Concerned at the level of Membership Fees in 2009?

asa Headquarters Relocation

David points out that the need to relocate the asa Headquarters in Loughborough has been the subject of  lengthy discussion over a number of years. He continues,  "As you may be aware the present HQ covers many different buildings across Loughborough and the costs in terms of maintenance and efficiency, i.e. energy and services, to the membership has in the past been the subject of much debate. In a nut shell the time had  finally come for a long awaited decision to be made which had to consider the needs for a new location which was fit for purpose for both staff and the services it offered to the Membership." 

David attended a special meeting at Loughborough in September 2008 on behalf of Somerset ASA together with representatives from across the country to hear proposals from the asa Board which outlined the rational for relocation to newer premises.  The meeting was very open and did press the Board on a number of issues, not least the cost to the membership of relocating in such difficult times. However it was clear that the present premises are no longer a viable option and by relocating to newer premises and disposing of existing buildings the Board had in fact negotiated a cost effective relocation package which offered better long term efficiency savings and benefits to members.  After lengthy discussion the meeting ended and agreed unanimously to accept asa Boards proposals to move to new facilities which will be ready by the beginning of 2010.
The reason why it appears membership fees have increased by such a large amount this year can be explained in two ways.
Firstly the National Members Forum proposed to asa Board earlier in the year for an increases in fees by £1.00p for category one and two members and a zero increase for category three members. This increase would have in effect increased the fees to: Category 1 £5.75p Category 2 £19.00p and Category 3 £3.50p 
As part of the relocation package a special 'one off levy' upon membership fees to raise capital funding for the project was also agreed.  This Special Levy was calculated at approximately £1.37p per member of the asa or 16% - 17% across the board and would be set aside for the new build project. It was stressed that it was a one off payment by the asa Board and no further increases on membership fees (apart from inflationary) would be needed in future years-- please see below the extract from asa Board minutes July 2008 ................
Membership Fees

75.1 The meeting agreed to increase the fees proposed by the Members’ Forum to build up funds for the planned office re-location. It was noted the asa will receive income from HPS Ltd, British Swimming and the asa subsidiary companies located in the new premises. It was agreed to add approximately 16%/17% to the fees proposed by the Members’ Forum (rounded for ease of calculation) across all categories.
The 2009 membership fees were agreed as follows:
Category 1 - £6.75
Category 2 - £22.00
Category 3 - £4.00
Voting – unanimously agreed.
David hopes this explanation will at least give you some reasoning/rational behind the recent increases. Please be assured that the County Management Committee are always conscious when membership fees or any other financial increases are made to our members, particularly when it can cause hardship to some or potentially can make the sport inaccessible to certain groups.  However on this occasion the County Management Committee believe it was the right way to go and if we see improved services from the asa, particularly from Membership Services, something that David was given personal assurance upon by the Director of Operations asa that this will happen, then we believe the right decision has been made.

County Affiliation Fee

Until 31st March 2009 the County Affiliation fee remains at £0.75, a level that is reflected in services we provide detailed throughout this website and in particular in our Development Plan.
New direction in Government Funding

As a County we acknowledge an apparent change in direction by Government and are aware of some of the issues currently affecting our County Sports Partnerships (CSP).  Somerset ASA have a very close working relationship with both SASP and Wesport and we have provided financial support to both in recent years together with Regional funding to deliver our County wide Talent Development Programme and other County wide initiative.  We would be extremely concerned if the new proposals for funding left them (CSP) without the required resources to develop our sport in the County.  In this respect we are concerned at the way in which courses are being made available, in particular in areas of the County well away from Taunton.  Again please be assured that the Somerset ASA will make every effort to secure the services of our Sports Partnership throughout the County long term and will seek every available option to see this happen.  However the County ASA also has a limited source of funding derived only from our membership and generated income from County Championships and events.  In recent years we have spent considerable sums toward development in the County.  This has only been possible due to the prudence of our Treasurer Ray Warren and careful planning that we have been able effect without increasing our own Membership Fees.  In fact we have been reducing them!

Swimming Championship Qualifying Times

Somerset ASA is the last County to fall into asa line by implementing Qualifyng Times for our 2009 Championships.  The status of our event will be rightly improved and act as a focus for County wide training and development.  However the revenue generated will reduce and without a Development Gala, which we hope to implement towards the end of 2009, some difficult times could be ahead.    
We do however recognise the value of our volunteer work force and in Partnership with the Region have made significant progress towards providing financial support wherever we can. In this respect we still have bursary awards available to assist with Level One and Level Two approved courses, which can provide in some cases up to 50% of the costs.  Details of the scheme can be found on our development pages.   

Our new website also allows you to register and join a forum or blog in terms of your view on these or any other issues.  Why not join in and leave us a comment?

David Flack, our Development Officer, welcomes contact from any of our members.  Why not send him a message to contribute to the management of your funds? 

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