General Purposes Committee Meeting           (Zoom meeting, hosted by John Hurren)

Wednesday 31st March 20217.30p.m.


Apologies - Peter Cross, Alan Ley.

GPC Members present: Chris Weller, John Hurren, John Henwood, Paul Demczak, David Leighfield, Bill Jarvie, Mick Morris, Alex Fleming.

  1. Minutes of the last Zoom meeting held on 20th January 2021, carried as a true record.
  2. Matters Arising - Welfare Survey

Chris Weller said that there were two major issues arising from the Welfare Survey conducted earlier in the year and discussed at the meeting in January.

Two Clubs, Witney Mills and Watlington were in danger of possible closure due to a range of problems particular to them.

Happily, both Clubs had now indicated that they would continue to play this season, although both still had issues to be resolved.

The other area of concern was that the grants that Clubs had been able to apply for and receive from a variety of sources now looked as if they might be liable to tax.

County Treasurer, John Hurren had researched the subject and the results of that research would feature later in the Agenda.

3. Correspondence –

Chris Weller said that there had been considerable correspondence from BE in the last fortnight giving guidance on how, and what Clubs should do to ensure they began the season by playing within the safety guidelines issued by both BE and the Government.

He intended to send out a short survey to Club Secretaries to discover how they were preparing for the new season, if guidance was being followed, and who in the Club was responsible for that. In addition, he would ask if each Club was going to take part in the BE recruitment drive at the end of May, and again ask what preparations were being made to maximise this event.

4. Treasurer’s Report -

Since 1 October 2020, our account has seen very few transactions. Income totals £34 (sale of an OBA jacket) and expenditure totals £169.34 (Insurance & Website costs). Our bank balance is currently £9,436.37, which would normally be higher at this time of year, but Affiliation fees and Competition fees have not been received yet.

Peter Cross has indicated the OBA & BOL will need to make a small contribution to Bowls Oxfordshire in the coming year to assist with their expenses and I have placed an order for additional OBA shirts to ensure we have sufficient for the start of the season.

       John would be happy to take any questions about our financial situation.

My other role is as the Bowls Oxfordshire Website administrator, for the new site and this has kept me busy with constant changes occurring this year due to covid-19 mostly.

The aim has, and will, be to keep the website up to date as changes occur. I am really pleased we didn’t get yearbooks printed this year, as they would have become obsolete very quickly.

Feedback on the website is always welcome, particularly if you feel there are things we could improve.

5. Competition Updates, -

Both the Middleton Cup and HCL were for this season knockout competitions.Dates for these games would be agreed and venues chosen asap. The Middleton Cup draw had still to take place but might include a preliminary game before the knockout stages. The date for this game was provisionally 3rd July, and then another date chosen if successful in the prelimfor the next round. It was suggested that BO’s preference would be for a regional draw.

The draw for the HCL competition had been made, and Oxfordshire had been drawn at home to Kent. Chris Weller suggested, as one of the County Selectors, that Middleton Cup Manager Kevin Alder choose the team he wishes to play against Kent on the same basis he chooses the Middleton Cup side. The GPC approved this idea andit was verified in a phone call to Kevin during the meeting, who said that he currently had 25 players who had confirmed their availability to play.

Chris Weller said he would email the other selectors to update them on this decision and other developments.

Chris Weller also asked if the schedule for County Friendlies could be updated before he sent out invitations to those who usually played in them. Three County games had already been cancelled along with the HCL games that no longer needed to be played. AlexFleming said he would work in conjunction with Peter Cross to contact Counties asap to discover what games and format they wished to play this season.

David Leighfield said that the format had been agreed with the five other U25 Managers taking part in the JHCL this season, each game consisting of Three Triples/ Three woods/18 ends. The dates/venues/catering arrangements to be decided by the U25 Managers.

6. Grants and Tax

Following a question posed by the Secretary of Bloxham Bowls Club, John Hurren researched the situation aboutClubs receiving grants throughout the pandemic, resulting in unusual profits at the end of the season.

Many of the County’s clubsare structured as an “Unincorporated Association” and this does not require them to routinely submit accounts to Corporation House annually, as essentially it is a member’s club with a constitution and a committee voted in to manage the club affairs.

As such, any income generated by members (including subscriptions, green fees, sale of drinks from the bar, quiz nights, race nights etc) and expenditure which benefits members (which is usually most of it) is tax exempt. However, income from other sources outside of the club membership may be taxable (Grants, sponsorship, hire of hall, sales to non-members etc).

Most years the surplus or deficit is small and most of the money held is as a result of the efforts of the membership, so little profit is made. Profits which may be as a result of income from outside of membership’s efforts will be subject to Corporation tax which currently is 19%. Every source researched, indicates this is a requirement, without doubt.

All clubs that have made a profit on their balance sheet, largely due to external grants received are liable to corporation tax on that profit. It is likely that you can reduce this if you work out the percentage of income coming from these sources and apply the percentage of liability to the profits, because as stated earlier profits made from members directly is not taxable.

John went on to say he hoped the recent covid experience will not last longer than the current year, but some clubs may have a liability for the past financial year and may again at the end of this financial year if making a profit, as a result of the grants with little activity occurring during the year. Accounts for last year will need to be submitted within 12 months of the end of the last financial year and taxes must be paid within 9 months and a day of the end of the financial year, otherwise you will accrue interest on the debt. John Hurren’sgut feeling is that HMRC will be seeking every penny they can when we start emerging from the current situation, to reduce the national debt.

During his research he looked at different models for structuring the club, including achieving “Community Amateur Sports Club” status (which would have had more tax relief benefits), he thinks this could be of interest to some clubs, so recommend clubs look at how this works. Others may be prepared to accept the tax hit for a couple of years.

This is a short summary of what is a complex set of circumstances for managing bowls clubs within the law and tax requirements.

7. Bowls England Recruitment Weekend  (28th May - 31st May 2021)

John Henwood,stressed it is important that all clubs sign up to the ‘Bowls Big Weekend.

Clubs that are intending to take part need to give BE their postal code, and BE will then tell individuals interested in taking up the game, where their nearest Club is.

Also, on the day/s the Clubs are holding their open day/weekend, the Clubs taking part should give all potential new players a warm welcome, andmake it fun and interesting.Ideally each Club will have 6 to 8 people with named badges, ie Chris, John, Ian, David etc.

John Henwood also added, Headington  BCwill have a banner to encourage people to come and try the game, he also suggestedflyers could be used locally advertising these events could also be useful to encourage attendance.

John stressed it must be a positive experience for any potential new member, and if Clubs felt they could not offer the necessary ingredients for a successful launch, then perhaps they should reconsider taking part,or their approach.

8. Bowls Oxfordshire Matters –

Chris Weller asked if the proposed transition of Mike Morris taking over the role of Bowls Oxfordshire Administrator from Peter Cross(which had been delayed since the first lockdown in March 2020),was still going to take place. Mike Morrs said he had spoken to Peter Cross, and that after affiliation fees for this year had been dealt with by Peter,(after 1st May),and once restrictions have been lifted on 12thApril Mike will meet with Peter to sort bank details etc and begin the process.

 John Henwood suggested there needed to be an EGM to endorse theChange of Officers.

It was agreed that if this were necessary then it could be done as soon as easing of restrictions permitted.

9. Bowls England Matters

John Hurren said he emailed Alistair Hollis at BE for further clarification/guidance on social spacing between rinks when games begin again.

David Leighfield said as he now managed both theWhite Rose and Amy Rose side, if both qualify for the Final stages,he had two other people in mind to contact to manage the Ladies side whilst he would manage the Men’s side..

10. A.O.B.

        County lunch in October –Bill Jarviesaid that normally BO invites a BE representative.

        Bill Jarvie offered to talk to Peter Cross re organising a Bowls England representative.


Chris Weller proposed another meeting in 2 weeks – Wednesday 14th April 7.30pm.     John Hurren to host.

     Meeting finished at 8.45pm.

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