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Chairman’s Blog – July 2020

Some four months ago No 63 closed its doors to guests as a consequence of the COV1D19 viral pandemic lockdown following Government instructions. Except for the Manager, who has remained at 63 throughout, all the staff have been furloughed. Throughout the pandemic, all staff have been communicated with, in writing, by the Director of Finance ,Kay and myself, Chairman. The staff have individually been advised that there will be a consultative re-structure of No 63 and that Consultant Eamonn Cole will be involved in this exercise.

Obviously, the current situation has had a significantly adverse financial impact upon the business, which is of the concern to the Board. The Board has undertaken all of its’ scheduled Board Meetings virtually, ZOOM and other such meetings are now an integral part of many of our lives, including Club and Region Meetings.

The Board has taken the opportunity to complete the refurbishment of the en-suite facilities of rooms 101,102 and 104 (first floor). So for those of you who have experienced the facilities in room 101, there is a new experience, a plumbed in toilet and a wash hand basin within the en-suite.

The project has been ably co-ordinated and managed by No 63’s Maintenance Consultant Derek Jeffery.

I am pleased to advise as a consequence of a recommendation made by Director Angela Elkholy that a Hotel and Catering Consultant Eamonn Cole has been appointed to advise the Board and his first role has been to mentor and provide development and support for the Manager. I allocated the oversight of this process of Board Liaison to Carwen Wynne Howells, Board Administrative Officer. This link has proven extremely helpful and in particular dealing with the impact of COVID19 on No 63 and in respect of the essential risk assessments leading to the development and crafting of the re-opening plan, which was and is a challenging and complex matter for the 63 business.

The re-opening plan for No 63 includes tendering for a specialist, certified deep clean, window cleaning and all necessary areas as staff and guest safety are our prime concerns in these unprecedented times. We have made arrangements for temperature imaging and recording of staff, guests, any other persons entering the building of No 63, including the postman.
All the details of the Board’s management of COVID19 are available on an allocated page of No 63’s web site.
I thank the 500 Club Administrator Pat Dale for continuing to manage the funds and for communicating with prize winners, thank you Pat.

I was saddened but I can understand the decision of Soroptimist International of Portsmouth’s decision to close the 2000 Club which was the vision of member Sheridan Brimacombe, who became a Director of Number 63. Over the past 20 years over £130,00 has been donated to No 63, thank you to everyone concerned for such wonderful assistance and support for 63.

I wish to acknowledge the input and support to the management of the fund the most recent Administrators Hilary Preston and Penny Etherington, thank you. I have written to the Club’s current President Joani Stansell to convey the sincere thanks and appreciation of the Club for their commitment over the past 20 years to contribute to the wellbeing of No 63.

Throughout this pandemic there is the theme of a tragic loss of life. For me this really hit home when I learnt of the death of fun loving committed Soroptimist Penny Venness. May I pay tribute to her a past Director of No 63, assisted in a very big way with the re-creation of the second and third floors, no longer communal bathrooms, yes all en-suite. More recently, Penny was Building Consultant to the Board for which I was most grateful. The Board’s thoughts are with her family.

I am delighted to announce that the Board has unanimously agreed to co-opt Carwen Wynne Howells as a Director of No 63.
There is obviously no doubt in my mind that there are major challenges ahead of the re-opening of No 63 to Soroptimists on 21 August and to other guests from 1 September 2020..

Yes, the support of the Share Holders is paramount – please consider returning to stay at No 63. If you are hesitant and prefer to remain at home in your conservatory and/or garden I shall have to accept. However, by now your garden must be tickey-boo!!!!!
Please be generous and purchase online No 63 Gin and enjoy the fruits of your horticultural experiences and successes over a fabulous gin and tonic!!

I am pleased to report in my case, broad beans almost perfect, sweet peas beautiful, potatoes almost ready for harvest, courgettes fabulous in tempuras and almost there, magical sunflowers!!!

Finally, in this time, which is surreal, stay safe, be safe and please consider supporting No 63.

Thank you, Shareholders, on behalf of the Board of Directors.

Every good wish Ann
Number 63 (Soroptimist) Limited