The Connaught Club is a Community Amateur Sport Club (CASC) located within the beautiful surroundings of Epping Forest in North Chingford. The Club has been in existence since 1885 and has a long and proud history. Over the years the Club has developed a reputation as a centre of excellence for bowls, tennis and squash and many famous names have graced its sporting facilities.
The Connaught Club provides sporting facilities in Squash, Racquetball, Tennis and Bowls to a large number of people in the local community. We are open 12 months a year and only close on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. We have 9 tennis courts, 4 squash courts, an excellent Bowls green and a small gym.
The ages of those who attend the Club range from 3 years to over 90 years and include both private members, members of the public, schools and the University of East London.
The Club has qualified coaches across all its sports to help new and existing players to improve their game. We also run Tennis and Squash camps during the school holidays, and host an inter-school mini tennis challenge involving up to 12 local schools.
The Club provides not only the sporting facilities to those who visit, but also a safe haven for those who are elderly, on their own or have disabilities that prevent them from taking part in sport. It has a lovely friendly bar that not only serves hot and cold drinks but a full range of food - it is the social hub of the Club.
The Club holds Whist sessions and Yoga classes each week for members and non-members, and has regular social events, Quiz Nights, themed evenings and a Sunday Roast Luncheon Club for members, guests and visitors.
The Club pavilion is available for hire within the community and is regularly used for weddings and for hosting parties and celebrations.
The Connaught is not just a Club but a Community. Last year the Club opened its doors and ran a free Christmas lunch for anyone in the community who was on their own or financially struggling. We had over 70 guests and Club volunteers donated food to create a cherished event.
Each year the Club takes part in the Chingford Festival held on the 'Village Green' that attracts hundreds of local people. Volunteers manage a stand to promote the sporting facilities available and run 'come-and-try' mini tennis sessions for children.
The Club has been closed for three months during lockdown and although the complex is now open again this is on a limited basis that is likely to be in place for the foreseeable future. This has had a serious impact on our income streams. The expected income generated from the bar, hosting functions and social events, court hire, coaching, summer camps, tournaments, whist, yoga and indoor bowls will see a significant shortfall this year.
This will undermine our ability to undertake the ongoing maintenance and improvement projects we had in plan for the coming year. These include making accessibility adjustments around the complex, replacing the dilapidated equipment sheds by the bowls green, upgrading the squash courts, and installing energy efficient LED lighting in the tennis bubble.
We have been extremely grateful to all members who renewed their annual membership during March and April at a time when we had no idea when the Club would open again. This certainly helped ensure that we could at least pay the bills while the Club was closed, and to meet our contractual obligations for improvement work already underway. However, the projected shortfall in our finances as a result of Covid-19 does present a major challenge.
We are setting up this Crowdfunder to raise £10,000 to help safeguard the future of our Club and to fund essential maintenance and improvement work, whilst at the same time protecting the reserves we are required to hold as a condition of our LTA loan. If we are successful in hitting our target we can apply for another £10,000 matched funding from Sport England.
We are calling upon members, supporters, local residents and businesses to help us get through this challenging time, so that the Connaught Club can continue to be a community hub in Chingford.
This project offers rewards in return for your donation.