This paper is prepared on behalf of Ayr Curling Club Development Group and is supported and endorsed by the Committee of Ayr Curling Club and the Board of Ayrshire Curlers Ltd.
The purpose of the paper is to outline the basic principles and benefits of affiliation to the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC) and to encourage our Clubs at Ayr which are not currently affiliated to become affiliated, and for greater numbers of individual curlers to become associate members.
In the current 2014/2015 season there are 42 individual Clubs within Ayr Curling Club but only 24 of these (56%) are affiliated to the RCCC. And of the 703 individual members in 2014/2015 only 460 (65%) are registered as associate members - albeit we have several members affiliated through Mother Clubs outwith Ayr. Of all the ice rinks in Scotland, Ayr has one of the lowest percentage levels of affiliation and individual registration.
Through its various activities the RCCC seeks to promote and support curling in Scotland, and to assist individual ice rinks both financially and otherwise in this objective. The lack of support for the RCCC by approximately half of Ayr’s curling clubs and approximately a third of our individual members has understandable implications for the level of support and assistance which the RCCC is prepared to give Ayr Curling Club. It also seriously impedes the efforts being made by Ayr Curling Club and the Development Group to develop further our relationship with the RCCC and to attract more RCCC investment, events, and competitions to Ayr.
As indicated later in this paper, this low level of affiliation is having tangible and measurable financial implications for Ayr Curling Club as our failure to increase the level of affiliation to the target set in the Development Plan agreed with the RCCC means that the Club will lose out on a considerable level of financial assistance from the Royal Club. In the current 2014/2015 season this could amount to £1,000 which although not a large sum of money in itself, is significant to the efforts being made by the Development Group to improve facilities at the ice rink, to encourage more people to take up curling, and to further develop our Junior curling.
This paper is part of the efforts of the Development Group to encourage more Clubs and individual curlers to affiliate to the RCCC and to help secure the long term future of curling at Ayr for current and future generations.
The RCCC is the governing body of curling in Scotland and as such is responsible for the rules and administration of the game. It is also regarded as the mother club of curling worldwide.
The objectives of the Royal Club are :
Membership of the RCCC is divided into two categories: curling clubs and individual curlers - the latter known as associate members
Curling clubs have to be members of the RCCC in order to take part in Province, Area or National competitions, the indoor and outdoor Grand Matches, and to benefit from the central administration provided by the RCCC.
Individual curlers are registered with the Royal Club by their Clubs and are known as associate members. Individual curlers only pay a single affiliation fee through their “Mother Club” even if they are members of two or more Clubs. They should however be registered by all their Clubs.
Individual curlers can only take part in RCCC competitions if they are associate members.
All associate members have a vote to influence the running of the RCCC and are entitled to vote on resolutions and the election of office bearers and directors.
The activities of the RCCC and the benefits of membership are wide reaching and cover the full spectrum of curlers from youngsters, first timers, Juniors, Club curlers, curlers who enjoy participating in Province, Area and National competitions, to the elite curlers who compete at national level including at the European and World Championships and the Olympics. In terms of Ayr Curling Club this last category has included Margaret Agnew (nee Morton) and Scott Andrews in recent years.
The RCCC has also been successful in bringing 4 World and European Curling Championships to Scotland over the next 5 years.
The following are some of the more detailed services and facilities provided by the RCCC and which we at Ayr have benefited from :
Importantly, all affiliated Clubs within Scotland and individual registered members are covered by the RCCC’s Public Liability Insurance Policy. This is a major attraction and benefit of RCCC affiliation.
It is important to note that it is only the individual registered curlers within an affiliated Club who are covered by the RCCC’s insurance policy and not necessarily all the curlers within an affiliated Club. ie those non-registered individual curlers within an affiliated Club are not covered. This is an important fact that all Club Secretaries should bring to the attention of their members. This is an important duty of care issue for Club Secretaries.
In addition to all the foregoing benefits provided by the RCCC there are additional practical schemes and programmes provided by the RCCC which we benefit a lot from at Ayr. Included in these practical programmes are the following :
In terms of Royal Club competitions open to members, these include the following :
All these events are organised and run by the RCCC, including the provision of umpires. The Clubs and individual members of Ayr Curling Club who are eligible for these events through affiliation take great enjoyment from competing in these events. The participation of our Clubs and members in the competitions, and their support for the RCCC, also brings considerable kudos to Ayr Curling Club and Ayr Ice Rink. The excellent achievement of our men’s and ladies’ teams in winning the Maxwell and Morton Trophies over the past two years has greatly enhanced the reputation of Ayr Curling Club – as has the enthusiastic and friendly nature in which our teams represent the Club (both on and off the ice)
The more Clubs we have affiliated to the RCCC the more teams which can compete in local Province competitions thus helping to sustain these competitions in the long run. Out of interest, one of the Clubs which we persuaded to become affiliated this season went on and won the Province Medal competition!! – well done Dalmellington Craigengillan.
It is one of the stated objectives of ACC Development Group to bring more RCCC competitions to Ayr, thus enhancing the role and status of Ayr as a centre for curling. This is important for the future of curling in Ayr. In addition, the holding of Area and National competitions at Ayr can only encourage our young curlers and Juniors to participate in competitive curling at a high level. The efforts by the Board and Ayr Curling Club to improve the facilities at Ayr Ice Rink in recent years have had this objective of enhancing the status of Ayr Ice Rink as an important regional centre for curling in Scotland. The support of the RCCC is also needed to achieve this aim so it is important that Ayr Curling Club and the RCCC have a positive and close working relationship. This is something that the officers of the RCCC are keen to foster.
In order to attract RCCC competitions and other investment by the RCCC it is important that Ayr Curling Club and all its member Clubs and members support the RCCC – and are seen to do so.
In the current 2014/2015 season there are 24 Ayr Clubs which are affiliated to the RCCC and 19 which are not. Within several of our affiliated Clubs the Club policy or constitution requires all of its members to be registered with the RCCC eg Troon Portland; the Gangrels; Galston Haymouth; the Disnae Virtual Club. Some other Clubs do not have this policy.
Ayr; Ayr Academy; Ayr and Alloway; Ayr Juniors; Beresford Ladies; Carnell; Crosshill; Cumnock and District; Dalmellington Craigengillan; Disnae Virtual Club; Doonfoot; Dundonald; Fairywell; Fullarton; Galston Haymouth; Gangrels; Kilmarnock Townend; Kilwinning Eglington; Kirkoswald; Loudon Academy; Sorn; St Leonards; Symington; and Troon Portland.
AAHB; Auchincruive; Ayr Country Club; Carrick; Construction League; Darvel; Icebergs; Irvine Ladies; Kirkmichael; Kyle and Carrick; Mardi Ladies; Mauchline; New Cumnock; Ochiltree; Stair; Straiton; Strathclyde Police; Tarbolton; and The Bunnets.
The Disnae Virtual Club is an important Club at Ayr. The Club is a vehicle for new curlers learning the skills, rules and etiquette of curling. New curlers who have come through the Try Curling and Beginners Classes join the Disnae Club where coaching and skills development are provided by the coaching team of Ayr Curling Club. The Disnae Club programme is a RCCC initiative to help foster curling in Scotland and to assist new curlers integrate into the sport of curling before joining traditional Clubs. Its members are also assisted by the RCCC through their input into Ayr Curling Club’s coaching programme and by financial help to individual members through reduced affiliation fees for the initial two year period of membership of the Disnae Club. All Disnae Club members at Ayr require to be registered with the RCCC.
The Disnae Club at Ayr is a very successful Club with healthy numbers and good support from experienced curlers. It is a good example of Ayr Curling Club and the RCCC working together to promote and assist the game of curling in Ayr. Given the role of the RCCC in the Disnae Club programme at Ayr, it is considered only fair that individual Disnae Club members should only join affiliated Clubs on progressing from the Disnae Club to traditional Clubs. This is the policy of Ayr Curling Club.
While we are seeking to achieve more affiliated Clubs we are also seeking for all our Clubs to have all their members registered with the RCCC. At present not all our affiliated Clubs require all their members to be registered with the RCCC and there are examples of affiliated Clubs having several non-registered individual members. We would like to see this position changed to a full complement of registered curlers. Apart from any other consideration, there is the Public Liability Insurance Policy issue to consider - as previously highlighted.
In the current 2014/2015 season the annual membership fee for the RCCC for an Ordinary Member is £19. For Juniors (under 21 years) the annual fee is £6.
There is no fee for a Club to become affiliated. A Club simply makes an application to the RCCC to become affiliated. The Club must have a minimum of 8 members. It is important to note however that those 8 members can be registered through separate “Mother Clubs”. It is considered that several of our non-affiliated Clubs could qualify for affiliation through this route eg Ayr Country Club and Kyle and Carrick where several of their members are registered with the RCCC through other “Mother Clubs”.
Given the wide range of facilities and support which the RCCC provides, an annual fee of £19 is considered extremely good value. This is reinforced by the fact that the RCCC is the recognised Mother Club of curling and promotes curling and the rules of curling internationally. The RCCC is also recognised by the Scottish Government as the governing body for curling in Scotland
An annual fee of £19 is extremely good value given all these considerations.
Since the formation of the current Development Group in September 2013 we have developed an excellent relationship with the RCCC through their Development staff Judith McCleary and Sheila Swan. Annual Development Plans have been agreed which contain targets for Ayr Curling Club across a wide range of curling activities. These include coaching, Juniors, Curling’s Cool, Try Curling, Beginners, Improvers , affiliation, coaches, facilities, disabled curling, colleges and universities, the Disnae Club, etc. Financial incentives are attached to each target and in relation to season 2013/2014 a total sum of £2,680 was paid by the RCCC to Ayr Curling Club for achieving the vast majority of the set targets. One of the targets not achieved was increasing our affiliation level to the target figure of 500 members.
Over the past couple of years we have made substantial progress at Ayr in terms of coaching, the number of qualified coaches, the number of schools and school children participating in the Curling’s Cool programme, the numbers at Try Curling and Improvers lessons, and the number of Juniors. We have also held well attended and enjoyed Coaching Masterclasses, and Strategy and Tactics evenings. This has been achieved with the support and practical participation of the RCCC and its staff and coaches.
As of the end of February 2015 we are well placed to achieving the majority of the targets for season 2014/2015. This is particularly the case in relation to the targets set for Try Curling, Improvers, Curling’s Cool, coach development, and Juniors and students. The key target of increasing the number of affiliated clubs from 24 to 25 and individual members from 464 to 500 will not be met which could result in a financial loss to Ayr Curling Club of a potential £1,000 which would have been paid by the RCCC if these targets had been achieved. This money could have been put to good use within the ice rink and Ayr Curling Club.
In 2014 Ayr Curling Club Development Group was also successful in obtaining a grant from the Big Lottery Fund. As with all Lottery grants it is a requirement for the applicant sports club to be a member of their national governing body or association. The Lottery grant obtained by Ayr Curling Club would not have been forthcoming if the Club had been not affiliated to the RCCC.
Financial assistance in the acquisition of our new curling stones was also provided by the RCCC and the World Curling Federation.
We have an additional reason for seeking to support the RCCC at this time. Our own Billy Howat is the current Vice President of the RCCC and will become President at the annual general meeting this June. This is a very important accolade not only for Billy but also Ayr Curling Club. We must all be seen to being supporting Billy in his leadership role within the RCCC where in addition to fulfilling his presidential role he will be seeking to promote curling at Ayr and to enhance the role of Ayr as an important regional curling centre.
To attract more investment and assistance from the RCCC, and achieve our aim of attracting more Area and National competitions to Ayr, and ensure the long term future of curling at Ayr, we all need to support the RCCC.
This paper is a plea from Ayr Curling Club and the Development Group to all our clubs to support the RCCC in whatever way possible. In particular it is a plea :
(a) to our existing affiliated Clubs to maintain that affiliation and continue to support the RCCC.
(b) to our non-affiliated Clubs to reconsider their position and to become affiliated as soon as possible.
(c) to all our individual curlers to become associate members of the RCCC. This can be done through their existing Club or Ayr Curling Club.
(d) to our affiliated Clubs to support all the Province and RCCC competitions.
(e) to all Club Secretaries to highlight to their members the issue of the RCCC’s Public Liability Insurance Policy.
On behalf of Ayr Curling Club we would ask that this paper and this request be considered by all our Clubs, in particular at their Annual General Meetings. There is a lot to be gained by Ayr Curling Club and Ayr Ice Rink through greater commitment and support for the RCCC. This applies particularly for our current youngsters and the long term future of curling at Ayr. The majority of us have enjoyed curling at Ayr over many years - and all the social benefits and enjoyment which have accrued from that curling experience. It is important that we all do what we can to ensure that those experiences can be enjoyed by our younger curlers in the years to come. The RCCC is keen to help us achieve that objective so please help us support the RCCC.
Ayr Curling Club Development Group