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Shooters Hill LTC Chairman John Ratcliffe gesturing with his hands as he speaks

Spotlight on Volunteers: Shooters Hill chairman John Ratcliffe


My wife Caroline and our son Robert joined Shooters Hill when the local tennis club closed down and soon after in 2004 Caroline became secretary.

I started helping out in 2006 when the club lease was up and the committee decided to become a limited company. It has opened so many doors to funding as we have transparent accounts. It also meant we needed a board of directors, so more members took responsibility as volunteers.

We now have 12 on our board of directors, each with different responsibilities and we recruit members directly for key positions; our treasurer works for a major finance company and our website manager is an IT professional, for example. Caroline is the only volunteer who was around in 2006 when we changed status so we have had a complete turnover of volunteers, but no members have noticed a difference – it has been seamless manoeuvring new people in as roles became available.

No one model will fit every club. Shooters Hill is an inner-city club so has a transitional membership; professionals move around, few people stay longer than five years and we have only four retired members. We have 506 members now so we're a large club and the administration has increased enormously. If it continues to grow, we will have to look at paying someone to help.

John’s five top tips for supporting volunteers

  1. Volunteers need to know exactly what the role involves
  2. Roles should be manageable
  3. Identify expertise among your members
  4. Give any perks you get as a reward to volunteers
  5. Never get into a position where volunteers are stressed with the workload
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