We are a small archery club of both male and female members, who together represent a broad spectrum of age and ability. Our club ranges from members that have been shooting for multiple decades, to members that have been shooting for only a few months.
We have several members under the age of 12, and a number of members who are now retired. Our club normally meets once weekly for 2 hourly sessions on a Friday evening, and the shooting sessions can be as formal or informal as each member desires. We have members who use the weekly sessions to hone their skills for upcoming competitions, and we also have other members who use the time to relax with friends, and practice their hobby in a friendly and informal environment. For most of our members, the Friday shooting sessions are a way of socialising with other archers and rounding off the week doing something they enjoy. In summertime we shoot outdoors on a sports field as much as we can, and in the winter months we use an indoor sports hall at the same venue.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unable to operate the club since the beginning of March 2020. During this time, the clubs' original founder has stepped down. As a result of this, several of the members have taken on the responsibility of keeping the club running. However due to our current financial situation, the club is at great risk of not being able to continue, which would be a real blow to all of our members. Our current venue is planning to increase their weekly fees, and due to our relatively small membership numbers we will struggle to sustainably cover this cost. At present our club is losing money, and we have limited amounts of financial support to help us return to the sport.
Furthermore, in order for us to continue to shoot safely, and enable us to effectively develop the abilities of both new and existing members, we must invest in new targets and training equipment. The equipment we are currently using is from the founding days of the club, and is in much need of replacement. However, despite the need for this investment, we do not currently posses the financial resources to pursue these important improvements.
As a response to the challenges that we are facing, we have formed a plan to help the club survive in the short term, develop in the long term, and be sustainable in the future.
In order to survive in the short term, we first need to address the cost of venue hire. We are trying to negotiate a reasonable price with the current venue, and are also exploring options for a change of venue. However we understand that in the short term we may have to accept the venue hire increase, and counter this by reluctantly increasing the weekly subs for our members. We won’t however increase the weekly fee for members under the age of 18.
However, although this weekly subs increase should help us cover the cost of venue hire. It will not significantly contribute towards the development of the club. Furthermore, our weekly subs increase is based on the assumption that all of our members will return to the club when we are able to start shooting again, if this is not the case then we will be unable to cover the cost of venue hire based on weekly subs alone, and in this case additional funding would be vital.
Once we have overcome the current challenges regarding venue hire, and ensured the club can continue to function, we would like to develop the club and enable it to reach its full potential. In order to do this we are aiming to increase our membership numbers, invest in new and replacement equipment, increase our presence in the local archery community, and allow members to develop on a more formal and recognised scale within the sport, if they wish to do so.
Currently our club has two intake sessions per year for new members. These involve several weeks of taster sessions before the individual decides if they want to join the club. The downside to this, is that it is quite restrictive to potential new members as to when they can start. Therefore we plan to change our intake policy, so that potential new members can take part in the taster sessions whenever they would like. Hopefully through doing this, our membership numbers will increase as we will be more flexible towards potential new members.
Secondly, several pieces of our existing equipment, mainly target bosses and covers, are in need of repair or replacement. We have been using these since the formation of the club, and they are now very worn and will soon be unsafe to use.
Thirdly, we would like the club to be represented at a number of local and county competitions, with many of the members enthusiastic to take part in these events.
Finally, for the members that are interested, we would like to introduce a grading/badging system, to help them track their progress and encourage their development within the sport.
In order to ensure we can offer taster sessions for potential new members all year round. We will need to purchase additional Bows, Arrows, and other pieces of essential equipment to help potential new members learn the fundamentals of the discipline, without having to commit to purchasing their own equipment when they are just trialling the sport.
Additionally, we would like to replace our target bosses and covers with more durable ones, that can better withstand outdoor shooting, and the higher intensity of shooting at closer quarters indoors.
Furthermore, many of the local and county competitions require members to travel outside of Barrow-in-Furness to take part, travel expenses can present a barrier to club members and reduce the numbers competing.
Finally, for the club to be able to support a grading/badging system, we would like to be able to purchase badges and awards to present to members on completion of milestones within their archery career.
We feel the club and its members will greatly benefit if the above developmental goals are able to be achieved. However in order to reach these targets we need help sourcing the available funds, as whilst increasing weekly membership fees should help the club survive in the short term, it will not allow us to evolve and improve the service we provide for our members.
Once the club has passed through the survival and developmental stages of its plan, we aim to ensure its sustainability into the future. The club will have reached this phase when it is able to support itself independently on its own finances. However, in order to achieve this, the use of additional funds will be vital, as without these extra financial resources, we believe the club will not be able to reach the stage where it can support itself.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about our small but valuable archery club, we really hope that when we are allowed to safely return to our sport we will have the resources available to ensure that we can continue to offer the service that our members benefit from, and hopefully we can develop and sustain these services in order to keep the club going long into the future.
We are very grateful for any help we receive to enable us to do this.
Bowmen of Furness