Monday, 21 January 2008

Barry's Blog 22

I have been asked a couple of times what we are doing at present, so here goes….

I am sure that most of you know that the Board’s proposals for change will ultimately be voted upon at an Extraordinary General Meeting on June 4th. The final document will be released by April. We are still gathering and analysing the data and ask any club that has not returned their form to do so as soon as possible as this information will allow us to create as accurate a figure as possible for the proposed pay to play fee.

However, there are many more areas that we are working on, for example….

We are working on “bridge awareness” days; these events, which will take place around the country during 2008, will be put on with the help and assistance of a willing club (or clubs) in the area we are in. We will be inviting dignitaries, the press and TV to come along and see what we are doing and will attempt to show people who do not play bridge what it is all about and how it helps everyone in many facets of their lives. The first of these days is slightly different, as it is at the National Railway Museum in York and is a “Mind Sports” day and is being put on in association with other mind sports. This will be publicised very soon indeed.

We have been working on plans for a bridge related TV programme, something approaching the Holy Grail to many, and something that is constantly suggested by members. No money has been spent but we have produced a proposal for such a programme, perhaps best paralleled to “Countdown”, and we are now seeking funding for the production of a pilot programme which is necessary for the very hard job of selling the idea to a TV channel. Thus far the work has been done by one of our members, Matthew Baylis a stand-up comedian and Basingstoke Bridge Club member and Matt Betts our Communications Officer. If you know anyone who may wish to fund this pilot programme we would be VERY interested to know about them!

With the Board’s unanimous approval, I am involved in detailed discussions with a specialist legal firm and we are working on plans to turn the English Bridge Union into a Charity. New laws now in place permit such a change and, although there are (as usual) many complexities to over come we hope that we can get there within a year or two. Once it is done it will save the EBU substantial tax costs each year and will allow us to receive legacies and donations for all aspects of our activities without tax implications. At the same time, I hope that we can develop a model constitution for membership owned affiliated bridge clubs to become charities in their own right, which will also provide benefits to those clubs.

We are about to commence work on an online teaching system based on the teaching software available on the ACBL web site ( This will provide a free and intuitive way for people to self-teach themselves the basics of the way we play in England. We thank the ACBL for granting us permission to use their software for this purpose.

We have just published our first “Club Focus”, which will be a bi-monthly electronic newsletter for clubs around the country. It is available on this website for downloading and we can email it to anyone who wants it. Please let the office know if you wish to be placed on the list to receive it by email.

There are numerous other activities taking place now or will be fairly soon – more news in due course...