Dunstable & Silsoe Hunters AGM

29th November 2023

AGM Minutes taken by Toni Boyer.

Minutes of the Inaugural meeting held on the 2 March 2023 have been confirmed as a true record.

Confirmed by…Rex Ellis… Seconded by……Trudie Ellis…..  

Committee Members: Rex Ellis, Trudie Ellis, Toni Boyer, Martin Herbert, Liz Jones, Julie Jones, Claire Molin, Nick Pomery, Trudy Smither, Tim Snodgrass, Bryan Whalley (with Interpreter Sally).

Members: Barbara Bellamy, Bob Bellamy

Apologies received from the following Committee Members: Luke O’Connell, Alex Ellis, Renato Natale.


1. WELCOME - Rex Ellis (RE) welcomed all to the meeting. 
Explaining the formation prior to new members/committee additions.
Sally may need a break from signing for Bryan
Fire door left and right
Toilets on the right
Constitution is currently online. We plan on keeping everything online and accessible online and in the Whatsapp group.


2. CONSTITUTION – Trudie Ellis (TE) proposed the following for our clubs constitution.
a) Appointment to the key roles of the committee
b) Agreement to continue banking with Metro bank
c) Agreement that the bank will be controlled by the Treasurer and Club Secretary
d) Agreement that the bank will need both the Treasurer and Club Secretary to sign each cheque. Both parties will be a joint signatory
e) Agreement to continue using the Spond App
f) Agreement that busy sessions will need to be booked in advance via the Spond App
g) Agreement that Silsoe will be solely on the Spond App and a cashless club due to location.
h) Agreement that the annual fee be set at £12 and to run from the 1 March each year
i) Agreement that there is no discount for periods of less than one year
j) Agreement that the subs be set at £4 for less than 2-hour sessions and £5 for 2-hour sessions, only subject to change if the court hire fees change. Times are ‘session times’ not ‘attendance time’.
k) Agreement that the introduction to pickleball fees be set at £10 per person and a free first session thereafter
l)Agreement to be able to register as a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) at the 12 months stage of starting, membership must remain under £1612 pa (based on a 52 attendances per year) and any member unable to pay more than £520 per year on membership would have the remainder free of charge. Currently our max membership is £272, and we comply with these rules
m) Agreement that all club members can vote at an AGM and EGM
n) Agreement that the Treasurer will be paid minimum wage (£10.42) for 1 hour work on each club per week
o) Agreement that the introduction to pickleball sessions pay for class II coaches at £30, Class I coaches at £25 and/or Club Leaders at £20 per hour
p)Agreement that the Club Leaders course fees will have a 50% contribution paid for by the club funds. These are usually in the region of £30-£50 per course
q) Agreement that the committee can form a WhatsApp group for decisions to be made remotely. Any committee member at any time can request a meeting in person should they feel the topic requires it. A vote will then be taken to confirm if a meeting is required. No more than 1 meeting will take place per month

All attendees in Favor Yes/No. Against Yes/No.

Proposer…Toni Boyer… Seconded by…Liz Jones……..  


3. UPDATE ON PROGRESS (RE) We have now been running our pickleball club here in Dunstable for over 8 months, since the 16 March 2023. We started playing 1 hour on Thursdays and 2 hours on Saturdays at the Dunstable Centre. With 7 players during the first week.

Not knowing if we had just committed ourselves to paying for courts that were sat empty. Working out the difficulties our sports hall had, from short ends of the court, litter from previous session users, lack of storage and very little availability to book courts at the times and on the days we wanted. Double bookings by the centre staff. Many frustrating tasks faced us, and we battled on.

We did look at alternative sports halls, and with the higher prices of other halls and the impending rebuild of Houghton Regis Sports centre, and the fact that they are not rebuilding a sports hall, we took it upon ourselves to make the most of the centre we have.

So, what has changed since that first week?
We have our own nets, club paddles, balls, and a ball machine for all to use.
We have storage, finally.
We arrange training courses for those who want them.
We have now joined partnership with Silsoe. 
We have gone from 7 members to 118 at the last count.
We offer 4 sessions a week at Dunstable, total of 24 court hours per week.
We offer 3 sessions a week at Silsoe, another 11 court hours per week.
Our members have entered various events around the country, from Festivals, Tournivals & Inter club leagues to The English Open (with over 1000 competitors) and the English Nationals (with over 600 competitors).
We have our first medal winner from the English Nationals; Renato Natale winning Bronze medal in the 60+ 3.0 Singles.

All these achievements are because we have so many great members, that not only know it is not my club, it is also not Trudie’s club, these clubs belong to its members, all of you, we thank you all for making it so great.

  1. FINANCE – (RE) The following have been purchased in order to run the clubs.
  2. Liability insurance (annual cost)
  3. 6 Nets (currently 2 nets still to be paid for, see Treasurers report)
  4. Paddles
  5. Balls
  6. A ball machine & balls (paid for by donations from club members)
  7. Storage box
  8. Sports bags
  9. Ball trolley
  10. Court Fees (monthly cost, currently around £1500pm)


Club balance, as of 28 Nov 23 is £164.14, Assets £2137.05 Total £2301.19

All attendees in Favor Yes/No. Against Yes/No.

Proposer…Rex ELLIS… Seconded by……Julie Jones…..  



(TE) The court fees did rise to £9.50 per court per hour (pc/ph) on the 1 Oct 23. Previously off peak was billed at £8.40 pc/ph and peak were £9.50. The Dunstable Centre, agreed to freeze this price from March to September only. Silsoe Community Sports Centre charge £11.25. Both centres will review their court fees in April 2024. Therefor the annual club membership fee is to be £12pp/pa with Subs to be £4 for less than 2 hours and £5 for 2 hours.

Everyone in agreeance for Annual membership Fee of £12
Concerns around cost of courts rising. Trudie explained that we may need another meeting between now and March if rates rise considerably.
Discussion around pro-rata. Current system means everyone pays £12 at any point of the year. Several people disagree with this system.
11 votes to keep £12
2 votes to reduce this after 6 months
Final Vote: If you pay £12 membership after January/February 2024 you get a free session.
Everyone in agreeance of session fees/subs of £4 under 2hrs and £5 over 2hrs.

All attendees in Favor Yes/No. Against Yes/No.

Proposer…Rex ELLIS… Seconded by……Liz Jones…… 



(TE) All additional committee member titles have been added. None have been rejected. Names have been allocated their positions.
Matin Herbert’s name was missing and has now been added.

Election of committee members

  • Director & Chairman – Rex Ellis
  • Treasurer – Rex Ellis
  • Deputy Treasurer – Luke O’Connell
  • Director & Club Secretary – Trudie Ellis
  • Welfare Officer (WO) – Julie Jones
  • Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) – Claire Molin
  • Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer (DDSO) – Rex Ellis
  • Media & Communications Lead – Toni Boyer
  • Deputy Media & Communications Lead  – Trudie Ellis
  • Social Events Lead – Liz Jones
  • Fund Raising Lead – Tim Snodgrass
  • Deputy Fund Raising Lead – Liz Jones
  • Deaf & Hard of Hearing Lead – Bryan Whalley
  • Committee Member – Nick Pomery
  • Committee Member – Alex Ellis
  • Committee Member – Trudy Smither
  • Committee Member – Renato Natale
  • Committee Member – Martin Herbert

All attendees in Favor Yes/No. Against Yes/No.

Proposer…Rex Ellis.… Seconded by……Julie Jones……..  


7. PLANS FOR 2023/24 (TE)

Re-enforced the message of “BALL or BALL ON COURT” STOP play straight away if a ball from another court enters your playing surface. The point is replayed following this “hinder call”. Likewise, if a ball is hit into another court, players should immediately yell “BALL or BALL ON COURT” to warn those players and indicate who that ball should be returned to. DO NOT follow a ball onto another court to return it or retrieve it until the play on that court has ceased.” Do not kick the ball. Pick the ball up, look to see who wants it, then return it by rolling/throwing – whichever you choose, it must be in a controlled manner.

  1. Court bookings – The number of courts may vary from time to time but it is under constant review. However, if the numbers of players regularly go high then our online booking system, Spond will be used for more sessions.
  2. Coaching sessions for members who would like to advance will continue to be offered.
  3. Encouragement and support to play in Festivals, Tournivals, inter-club leagues, The English Open & the English Nationals. We have the Hunter Pack Games & 3 Counties league coming.
  4. Adaptive Pickleball Players. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with AP rules. There are currently only 2 that apply in our club, these are 2 bounce rule on the 2nd and 3rd shot or a lob. The second bounce may be outside of the court.
  5. Deafness. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with some basic sign language, scoring is a minimum. We currently have 2 local deaf players, some more may join our clubs.

The Clubs will run in the following manner over the next 12 months:

  1. Regular indoor sessions will be run at Dunstable Mondays 10-12pm, 3 courts (currently on a 3-month probation period, started 2 Oct 23), Thursdays 6-7pm, 3 courts  and 7-8pm, 3 courts (via Spond) and Saturdays 8.30am – 10.30am, 6 courts. Court number 1 will be used for Introduction courses or the ball machine until members need the court for standard play.
  2. Regular indoor sessions will be run at Silsoe Mondays 4-6pm, 2 courts (The 2nd court is currently on a 3-month probation period, started 6 Nov 23), Thursdays 7.30-9pm, 2 courts and Fridays 2-4pm, 2 courts.
  3. Volunteers will be needed to help run the sessions. Registration sheets must be completed and returned to the Treasurer each session; this can be via the WhatsApp group for each club.
  4. Coaching sessions will be held as and when required, at a cost set by the coach(es). This is payable by the attendee.
  5. Friendly matches will be arranged as and when required.
  6. Slip End will resume in the summer months.
  7. 3 members have completed a Pickleball Leaders Certification Course. Others are encouraged to do so.
  8. All new players are to attend an Introduction to pickleball session at a cost agreed, then have a taster session for free.
  9. The Pickleball England Safeguarding and protecting young people policy is to be enforced.
  10. We shall continue the search for outside space for Pickleball court(s).
  11. The clubs are to apply for CASC membership in March 2024 (1 year of accounts).

Liz Jones has suggested going for a meal for the 1st Anniversary and for the End of Summer party being the ‘proper’ event where people can play Pickleball.

Fundraising committee must be set up. Plans must be made as to what funds are being raised and how they are to be spent. Trudie Ellis would like The Hunters to consider the club fundraising and helping people with funding their personal competition costs. This is something members are willing to adopt if the funds are there.

All attendees in Favor Yes/No. Against Yes/No.

Proposer…Trudie Ellis… Seconded by……Toni Boyer……..  



  • Can we change the Saturday session from 8.30-10.30am to a 10am start.

We first had our Saturday session at these times and struggled to get members interested, therefore we changed the time to the current time. We are now getting 25 – 30 members playing at this time.

We also set up a Monday session 10-12 noon for Members luckily enough to have that availability to play at this time of day.

Conclusion – Saturdays will stay at the same time. Members who want a later start are encouraged to play on Mondays, when available.

  • Liz Jones asked how many true members the club has.

Rex responded 80%. 

  • Liz Jones asked why people are coming from other clubs for the introduction without intention of continuing to play at that specific club.

It is very difficult to ensure we only give an introduction session to people who want to join our club. They are free to go where they want. As we charge £10 per person, we will cover our costs.

  • Barbara raised the concern that we no longer have children playing at the club and what has happened to them. 

Rex Ellis has explained that whilst the club is and has always been open to children, there is not as much interest for children. Rex Ellis and Trudie Ellis explained that they tried to advertise to children and appeal to them in schools. Children can still come along for training on a Saturday. Special paddles are available for under 10s. Children still need introduction to Pickleball and will also still need to pay the £12 membership.

  • Are we bringing tea and coffee to the Hunter Pack Games?

Yes, plus biscuits.

  • Rex Ellis is concerned about Health and Safety and wants to remind everyone to call if there’s a ball on court.

Play must stop and the ball must be picked up. Balls should not be kicked.

  • Adaptive Pickleball – we’ve spoken to Pickleball England and right now the only AP rules they offer are for disabled players or players with lower mobility in wheelchairs.

A policy was produced by Rex Ellis to Pickleball England with suggestions on what could work for other players with mobility issues that are not wheelchair users. Sashes are being produced to let other players know about adaptive pickleball rules. This will be trailed for 3 months at the Hunters.

  • Discussion about deaf Pickleball

Players are encouraged to use sign language if they know it, but to ensure they are still mouthing the words used so that players can lipread too.

  • Reminder for people to continue pulling their weight when setting up and putting away. 

If a net is not up, put it up. It is being noticed that people are turning up later and leaving earlier to avoid putting the effort in. Nobody is paid for this and it is everyone’s job.

  • Christmas meal – Wednesday 6 Dec 2023 at the Coconut Garden restaurant.

Reminder of Secret Santa £5 limit. Sit wherever, no table plan. Be prompt.


9) Meeting closed at 20:55

© Copyright. All rights reserved.

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.