No matter where you get your news, it’s quite grim: the UK is heading into a significant period of economic recession. The pay packet just isn’t going as far as it used to.
For archers, the cost of our equipment is rising too, with shops and suppliers having to put up their prices to stay in business, and we are having to weigh up the cost of attending competitions as entry fees, travel and accommodation are all a luxury some might soon not be able to afford. For clubs that share their space rental costs are going up as overheads rise, and for clubs that own theirs, the battle facing the general population – out of control energy costs – are also being felt quite keenly down at the clubhouse.
But there are things that clubs can do to help archers through the hard times and some clubs have found ways to make thing just a little bit easier for their members.
At Wymondham Archers in East Anglia, 73% of their members pay their dues monthly rather than annually, which means the renewal period – which coincides with the start of the school year – is less of a financial burden on archers and their families who can now choose to spread their fees across the year rather than having to find the money in one lump sum.
A parent at the club says that having the option for paying monthly means that they don’t worry as much about the high costs of archery each month as they know what’s going in and out of their account. Pete Hill, the club’s Chair, said “We believe, by enabling our archers to pay monthly they are more likely to get into archery and stay in it. It seems to be working.”
Quite recently, the committee of Newark Castle Archers, who understood the financial challenges their members faced, voted to waive all subs for the whole of their indoor season. These subs normally help pay for the club’s indoor and outdoor venue hire, which will instead be covered by the club. Club Chair, Mandie Elson, says “Our purpose is not to make massive amount of money but to encourage people to participate in our wonderful sport. We hope it may attract some of those who haven't renewed this year.”
The club’s kind gesture, which follows on the heels of a substantial reduction in membership fees (from £40 to £5 per member) during COVID, has been well received by members. For one it was a “lovely surprise,” and she thanked them for their generosity, and others acknowledged how much it would help and how it was a wonderful thing for the club to do for its members.
While it’s important that clubs look at how they can help their members, it’s also important that they look for ways to remain sustainable.
Sport England have produced a series of reports on how the cost of living crisis is impacting sports, including a very useful guide on how clubs can cut energy costs. The full guide can be found on their website, but here’s a quick, practical guide on how your club can put a plug in rising energy costs:
Is your club going the extra mile for its members during these trying times? Has your club got a novel cost-cutting idea that it’s ready to share with the world? Email your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.