As with all other clubs in the region, our last couple of months have been very quiet. We initially allowed some play with restrictions in March, but as soon as formal Covid 19 restrictions were imposed, we closed the club completely. We felt that our social responsibility in this time of national and international emergency was over-riding.
The Management Committee was in ongoing discussion as to how to handle the situation. Although we didn’t use Skype or Zoom, there was an ongoing exchange of emails and phone calls to discuss how to handle the cost of grounds management, keeping members informed, and how to reopen.
As soon as the State Government agreed to the National guidelines in early May and CAQ also gave its imprimatur, we organised a plan to reopen. We recommenced a limited form of play on March 19th, allowing ten people at a time to play in five single games on our five courts for up to 10 time-slots per week. Members pre-booked and will keep these time slots till we can open further in June. There has been no use of the kitchen and observation of social distancing of course. Committee members are helping to make sure that play is supervised and that balls, pegs, and hoops when they are drawn and replaced are adequately sanitised. While this is a lot of work for Committee members, others have offered to help and co-operation has been good. Most members seem very happy to go along with these restrictions and look forward to open play. Hopefully there will be some sort of limited inter-club competition later in the year.
There has been ongoing activity around the club while play was restricted. Noosa is a self-contained area, we are fully fenced and we look after a lot of our own maintenance. We pay for professional lawn management, the surrounding gardens and grounds area are maintained by volunteers. Although we cut down our costs, our budget will nevertheless be affected for this financial year. After some discussion with our grounds staff, we managed to come to an arrangement where we would maintain our lawns at a reduced level of management. When we commenced again in May and our playing fees started coming in, this loss should be bearable. Like other clubs, we have had some State Government financial support, and some members have contributed to keep our finances healthy for the time being.
Volunteers have used this time to continue to work around the club, keeping our gardens and our fruit and vegetables going – you can see these in the photograph. The grounds themselves actually look neater than they have in a long time! One growth area has been in dollars for used drink containers – our income from that has seen an increase lately! In the last 12 months the Club raised over $1500 from this source. No reason why this should not continue when we reopen?
We now all wait for mid-June when we should be able to be able to play doubles and mingle in the clubhouse for refreshments. It won’t be long. We have had a number of queries from the public about wanting to learn more about croquet – staying at home has inspired people to think about what they can do when restrictions ease. As soon as the Club is able, we will have some Come and Try mornings when people can see what this is all about – we will advertise these so interested people can come and have a look (at the appropriate social distance of course!)
Our longest serving member, Brenda Bradley, enjoyed her 90th birthday recently (photo attached). Brenda has been a member of the Club since its beginnings at its old home in Tewantin over 25 years ago. She has been an active member all this time and is a past President and life member of the Club. Like all of us, she has been frustrated of late at being cooped up, but we hope to see her back on the courts soon. The Club wishes her well.