From the Pres

I am truly excited about taking on the role of President of this great Club. It is a real honour and privilege to serve, and I am thankful to the Committee and members of the Club who have supported and encouraged me to take on the role.  

Portsea Surf Life Saving Club means a lot to me, and the Club has been a big part of my life. It has helped shape who I am. My family had some background in the Club and we’d grown up with seemingly endless summers at Portsea. A close relative Ian McEachern was part of the very first Bronze Camp and was one of the first on the scene the day Harold Holt drowned, and there was always talk about the surf club in the house. 

My own journey in the Club began with an invite to Nippers from Tim Adams at around the age of 9 or 10. I had a ball but unfortunately it was only held on a Sunday, at the same time I was expected at church!

I eventually got there. I did my Bronze in about 86/87, and followed a well worn path instructing and gathering lifesaving awards through my late teens. I did four seasons lifeguarding at Portsea with a great group of guys and girls, many of whom are still close friends today. Through my 20’s, I got right into surf sports, competing mainly on skis, again with a great group of team mates, including my brother Will. 

I took a break from the Club through most of my 30’s as kids arrived on the scene, but rejoined as an active member as they got involved in nippers. (I am married to Sarah and we have three daughters who are also involved in the Club – Steph (Bronze), Charlotte (SRC), and Annabelle (nippers)). 

The last 7 or 8 years have seen me involved in nippers and on the building subcommittee, joining the Club Committee last year as Deputy President. It has been a great journey so far!

That brings me to the Committee, who do a power of work for the Club.

I’d like to start by thanking the outgoing Committee members – Sam Paynter, Emily Mellor, Bec Gould and Stu Rayner. All have made a huge contribution to the Club, and I hope they feel that this can continue. 

I’d particularly like to single Stu out. He has been President for 8 years, and has lead the Club through a great period of growth and change. This hasn’t always been an easy path, however he leaves the post with the Club in a much stronger position than it was at the start of his term. It was great to see him recognized with Life Membership at the AGM.

I’d like to welcome the new and returning members to the Committee. I am sure they will do a great job. The Club is blessed to have a great Committee with a healthy mix of skills, and I look forward to working with them all. I’d also like to acknowledge and thank Andrew Hewitt who returns to the position of Deputy President, and has a wealth of experience in the Club.

For those who don’t know, the Committee is:

  • Matthew Mahon – President
  • Andrew Hewitt – Deputy President
  • Angelo Biviano – Treasurer 
  • Rob Mellor – Secretary
  • Matthew Perrott – Club Captain
  • Brett Croft – Director
  • Jess Lamb – Director
  • Hamish McKendrick – Director
  • Jodie Madden – Director
  • Chris Perrott – Director
  • Nick Tissot – Director

I’d like to briefly outline what I see as the key priorities for the Club over the coming year, which broadly fall under the key themes of

  • Engagement
  • Establishing the operating model in our new Clubhouse which meets member needs and fulfills our obligations as a community asset; and,
  • Ensuring the values we cherish continue to thrive

Club Strategy remains the same

We will continue the implementation of the strategic plan that has been adopted for the Club – its focus is engagement. It starts with our members and moves out from there as we engage better with the many stakeholders we interact with and the local community.  We will be successful if we have more people doing less – this is not just the Committee, it is about getting more members involved, on subcommittees, working groups or simply helping out on a project. Together we can achieve so much more. 

Operating model a big focus

While the focus of the strategy will not change, we are entering a new era in the Club’s history, as custodians of a Clubhouse the likes of which we have not had before.

The Clubhouse presents enormous opportunity. It also presents enormous responsibility. As a few people noted over the opening weekend, it is twenty years ahead of its time in many ways, except we can have the benefit of it now.  The Committee is determined to maximize the potential it offers our members, using it to its best advantage within the confines of our lease and ensuring that it is being looked after appropriately.

This means change, and change can be challenging for people. We are making decisions around how the Club will be used based on the needs of our 2,400 members. So it is inevitable that some things will be more welcomed by some than others. We also need to consider how we meet our “community use” obligations, which were a condition of the government funding which contributed significantly to what we have created.

We know the costs of operating and maintaining the building will increase significantly compared to what we have been used to. A major focus of the Committee will be in ensuring that we have sufficient revenues to fund this, and we make smart decisions which do not unnecessarily expose the Club to financial risk.

I expect it will take us a few years to iron out our operating model. I hope that mostly we will get it right – but no doubt there will be some things that we under- or over-estimate, or which just don’t work like we thought they might. Please come on this journey with us. Use your Clubhouse, share with us your views, bring down your friends and be proud of what we have created.

The final focus area for me will be to ensure that while we do all of this work, we do not lose what it means to be a lifesaver at Portsea. 

We are a Club of great opportunities. A place where what you put in, you can get back in spades. A place that prides itself on developing young people. 

A place where no lives are lost.

We must not lose sight of what we do, and what it means to be a member of the Red and White.

Finally, if you are thinking there is a lot to do, then you are right. If you’d like to be more involved than you currently are, or to get involved in something else, then we would love to hear from you. We are an inclusive Club which encourages greater engagement and involvement from its members.  If this interests you, please feel free to reach out to any of the Committee, Operations Committee or any of the Subcommittee leaders in the Club – we’d love to hear from you, and have you more involved.

Thank you again for your support.