Page 0054

54 English Bridge February 2018 www.ebu.co.uk

GETTING NEW MEMBERS - THE JOY AND THE CHALLENGE

D

oes your club need new members? A simple

question, but one which opens up big

questions about the future.

'Bridge is possibly the best game devised by

mankind,' according to noted player Andrew

Robson, writing in the Times, but over the last few

decades we have done a poor job of communicating

this to young people. In a world of video games and

compulsive social media, bridge has struggled to

find its place, and the result is an ageing

demographic in our clubs. The EBU has done some

homework, the quick summary being that a club

which is not recruiting new members will shrink at

an increasing pace year by year.

GET A TEACHING COURSE INTO PLACE

Bringing new players into a club is therefore

essential. Some clubs are already doing this with

energy and great results, but for others it is not so

simple. There is a lot that needs to happen: finding

a bridge teacher, sorting out premises, marketing

lessons in your area, running courses, and then

providing novices with gentle, supervised bridge so

they can progress in a suitable environment before

fully integrating with the main club lessons.

The results though are hugely worthwhile. The

evidence is that a carefully-planned teaching and

marketing campaign will successfully bring new

members into a club at a modest financial cost. Of

course the real cost is the human effort involved;

but this too brings rewards as clubs become more

energised and outgoing.

YORKSHIRE TRIUMPHS

Ripon Bridge Club in North Yorkshire had a

membership which 10 years ago had fallen to the

low 40s. It introduced a teaching programme and

membership recovered, but this was in jeopardy

because of a low number of recruits. A campaign of

taster sessions, leaflets and digital marketing turned

this around, and the club started three new courses,

for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners.

Core membership is now over 70 and rising.

Membership campaigns are not just for small

clubs. Olicana Bridge Club in Ilkley, West Yorkshire,

has its own premises and in 2010 had around 250

members. The club had a major strategic review,

improved its premises, embraced technology, and

strongly promoted bridge teaching. Numbers grew

and today it has over 300 members.

Why two Yorkshire clubs? The answer is that

Yorkshire Bridge Association has focused on

increasing membership and in 2017 ran a regionwide

campaign with support from the EBU. The

success of this campaign encouraged us to support

membership campaigns elsewhere.

MAKE THE MOST OF OUR RESOURCES AND

EXPERIENCE

I was appointed Membership Development

Officer in September 2018. We have created a

resource site, https://ebumemberdevelop.org.uk,

with background information, tips, images and

templates for running membership campaigns.

There is also funding available for clubs in counties

which commit to supporting the scheme. From

Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire, to Norfolk,

Somerset and Surrey, we are seeing new

membership campaigns get under way and expect

much more in 2019.

This growth is welcome but there are challenges.

Those who come into the game tend to be in their

fifties or older; nothing wrong with that, but it has

implications in that they tend more towards social

than highly competitive bridge. The demographics

also mean that clubs need to continue actively

recruiting just to maintain numbers.

A LITTLE BIT OF RADIO COVERAGE . . .

The good news is that bridge is a fantastic asset to

our community. When Margaret Hyde at

Cheltenham Bridge Club turned 100 years old, the

club got her a spot on local radio where she said, 'I

started bridge 60 years ago at the golf club … I enjoy

it enormously, it's a very interesting game.' So many

locally now want to learn bridge that the club cantim@ebu.co.uk keep up.

Tim Anderson

EBU Membership Development Officer

If you want to know more about

increasing club membership,

please contact me: tim@ebu.co.uk

Index

  1. Page 0001
  2. Page 0002
  3. Page 0003
  4. Page 0004
  5. Page 0005
  6. Page 0006
  7. Page 0007
  8. Page 0008
  9. Page 0009
  10. Page 0010
  11. Page 0011
  12. Page 0012
  13. Page 0013
  14. Page 0014
  15. Page 0015
  16. Page 0016
  17. Page 0017
  18. Page 0018
  19. Page 0019
  20. Page 0020
  21. Page 0021
  22. Page 0022
  23. Page 0023
  24. Page 0024
  25. Page 0025
  26. Page 0026
  27. Page 0027
  28. Page 0028
  29. Page 0029
  30. Page 0030
  31. Page 0031
  32. Page 0032
  33. Page 0033
  34. Page 0034
  35. Page 0035
  36. Page 0036
  37. Page 0037
  38. Page 0038
  39. Page 0039
  40. Page 0040
  41. Page 0041
  42. Page 0042
  43. Page 0043
  44. Page 0044
  45. Page 0045
  46. Page 0046
  47. Page 0047
  48. Page 0048
  49. Page 0049
  50. Page 0050
  51. Page 0051
  52. Page 0052
  53. Page 0053
  54. Page 0054
  55. Page 0055
  56. Page 0056
  57. Page 0057
  58. Page 0058
  59. Page 0059
  60. Page 0060
  61. Page 0061
  62. Page 0062
  63. Page 0063
  64. Page 0064
  65. Page 0065
  66. Page 0066
  67. Page 0067
  68. Page 0068
  69. Page 0069
  70. Page 0070
  71. Page 0071
  72. Page 0072