Our Key objectives are as follows• Making diving accessible • A strong committed membership from within our local community. • Giving people the skills to lead our club into the next generation of divers. • Growing our club through Try Dives. • Ensuring our club has the right equipment to retain existing members and attract prospective divers.
Founded in 1980 by two experienced divers who established Howe Bridge Leisure Centre as the club base in 1981, the club has grown to its existing 65 plus membership through Try Dive nights, word of mouth and local advertising. We have retained members who joined the club in the 1980s and 90s, we have had members who went on to work in the commercial diving industry and we have trained the children of some of our earlier members. We meet weekly at the Leisure Centre for club meetings, theory and practical training. Training is delivered by our qualified instructors who together with our Committee members are all volunteers.
A passion for our sport has helped sustain us when things looked bleak and membership numbers dwindled in line with economic downturns over the years and the increase in membership we are currently experiencing enables us to share that passion and gives everyone within the club a sense of achievement.
Post Pandemic Financial Impact Like many sports clubs the COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with many challenges, using Zoom and social media we were able to maintain contact with one another even though we were unable to meet. During the pandemic we were also able to develop our website which also allowed members to keep in touch with one another.
We endured a 15 month interruption to our training schedule, the closure of our swimming pool and training room, we were unable to recruit new members and we were unable to go diving. Our club is self funding through membership fees and fund raising events throughout the year but because of Covid we could not justify charging membership fees when we were unable to offer anything in return, especially given that several of our members had lost employment or been furloughed as a result of the pandemic. Opportunities for fund raising were also unavailable, unfortunately during this time whilst we had no income we continued to have expenditure.
The equipment we use for Try Dives is subjected to annual testing regardless of whether or not it is used, this is a health and safety requirement. Subsequently, as we reopened we immediately faced significant costs for service and testing before we could welcome any trainees.
The club has a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) for diving, bought second hand 23 years ago it has served us well, although we were unable to use the boat during lockdown we still had to meet storage and insurance costs. On returning to open water mechanical and electrical faults resulted in further expenditure. Repairs and maintenance to the dive boat is a constant source of concern to us and given the age of the boat is likely to remain so. Having a club boat reduces the cost of running a dive trip and allows members to explore marine life, undertake wreck diving, supports our underwater photographs and allows our members the experience, once trained, of boat handling.
To read the full story please visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/keeping-our-club-alive-1