation of YT.

Other Priorities

While the above section highlights the actions we are taking that have financial implications, there are others that don’t and need highlighting:

  1. Safeguarding and Minimum LTA Registration Requirements. Through its Councillor network, YT intends to support all clubs to achieve the minimum standard.
  2. Keep up and maintain its communication activities on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, website and ‘Tramlines’.

Conclusions

We agreed the need to retain £160,000 to cover day to day expenditure and cash flow. Coupled with a capped loan fund of £400,000, it will result in a net asset position of YT of £560,000.

This means that the cash available for grants will be £160,000 over the remaining period of AY. Thereafter cash available for grants and loans will be restricted to loan repayments plus any annual surpluses. This sum can be supplemented by additional Initiative contributions over and above the budgeted £75,000 and other in-year savings in expenditure.

The Management Committee recommends endorsement of this action plan in that it represents the continuation of an ambitious programme but adjusted to reflect financial prudence.