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February 12, 2022

An update from the club’s President

UPDATE TO MEMBERS – INCORPORATION OF THE CLUB

At the Rowing and Social Clubs’ AGMs in September 2020, members decided to re-structure the two Clubs. Since their creation they had been unincorporated associations – meaning there was no legal entity separate from the members themselves. Thus the members, officers and committees bore personal responsibility for the two Clubs’ liabilities. In the event of financial failure, they would have had to dip into their own pockets to pay the debts.

Fortunately, the two Clubs remained in good financial standing since BRC’s inception in 1886 so no-one has yet had to stump up personally. However, in an increasingly litigious age it is common nowadays for clubs, charities and other organisations such as ours to protect their members from such risks. On taking office I therefore promoted the restructuring so that for the future, our two Clubs should operate as limited companies. That is how similar clubs being set up now would be constituted. The Committee readily agreed, and both the principles and detailed documentation were approved at the 2020 AGMs.

It makes sense for such a move to take effect at the end of the Clubs’ financial year ie 31 March. This avoids the need for an additional set of professionally-prepared accounts. The target was therefore 31 March 2021. Regrettably that could not be achieved, for at that time banks would not open any new business accounts because of widespread fraud relating to Government support during the pandemic.

The Committee therefore set a revised target of 31 March 2022 and I’m pleased to say that this has been achieved. Contracts for the transfer of each Club’s assets and operations to the corresponding limited company, and the companies’ assumption of the Clubs’ liabilities, were entered into on 31 March 2022 and on the same date BRC’s leases of the clubhouse premises were transferred, with the necessary consent of our landlord Bedford Borough Council, to Bedford Rowing Club Ltd. A bank account for Bedford Rowing Club Ltd has been opened with Virgin Money, a change of bank from HSBC. One for Bedford Rowing Social Club Ltd will have been opened by the time you read this or shortly afterwards – our Treasurer, Shane Roberts, has this well in hand.

These changes are largely technical. They don’t affect the composition of rowing squads, how you compete or train, your use of our bar or other social facilities or your subscriptions. As in the past, any changes to these will result from specific decisions at the appropriate levels within the Clubs. The main practical change is that members will need to implement fresh standing orders for the payment of subs to the new bank account of Bedford Rowing Club Ltd or, for social members, Bedford Rowing Social Club Ltd. Please watch out for Shane’s communications in this respect. When he gives you the account details you’ll need, you must put the new standing order in place straight away before cancelling your old one.

For the present, subs are unchanged. However, the Treasurer is reviewing this in the light of the massive increases currently in utility and other costs. Further news may follow.

A restructuring of this nature can be expensive in terms of professional advisors’ fees. By deploying in-house expertise and leg-work, we have kept the direct outlay below £2,000.

If you have any questions, please raise them with me or any Committee member.

MARTIN BANHAM-HALL,

Club President

 

6 April 2022