The Huon Valley PCYC has had its share of trials over the last couple of years, with staff and board members resigning, troubled finances, fights with neighbours and long-term users and an inability to attract and retain regular instructors or administer indoor sporting rosters.
However, with a fresh new board of 10 members, led by new president and current Huonville Men’s Shed secretary Charles Johnston, there is hope for revitalisation and that the full potential of the club may be realised.
Charles is supported by a strong team making up a well-rounded board, including the executive, Huon Valley Community Bank Branches board member Gillian Griggs as treasurer, Huon Valley Relay for Life coordinator Megan Graham as secretary and former candidate for Huon Valley councillor Allison Bligh as vice-president, as well as representatives from several sporting clubs in the region making up some of the rest of the board members.
“I’m really pleased with the composition of the board that we’ve got,” said Mr Johnston.
“We’ve got people from representative sports, as well as people who’ve got no idea about sports, but actually have some clue as how to run an institution with governance in mind, and that is a good combination I think.”
Unfortunately, the first order of the new board was to shut the doors in the face of the COVID-19 restrictions, but they have not been idle, teaming up with long-term user, Andrew Blackett and volunteers from the Edmund Rice charity to do a thorough stock take and clean out of the entire building.
The PCYC employees, supported by JobKeeper, have also been performing vital maintenance work to ensure that everything will be running smoothly when the club is ready to re-open.
“The courts are a mess right now, we’ve taken everything out of storerooms, we’re rationalising everything and we’ve made a lot of trips to the tip,” said Charles.
“I’ve always thought the place was not especially inviting, but we’re considering ways to up- date the look and appearance.
“I would rather under promise and over deliver than the other way around, but we’ve got some things in progress, fixing the netting so that people can play cricket safely and the fun factory can resume operations.
“And the courts will start getting cleaned regularly and properly, we’re engaging with the Men’s Shed to do those activities on a more routine basis.”
The board will also look at increasing untilisation by reintroducing indoor sporting rosters and reestablishing relationships with users, such as fitness instructors, community groups and sporting clubs.
Key to this will be the hiring of a new general manager (please see the advertisement in this week’s Huon News).
The PCYC currently has one employee at 32 hours per week and two trainees, but Mr Johnston said it is not physically possible for the centre to reach its full potential under those circumstances and, as well as recruiting a new manager, the board will look to increase employee numbers to coincide with re-opening the centre.
“The membership is huge, and to achieve the sort of things that the members want, we really do need to have skilled, qualified people employed to look at those services,” said Mr Johnston.
“I think the biggest overhead for the club will be the wages bill, but if we can secure the revenue through activities and improved utilisation of thevfacilities then it could cover it.”
He said that grants could help with improvements to the facilities, such as replacing expensive halogen lights with more efficient LED lighting, but, given the current situation, with governments in debt and businesses and community organisations all clamouring for help to remain viable in the post COVID-19 world, they won’t be relying on grants “falling out of the sky” to help them.
“When restrictions allow for the centre to re-open, the board will need to implement a COVID-19 safety plan and evaluate whether the conditions of re-opening allow the club to be viable,” said Charles.
“We ask the members to remain patient, as all memberships will be extended by the duration of the lockdown, and we will be announcing the next moves via our Facebook page, when we have dates we can commit to.”