PROPOSAL TO MERGE BICESTER RIDING CLUB (BRC) WITH OXFORD RIDING CLUB (ORC)
Following discussions amongst the BRC Committee, the Chairman has been in communication with the officers of Oxford Riding Club in regard to the possibility of a merger between the two clubs to save Oxford Riding Club (ORC) from being disbanded completely and to add strength and depth to BRC in terms of members and funds.
The Committee believes that such a merger would be of benefit to Bicester Riding Club and thus proposes that the merger with Oxford Riding Club be agreed by the membership. This proposal will form the basis of the Extraordinary General Meeting to be held on 16 April 2021.
It should be noted that the following points were raised and have been discussed in Committee, any further questions should be sent to the BRC Secretary, Niki Jackson, at firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be raised at the EGM.
It was agreed that the name of the newly-merged club would be “Bicester and Oxford Riding Club”. ORC has been in existence for nearly 50 years and it was felt that this history should not be lost by simply being absorbed into Bicester Riding Club (BRC).
After canvassing their membership, ORC anticipates that 15 existing members will wish to join BRC. These new members will be offered a discount of £5 on renewal as per renewing BRC Members for a certain period of time (TBA). Thereafter, should any wish to join, the fee will be the published £30.00 for new members. Non-riders will pay £15 which is the same for both clubs currently.
As BRC is in a solid financial position it was felt that any merger should not take place if ORC were in financial difficulties or had any debts. It has been confirmed that ORC has available funds to inject into the new club and no debts.
ORC has proposed that they bring £1,500 into the new club with the balance of their bank account (c. £500) being donated to a charity of the ORC’s members choice. It has been noted that expenditure on rosettes, saddle pads, etc, for BRC has been temporarily held because of these discussions, so this injection of funds will go towards a new club logo and club colours for teams and a members’ activity (TBA).
ORC has for some years run a junior section. This was mainly driven by the Chairman whose daughter is a talented and competitive rider and has now reached the age of 20. BRC has not previously been open to juniors and, on discussion, it was felt that the Pony Club offered better opportunities and development for young riders and that safeguarding issues would be onerous. It appears that only 2 or 3 ORC junior members may wish to join. Thus, it was agreed that the newly-merged club would not offer membership to those under the age of 18 at this point, but it may be reviewed in the future.
British Riding Club Area
ORC has been affiliated to Area 5 (West Midlands), with BRC in Area 6 (Buckinghamshire). The Area 6 representative who was pleased to learn of the possible merger, has expressed a preference for the new club to remain in Area 6 as it was a relatively small Area and Area 5 had numerous clubs with many members. This would have little or no impact on current BRC members taking part in Area events and it was felt that Wellington (Area 6 events) was perhaps equidistant to Solihull (Area 5 events). This preference was echoed by the BRC Committee and ORC are happy with this as Area 5 has some large clubs and it is an extremely competitive Area.
Some concern was raised by the BRC Committee in respect of the additional workload that an influx of new members would put on the Committee, particularly with regard to organising additional clinics and events. Following discussion with Libby Reeves from ORC, who is keen to assist with the organisation and provide an additional pair of hands these fears have been allayed, and it is felt that the extra activities that ORC will bring will give BRC members more opportunities to attend other venues and clinics. It was noted that ORC did organise four fun hacks during the course of the year (each named after a flower for that season) which are extremely popular and it was hoped that these would continue, along with the organisation of the dressage at Tackley Show.
Given that some considerable time and effort had been expended on rewriting the BRC Constitution, Code of Conduct and Privacy Statement to bring all up-to-date and relevant to current legal requirements, these documents would remain in place for the whole of the newly-formed club and new members would be expected to adhere to these principles but would be updated with the new name.
It was felt that to encourage integration, some of ORC’s committee members should be asked to become members of the new committee. Therefore, should the merger go ahead, the Chair of ORC will take on the Club Secretary role, their Clinics Manager will join the BRC clinic team and their current Treasurer will transfer to the same role within the new committee.
BRC Club Camp
This is taking place at Boomerang on 11 – 13 June. It is known that some current ORC members would like to attend and this could be possible, depending on how long any merger takes in terms of administration.
The Way Forward
BRC must hold an Extraordinary General Meeting for its membership to vote on a potential merger and ORC must hold an AGM with the remainder of its membership. Following this, minutes from both meetings will be submitted to British Riding Clubs for approval of the merger and new club name. It was agreed this should happen ASAP.
There will be other items of administration to be undertaken in the first few weeks and months but this should not inconvenience Club members. The current BRC bank accounts will need to be closed and one opened for the newly-formed club. Discussion is to be held on the website as both BRC and ORC operate their own sites. The British Riding Club third-party insurance will be transferred to the newly-merged club and there will not be a break whilst the merger takes place.
Bicester Riding Club Committee
7th April 2021