Info from Board of Ayrshire Curlers Ltd
15 September 2017
Following from the Future of Curling Event held by our Development Group, Andrew Kerr has shared some information regarding how Ayr Ice Rink is run.
This is shown here as a News Item and has also been put on the Ayrshire Curlers Ltd page in the Ayr Curling Club Tab. See here.
Unsurprisingly, it is apparent that most curlers are not aware of how Ayr ice rink is run. Back in the early 1970s, after the old rink in Beresford Terrace had been sold, there was no ice rink and the curlers of the day raised the funds through the issue of shares to purchase and convert the old dog racing track where we are today. That company was Ayrshire Curlers Ltd which is managed today by the Board of Directors - Liz Goldie (Chairman), James Galloway (Managing Director), George Hay (Company Secretary), Gemmill Jack, Jim Boswell, Andrew Kerr and joined at the AGM this year by Anne Kerr.
In order to obtain rates relief granted to sports clubs, Ayr CC was established and given a year to year lease. The club is primarily responsible for organising some although not all the competitions and for the bar and catering.
The Board is responsible for hiring the ice and office staff, the ice pads, ice allocations, RCCC competition bids, charges for skating and hockey as well as curling and for maintaining the plant and building fabric.
The Board and the Club share a common purpose in providing the best facilities possible and maintaining, if not growing, the number of curlers. The relationship between the Club and the Board has evolved over the years and, generally, works well with the Board able to take a longer term view than the Club which has a revolving President and committee. The Board are all volunteers and, for the avoidance of any doubt, none receive any renumeration ! They are, of course, required by law to act in the best interest of the shareholders but no dividend has been paid in recent times and an undertaking was given to Sport Scotland not to do so when that body match funded the replacement of the plant back in 2010.
The number of sheets of ice required by the curlers has been falling year on year. The costs of operating the ice rink are rising year on year and, just as an example, our electricity costs have just increased by £10k pa. Taking both these factors into account the Board looked to make savings which we were able to do by altering the session times. This enabled us to have one ice man instead of two on duty on nights with two evening sessions. However, the one man requires a longer period between the curling sessions as he has a wet cut to fit in on the small ice pad. We have managed to cut out most of the unpopular 9.30 sessions but we also tried to accommodate clubs' other requests and so we have a variety of ice times this coming season. We will see how it works out and will look again at the ice times next season, if necessary.
The finances of the ice rink are tight and frankly, without the skating and hockey it's unlikely that curling could survive. These other two disciplines now account for half the income.
Over the last few years the Board has invested in new stones and a new Ice Boss by way of interest free loans from the World Curling Federation which are paid back over a 5 year period. The Development Group assisted with the purchase of a new ice edger and these are all visible improvements. Not so obvious are the major repairs carried out to the roofs, new boilers, heating in the lounge and downstairs in the skaters' lounge and the replacement of corroded gas pipes. We have refurbished the girls' changing area and toilets and, this summer, also the gents' toilets downstairs. We have replaced half the barrier in the small rink, installed new doors at both the curlers' entrance and the main door and painted the lounge and office. On refurbishment works alone we spent £26k in 2016 and a further £19k this year. Fortunately, we were successful with grant applications to South Ayrshire Waste and Environment Trust which were submitted through Ayrshire Ice Sports Ltd.and these helped.
This company was set up on a not for profit basis in an attempt to secure charitable status. Unfortunately, our application to the charities regulator was rejected but we are still looking to pursue this as there are significant financial advantages in having charitable status.
The Board will continue to invest in improving the facility as and when funds permit. The ladies changing room and toilets are, we know, one area of concern but I can only repeat that funds are tight.
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Each month a report from the Board is given to the Ayr CC committee and questions to the Board can be raised either through the committee or straight to any of the Directors detailed earlier.