Letter from the Chair - wow!

Discussion in 'Horse Showing and Events' started by Nattyh, May 7, 2012.

  1. Double Helix

    Double Helix Well-known Member

    I am in two minds about that. The EWA/SEC have essentially made their money (if any) out of this from the hiring of the venue, they do not receive any entry fee profits. If a "private" club/organisation with no affiliation to the EWA hires the SEC and runs a training day is it up to the EWA to use their resources to promote the event?

    Surely PCAWA have their own calendar of events...
  2. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    PCAWA should advertise their own events as well but I do get what Nicki has said.

    The EWA calendar is very bad. It also lists some SEC held events but not all of them. But that could be because it isn't updated and they are late inclusions.
  3. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    I don't want to get hung up on the PC issue, my main point was that if they made it easier to see "What's on at the SEC" then I think a lot more casual and 'amateur' users would participate. As it is, it comes across as very exclusive and difficult to access information unless you are in a club or association that tells you when things are on.

    Personally I would like to join EWA and use the SEC, but I'd like to know what events are being held there to see if I will get my money's worth.

    I also agree with those who have suggested a pro-rata membership.
  4. katelol

    katelol Guest

    I would have thought that being placed on a "Whats on at the SEC" website would be of benefit to both parties.

    Wouldn't it encourage more clubs to hold activities there and help the centre to advertise how versatile and useful the grounds can be?

    The problem with this sort of website is that it you need to be dedicated to keeping it updated. If anyone goes to it more than once and finds the information is inaccurate or missing, then you just don't bother with it anymore :}
  5. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    The SEC already has it's own website. It's not that great. The photos of the grounds look like they were taken with a disposable camera and there's no info about upcoming events. This is a sadly under-utilised marketing tool that is sitting there doing nothing. And it seems it doesn't even do what it's supposed to do very effectively, i.e. booking stables, communicating with SEC etc.

    If parents of horse-crazy kids without their own horse knew they could take the littlies to watch some jumping or western shows etc for a cheap weekend activity (indoor stuff would be particulary attractive on rainy days) I reckon you could get some bums on seats and improve the atmosphere. SEC could state on their website something like "Spectators welcome to all events, with free entry unless otherwise stated" or "gold coin donation" or something.

    Would be a good bribe to use: "Mummy and daddy want to go have a nice lunch at a winery, if you kids behave yourself we'll take you to see the horses". It's a shame the SEC hasn't really connected with the whole Swan Valley Tourism thing.
  6. RPS

    RPS Well-known Member

    It's called value for money. I came from NSW 12 months ago and still have family there. I don't use the SEC, way too far to travel from Bunbury so sorry but i'm not paying to subsidise those who do use it.
    I have kept my NSW membership as i'm not sure how long i'll be here ( might only be another 6 months , could be 5 years ). I'd much rather pay my $140 a year and compete associate than the exorbitant fee of $465.00
    ( with joining fee, $365 with out ) to become an associate member here.

    Sorry but seems to me that there are some serious issues that need to be dealt with here. Perhaps EWA need to swallow their pride and ask the other states what they are doing and how they are funding their expenses. Maybe experience can be shared and lessons can be learnt, just a thought.........

    But then I have learnt that in a lot of aspects WA means Wait A While :p
  7. Teal

    Teal Well-known Member

    I would be much more inclined to join if you could pay monthly, I am amazed you can't already.
  8. crave

    crave Well-known Member

    You can now Teal, that's what has just been introduced :)
  9. Random_Winger

    Random_Winger Well-known Member

    Is EWA a completely separate entity from Equestrian Australia? I mean, surely if they branch out from the mother organisation, they have connections back to it and it's sister organisations Equestrian NSW, Equestrian South Australia.... which means they HAVE RESOURCES to help try to restabilise the business within the same means as the rest of country. They can't all be using the same patent/information/"quest of Olympic glory" and not be inter-connected.

    It just astounds me that they are pleading US for money to fix THEIR problems. I will never join EWA again, I ONLY joined for Interschools, so the membership in total was a waste of $300 bucks. Didn't use a stable, only used an arena and left.

    I may only be 19, but I'm no fool. They should completely separate EWA/SEC (and by that I also mean move EWA office to somewhere more commercial. RWWA used to be in Ascot close to the facilities, they are now in Osborne Park, and working LIKE A BUSINESS SHOULD. Maybe EWA need to talk to them..)

    They need to let SEC go, and it should be handed to a company, like VenuesWest, or develop their own board of dedicated people to run it like the states premier equestrian venue (which it most certainly isn't). They can take over the lease, and EWA can utilise that expense into caring for their members.
  10. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    EWA response

    I apologise for taking so long to post this letter. I have split it into two post as it was too long to fit in one apparently...

    > Dear Natalie,
    > Thank you for the link to the Stockyard thread in relation to the Chairman's
    > letter. There is a lot of feedback in the various posts and it would be
    > difficult for me to address each specific suggestion and issue, but I will
    > try to address some of the consistent themes that are common across a number
    > of the posts.
    > The first thing that comes through the posts, and some of the other feedback
    > that we have received, is the feeling of alienation of the members from the
    > organisation that has grown over the past few years. This view, as
    > expressed pointedly by Smash in his/her posts, is understood by the Board
    > and is something that we are trying to break down. The letter from the
    > Chairman and the request for feedback is the first step in trying to engage
    > with the members and break down the barriers that have been put up in recent
    > years, and we really hope that people see it as that. I hope that in the
    > near future there will be other opportunities for member engagement with EWA
    > and that our members and supporters take the opportunity to be part of that
    > process and help to strengthen the sport.
    > We know that in engaging with members we will face criticism for things that
    > have happened in the past and we have to accept that is going to happen.
    > However, what we are hoping is that once people have let off a bit of steam
    > that they will take the time to look at what we are doing now and if they
    > see that there is change beginning to take place they will be willing to
    > come part of the way with us. That change has started with the Board's
    > request for feedback and in the near future they will have an opportunity to
    > meet and discuss the many points that have been made and consider what
    > actions to take in relation to the feedback. So to the members who view the
    > situation from an "us and them" perspective, while I say that I can
    > understand that view, I would ask that you ask yourself whether maintaining
    > that position will help to resolve the issues. If you think not then have a
    > look at what we are doing now (not what has been done in the past) and if
    > you see that there is change happening, even if it is not as large or as
    > quick as you would like, please work with us to help create that change.
    > The membership fees are something that we have received a lot of feedback
    > about and that will be considered by the Board as we look to future
    > registration fees. While everyone would acknowledge the general correlation
    > between lower membership fees and increased membership numbers, the more
    > important question is "If we lower membership fees will we gain enough
    > members to generate the membership revenue that we need to balance our
    > budget?" If the reduction applied to future membership fees requires us to
    > have 3000 members to meet our income target then we have to look at that and
    > ask is it realistic to expect those numbers when the most members we have
    > had in any year in the last 10 years is about 2400. Probably not, but if
    > the reduction/income target says that we need 2300 members then I think that
    > is achievable. So we have to look at it in terms of both sides of the
    > equation, and while many think that a reduction will lead to a massive
    > increase in membership numbers we need to be mindful of what history tells
    > us is a reasonable membership figure to expect.
    > Having said that, we would like to be able to reduce fees in the future and
    > make the sport more affordable to potential members. In order to do that we
    > have to be able to generate increased revenue from other areas, most notably
    > the State Equestrian Centre, so you may well ask what we are doing in that
    > respect. We have appointed a new SEC Manager, Elvira Hilton, who has an
    > excellent background in business development and customer service, which is
    > an area that the SEC has lacked for a few years now. The initial feedback
    > we have received from venue hirers is that Elvira has been providing a
    > significantly better service than in past years which is pleasing to hear as
    > it means we have improved our service to members and outside clients and
    > makes the Centre more attractive to potential users, thereby increasing the
    > usage rate.
    > However, Elvira alone won't save the SEC, so we need to have more events
    > held at the venue, both equestrian and non-equestrian. You may have seen
    > that we have recently started some dressage and jumping training days at the
    > Centre which have quickly filled and we are also looking at how we can
    > organise some dressage events as well, which we would like to be able to run
    > this year. These two initiatives are in response to some of the feedback we
    > have received from members about how we could make the SEC more valuable to
    > them and help in their enjoyment in the sport. We'll see how they go and if
    > they prove valuable to the members then we would be pleased to continue with
    > them on a larger scale into the future.
    > Others have suggested running events like the much loved Night of the Stars
    > and master classes. They are all things that we are looking at for the
    > future to provide services to our members in which they have an interest and
    > generate some income for the SEC. If you have some favourite nights from
    > the past we'd love to hear from you what they were and if you do have an
    > interest in making one of those nights a reality we would really love to
    > hear from you.

  11. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    EWA Response Pt. 2

    > We're also looking at ways in which we can hold non-equestrian events at the
    > SEC. The first of these will be held in August when Tri-Events holds the
    > Western Mud Rush at the Centre. It's a bit of a trial event for both them
    > and us but if we can deliver what the organisers want there is no reason why
    > it can't become an annual event that will generate significant income for
    > the SEC. We would like to have three or four of these a year to generate
    > income while still maintaining the Centre as a predominantly equestrian
    > centre and if we can achieve that then it should enable us to lower the
    > reliance on members' fees to cover the costs of the SEC. We hope that some
    > of our members will enter the event to support it and hopefully make it an
    > annual part of the SEC calendar.
    > Whether the SEC remains a part of EWA or is passed on to others to manage is
    > a very important question and one that will take a considerable amount of
    > time to ensure that the right decision is made. We're currently making
    > every effort to ensure that control of the venue remains within the sport as
    > we would hate to see it given over to others. However, the Board also
    > acknowledges the current situation is not sustainable in the long run, hence
    > the efforts being made to generate more revenue so that we aren't forced
    > into a situation where we relinquish a wonderful asset for the sport. The
    > ideal situation that we are aiming for is to have the SEC generate the
    > revenue needed to cover its operating costs while government support assists
    > with the long term capital maintenance costs.
    > Some people have raised the question of Venues West taking over the running
    > of the SEC. While that may seem like a preferable option to many the
    > response we have received from sports which have handed over their venues to
    > Venues West is that it results in decreased access to the venue for the
    > sports and quite often increased hiring costs. The feedback that we have
    > received from the government organisations is that Venues West is also under
    > renewed pressure to ensure that their venues operate on a profitable basis,
    > meaning that the preferred rates given to sporting organisations will not be
    > so attractive in the future. So if people think that venue hire is already
    > too high then there is no guarantee that it will be any better under Venues
    > West and in fact the access to the venue may be more difficult and less
    > affordable for the sport.
    > Our website and general IT capabilities are something that has been noted by
    > some of the people providing feedback. They are comments that we agree with
    > wholeheartedly. We have not kept up with the IT revolution particularly
    > well but we are trying to change that. EWA has recently been accepted into
    > a program being run by the Department of Sport and Recreation that will look
    > at the IT systems in all areas of the organisation, make recommendations
    > about ways in which it can be improved and provide financial support for
    > software and hardware to implement the recommendations. It's a wonderful
    > program that will provide huge benefits for the sport and the SEC and will
    > hopefully help us to put in place some of the things that people have
    > mentioned - an improved website, better communication channels with members,
    > customer friendly booking systems for venue hire and stables (yes, the
    > stables!) and many other areas as well. If there is one down side to this
    > it is that being part of a government program it will take a bit longer than
    > we would like for it all to come to fruition, as they have their processes
    > that must be adhered to. However, the payoff will be worth the wait as it
    > will save us a lot of money and provide us with highly recommended systems
    > to implement. I'm sure you can't wait for the improvement and neither can
    > the staff.
    > Half yearly membership at a reduced rate (a 30% discount from what I can
    > gather in the files I have seen on it from the past) is something that has
    > come up in a number of emails received. For reasons unknown to me a
    > decision was made last year to change this reduced rate membership from mid
    > year to September. I think with the feedback received the Board will have a
    > look at this issue and consider your comments that it should come back in
    > for this year. As with all issues I can't make any promises on what they
    > will decide but I can promise that it will be raised for discussion.
    > Finally (thank goodness I hear you say!) I notice that Excelsior Centrepiece
    > has not had a response to his/her email. I have made an effort to try to
    > respond to all feedback received and if I have missed one then I apologise
    > for that. Maybe EC can get in contact with me at the office so that I can
    > chase up his/her email. Unfortunately without knowing a name, email
    > address, time it was sent or who it was sent to it is a bit like looking for
    > a needle in a haystack, but if EC can give me some of that information I
    > will be happy to find it and provide a response. Similarly, if there is
    > anyone else who has not had a response I would be pleased to hear from them
    > as I want to make sure all the feedback we receive is responded to and
    > considered by the Board.
    > There's been lots more issues raised and suggestions made but I think I
    > should leave it at that for the time being. I hope that you realise that
    > the effort being made by the Board to seek the feedback and support of the
    > members is genuine. If so then please consider giving EWA a bit of support
    > for the changes that we are trying to put in place. That doesn't
    > necessarily mean rushing out to join as a member (though that would be nice)
    > - it may just mean supporting one or two of the events we run and
    > acknowledging that what has happened in the past isn't necessarily what is
    > happening now. If we can get to that point then that seems like a pretty
    > good start and gives us something to build on for the future.
    > Kind regards,
    > Martin Shaw
    > Chief Executive Officer
  12. Random_Winger

    Random_Winger Well-known Member

    Well, I read a lot of "feedback" in that. That word may haunt me now *#)

    A very good response from the CEO, from a face value perception. I don't have the time or patience to get into the crux of it, but he has noted pretty much all the points we have brought up, especially the handling of the SEC and the state of IT. The engaging with members is still maybe a touch vague, but they've got a hell of a lot of footsteps to go, these are the first few baby steps, but it looks positive **)

    Thank you Mr Shaw, nice to see some direct answers.

    All I'm asking is that membership return to FINANCIAL YEAR, and prices are cut by 50% in December for mid-year intake. THEN I may be able to justify rejoining.

    And THAT'S my measely 2cents :p
  13. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    Well i have to say "It is a start" and I understand the baby steps, but i guess time will tell if they actually will follow up with what they are trying to achieve or they are just empty words that WA has heard for the last few years.
    The EA of WA have a good 5 years of past misleading and false promises to try and "cover up" (and i mean it in a way of getting peoples faith back for them) so people can trust them again.
    I wish them luck, but i truly hope that the EA start holding more competitions of their own to help cover their costs just like all other societies and associations have to and not rely purely on membership alone as they have for the last 5 years.

    When people start actually seeing the EA become more involved in the equestrian sport again, then i think the EA would of jumped their biggest hurdle.

    Time will tell, and i wish them all the best :)
  14. Rivvy

    Rivvy Active Member

    I take my hat off to you Mr Shaw, you have come into a situation that has taken many years to become the situation it has but you have come back with positive feedback. You have a big job ahead of you .
    I am a dressage competitor and have been for the last 15 years, I didnt think dressage in WA could have reached the all time low that it has. There just arent enough competitions , these equine atheletes are kept in full work. I have just gone to the dressage section on the EWA website and had a look at the "dressage leaderboards" , everything is still 2011 , is anyone responsible for updating the dressage section , we are nearly halfway through the year and the site is still dated 2011 !!!
    Also booking the stables is a nightmare, it took me a week and many ph calls as nothing was working via the net, after many ph calls I finally got one booked but it was a simple task that shouldnt have been that hard, I will not leave my horse tied up to my float unattended.
  15. sil

    sil Gold Member

    Fantastic response and just the right attitude needed to get positive and make things happen.
    I'm not a member (never have been) but as a casual/ARC rider if I can find a good reason to join then I am sure it can happen (especially with half year memberships and monthly payments).
  16. mb123

    mb123 New Member

    I am the only one that reads the letter as just a long regurgitation and acknowledgement of the suggestions that have been made by the members. Yes the CEO accepts there have been issues and quite often "owning up" is the first step, but didn't the chair of the board already do that.....

    Sorry I believe that the letter is trying to diffuse the situation and fooling people into thinking they have been heard. The proof that they have been heard is when the suggestions are taken on board, implemented and built upon.

    My question is rather than go to members and expect them to help sort out the situation by encouraging people to join the EWA and experience the benefits (get a warm fuzzy feeling), did the EWA board engage with any of the key stakeholders of the centre? Has there been any communication to these groups ie, ARCA, RDA, WASJA, PCAWA, Breed associations, anyone who runs an event or events at the SEC? I mean , if they need members surely co-operating with someone like PCAWA has ore than twice as many members, ARCA must have their fair share......
  17. sil

    sil Gold Member

    So what' you're saying is that responding personally to peoples' suggestions is a waste of time and they shouldn't bother?
  18. mb123

    mb123 New Member

    I didn't call it a waste of time ';'

    I simply said it was a regurgitation of what has been suggested in this thread:confused:

    And then asked if key stakeholder group had been engaged?
  19. Murray

    Murray Well-known Member Staff Member

    From the information posted I am still not sure who actually owns this valuable piece of real estate. Can someone please enlighten me in case I have missed something.

  20. Excelsior Centerpiece

    Excelsior Centerpiece Well-known Member

    Thanks Mr shaw!
    its nice to feel heard and that you have been listened to.

    i like the fact that you have opend up a little more and given insites into-

    1. the venues west option. i personally dont want to lose the sec and showing us you have done the home work on it is great, it has given us more understanding.

    2. the computer issues. thanks very much for showing us you are already taking steps to solve it. there are many things that can be done easily for now though-it isnt rocket sience! so hoping to see an imporvement soon in just basic things, such as website updated regularly.

    3. thanks for putting on training rounds and publicising them. keep doing it! i have only seen one newsletter blast about them- keep promoting them!!! this is where you fail each time. lack of self promotion.

    4. get fbook. can easliy for free post on status promotional updates from that and will make you more accessable to members and also close the gap we feel there is.

    5. the event such as the western mudrush- looks great and we are already planning on attending!


    6. you need to find a way to drop membership- i dont care about your budget, but thanks for explaining your reason behind it- but i wont be joining next year if its over 400 again. its that simple. i havent even used my membership this year... you need to stop relying on memberships to be your income as heavily as you do. or it shows that this comittee hasnt learned squat from the previous years mistakes.

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