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June 2019 English Bridge

www.ebu.co.uk

reasons. The qualified teacher can be at his or her

club or teach at home and design their own syllabus

but having one set up with materials is helpful to

many. EBED offers the classic Beginning Bridge and

Continuing Bridge and the relatively new Fast Track

Bridge for those who seek to learn in a shorter time.

The EBU offers a year's free membership to all

students using one of these courses and has recently

widened the membership offer to students of

recognised teachers who may be running differing

courses. Looking today at the programme I was

cheered to note that the next four EBED courses are

full. More are being planned.

COUNTY CAMPAIGNS

Clubs and counties will need to run membership

campaigns and teaching is one plank in this.

Counties are closer to the ground than the EBU and

can help with clubs in their area. Yorkshire was the

first county to run its own membership campaign

and it was assisted not only with central funding but

also some from the European Bridge League who

recognise that declining membership is a problem

hitting most European countries.

Of course, once you have learnt and been

persuaded to come to the club and participate it has

to be an enjoyable experience. Clubs need to

manage this. New players can be slow and bigger

clubs run gentle games with fewer boards but

eventually if novices join the normal game it is

critical that the membership is friendly. The club

director can help a lot in this area. Welcoming new

players is a start. Perhaps a club can consider having

a host system (many do) so that those turning up

without a partner can be matched and guaranteed a

game. Read Tim's article on p55 to help get new

members into the regular duplicate sessions.

Bridge will change in the next 20 or so years.

Whether it survives as a pleasant social experience

or disappears will depend on individual clubs and

their members together with help from counties

and the EBU and EBED. r

Steering the EBU

From the Chairman by Jeremy Dhondy

click

link

A

few months ago I wrote about our

membership numbers and I make no

apology for returning to the topic. Of all the

subjects addressed during my time as Chairman

this one ranks high on the list.

THE PROBLEM

In the 1930s, when bridge was developing both

here and in the USA, it generated great interest and

extensive media coverage. Since then a wealth of

other activities have taken off and bridge is

competing in a much tougher marketplace and

finds it harder to get publicity unless perhaps there

is a cheating scandal! The evidence seems clear that

on both sides of the pond and elsewhere the average

age of a bridge player is increasing. China appears

to be an exception. Increasing age, self evidently,

can't go on for ever. If clubs are to survive the next

couple of decades then they need a new source of

members.

SOLUTIONS

This problem has to be solved with contributions

nationally, at county and at club level. Each has a

different role. Nationally the task is to train more

and better qualified teachers, to have a syllabus, to

have publications and to offer advice. In the last 12

months the EBU has appointed a membership

development officer, Tim Anderson, to spearhead

these developments and EBED has increased the

number of courses designed to produce the teachers

we need. The EBU has re-introduced the free place

system that clubs rather liked! You can read about

various developments on the membership blog at

www.ebumemberdevelop.org.uk/. The site also

allows clubs to register for access to resources aimed

at running a membership campaign.

If we have more qualified teachers then we next

need students. Courses are typically run at club

level and it is, perhaps, the main source for new

members. The scale of the uphill battle is well

shown by the fact that if 4,000 new members are

introduced to our affiliated clubs each year that just

about covers those who give up for any variety of

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