It's decision time on facilities.

It's decision time on facilities.

By David Badger
27th May
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As discussed at the AGM the pulse survey issued to members at the end of the season indicated a growing concern that the Mens, Ladies and Junior sections have started to drift apart, with all sections training and holding matches at a different time and place, reducing opportunities for all to socialise.

Initially after the merger we targeted an even split of games at Cantley and Birch Hill. In 2017/18 delayed pitch repairs caused us to consolidate more adult games at Cantley and also moved all our Junior section to the duel pitch Wellington sports complex in Crowthorne. During the 2018/2019 season following the completion of repairs at Birch Hill we reverted adult games to a more even distribution.

We are in preliminary discussions with Wellington regarding an option for full club consolidation at their facility, but its already been made clear this isn't an option for the 2019/20 season. I aim to progress this conversation through the summer and provide a more concrete proposal to members that can be incorporated into a longer term plan for the club. Everyone should be aware that there is a lot to discuss with Wellington and although the content of the discussions so far have provided some optimism, the pace of the discussions has not.

Even with the uncertainty around Wellington I'm in no doubt the benefits to the junior section of being there are significant enough to not consider moving them at this time.

At the AGM a show of hands indicated that there was significant appetite to consolidate Mens and Ladies training and matches at a single location ready for next season, understanding a second remote facility would need to be used for an overflow of games on some weekends.

Firstly, i'd like broader club input from all members on this specific issue. I'd like all members to participate including the junior section as this is a decision that will impact the years ahead, and many of our junior members are already playing adult hockey.

Cantley and Birch Hill are the two obvious options for consolidation as we already have the facilities in place. Pros and Cons of each were presented at the AGM but the lack of council funding and interest in hockey to invest in these facilities was a common issue. It's clear a plan for a second pitch at either location is extremely unlikely to appear on the horizon so we you assess them as single pitch venues. Consolidating at either Cantley or Birch Hill would result in us letting the least preferred club house go.

Further analysis into each site was presented at the AGM and discussed in the minutes which can be found here.

Given the lead time required to negotiate pitch bookings with councils we are asking for all votes to be cast by Fri 14th June. When voting please provide the email address you have registered with the club. We will match the email address to verify the votes come from valid members for the 2018/19 season.

Please vote here.

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