I hope that this finds you well, and that you are continuing to enjoy your bridge, whether online or F2F. In this newsletter to SBU members I want to highlight a number of new and exciting developments.
Considering our responsibilities as we return to ‘a new norm for bridge clubs’
Firstly, particularly in light of the prevalence of a new strain of COVID-19 and Scottish Government statements, we need to remind players of the legal requirement to wear masks at bridge clubs. It is an individual’s responsibility to wear a mask (although some clubs may be misinterpreting current Scottish Government policy when they ‘allow’ masks not to be worn in certain circumstances).
We must ensure that playing in clubs and at congresses is carried out in an environment in which all players are comfortable. It would be wonderful to see more people returning to clubs and that these precautions, which we have largely come to terms with in our daily lives, are observed.
We seek Government agreement via the Covid Unit of Public Health Scotland that the use of Perspex screens is an acceptable mitigating feature at the table. If so, the SBU will purchase these to use in the Peebles Congress, and they will otherwise be available to clubs for hire.
SBU to become Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO)
At the SBU general meeting of 30th August, 2021, you gave Alan Goodman, elected as my successor at the 2021 SBU AGM, a mandate to proceed on our behalf with the process of seeking approval from OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Register) for the set up and registration of a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). On 28th October 2021 OSCR wrote to Alan Goodman, stating that our application to become one had been successful.
What does this mean for club players/members of the SBU?
The SBU, an unincorporated association with no legal entity, is now on a journey to fully ‘switch’ to a SCIO, a legal structure which has been purpose built for the voluntary sector in Scotland.
The Trustees are now refining various governance-led documents which reflect the Vision and Goals of the new entity, as outlined in the Draft Constitution submitted to OSCR and the detail in the application itself.
They envisage a welcoming receptive member-led organisation, focused on effective communication, growth and continuous learning, embracing change whilst continuing to improve, which should directly benefit clubs and members alike.
A meeting will be held on 11th January, which will seek final agreement from members for the ‘switch’ of the membership and assets from the ‘Old Org’ to the New, with a projected start date for the new SCIO. A formal notice will be issued to members mid-December, which will include the working constitution accepted by OSCR, and some detail of the so-far intentions of the Trustees.
Carolyn Dempsie, who has been the SBU Secretary since 2019, has stepped down from the role. She has served the SBU council and members with considerable ability, tact and goodwill and we shall all miss her professionally and personally.
At present all mail to the SBU Secretary is redirected to myself. Once the Trustees are clear what is required in the way of admin support in the new organisation, the role will be advertised, but meanwhile do let me know of your interest, or of possible contenders.
Future landscape of competitive bridge in Scotland: SBU tournament charging policy
Our Tournament Convenor has drawn up a paper which outlines the rationale and outcome of SBU tournament charging policy. This paper, developed in response to member queries, will be one of the items considered by the working group, and is available to any interested member, on request.
SBU Future Updates
Embracing change the SBUNews is evolving – the editorial board’s first monthly newsletter, aimed predominantly at Bronze players, will be available digitally from mid-December. It will be circulated to all members, as well being posted on the SBU website. Your feedback, as always, will be sought.
A quarterly E-zine, with a projected first publication date of February 2022, will also be circulated and available on the SBU website.
With best wishes.
Scottish Bridge Union