The Club has enjoyed for some years a reputation for its welcoming atmosphere, friendly membership and access to experienced and qualified instructors and coaches. But we must never allow ourselves to become complacent.
In 2015 the Committee discussed the realisation that our traditional method for storing Club rifles and ammunition would no longer be available to us. It is a fairly onerous task and would become increasingly so as we endeavour to grow the membership, especially for newcomers to the sport. Inevitably perhaps the discussion broadened to consider what else might be hindering the Club’s ability to provide excellent facilities and be able to safely and effectively grow its membership.
The Committee concluded that the following would make a significant and positive difference for new and existing members:
1.There was no drinking water available on site and water for toilet flushing was re-cycled from roof drainage. This may all sound wonderfully ecological, but regularly running out of water to flush the loo and not being able to wash your hands trumped any notion of saving the planet! People today expect somewhat better facilities. Owing to our remote location the solution had to be to sink a borehole. This we chose to do and we added suitable filtration equipment to ensure the water is and remains potable.
2.In order to provide safe storage to meet police requirements we opted for a Home Office approved design of armoury.
3.The Club’s firing point had served the Club well since the late 1970s, but the floor had become increasingly ‘bouncy’ and the individual firing points were tight by modern standards. It was decided to replace the floor and extend one wall outwards to ease the tightness.
4.Inevitably, when you start to look at a situation like this, you quickly realise that there is going to be a raft of other tasks that need to be addressed and this seemed the right time to face up to them!
The Club had retained an ethos of running at a reasonable surplus, so that routine maintenance and modest one-off improvements could be covered. But clearly a project embracing the major tasks mentioned above would need a serious injection of cash.
A successful application was made to Sport England, who agreed to fund the elements described above to the tune of around £35k. However, Sport England require at least 7 remaining years of any relevant lease, so the Club chose to renew the lease and agree one with a significantly longer span. It has to be acknowledged that this aspect of the project delayed the start by about a year and cost a significant amount of money which could not be covered by a Sport England grant. But, as is often the case – “where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
The project was completed officially by July 2017. However, the work appears to have stimulated interest in extending improvements around the site and these were separately funded by the Club. They continue albeit in a much more modest way to date.
Of course the Club records its gratitude to Sport England since, without their significant grant, the project would never have proceeded. But the Club must also recognise, with appreciation, the small team of members who gave generously of their time and skills during more than a year of extensive building works. In many ways this project simply continues the Club’s tradition of finding within itself the ability and resources to tackle what needs to be done and see it through to conclusion. The members back in 1978, who saw the Club move to the present site – and indeed built the original clubhouse and range – and those a few years later who had to deal with significant flood damage, laid the foundations, in more than one sense, for the Club and its ethos that we see today.