Greenmeadow Badminton Club keen to recruit new members

By Jessica Durston - 27 October 2021

Clubs & ActivitiesFitness

Swindon Link visited the club, who meet twice every week, to find out more.

Karen and Kevin Young

The home of the club has been Swindon's Haydon Centre sports hall since its expansion in the 1980s.

It was formed in 1968 and members originally met at Greenmeadow Primary School, giving the club its name. 

Club members currently attend badminton sessions on Tuesday and Friday evenings from 7 -10pm. Players can stay for the full three hour sessions or just play for as long as they wish. 

The sessions are for anyone aged 18 or over.

Although the club is operating with a decent number of members, there is a recruitment drive underway for at least seven more. 

Karen Young, Club Chairman said: "I joined the club in 2008 with my husband Kevin and took my role as Chairman around 6 years ago. We’ve currently got 21 members but we need a few more. We would especially love some more ladies!

"We are looking for people who play at a reasonable standard so they can come and play with us straight away – this is just because we do not currently have the facilities or resources for coaching.

"We’ve got people in their late 20s and early 30s right up to people in their 60s and 70s. We’ve also got a mix of multicultural players. Ying, one of our members is Chinese, and has been kind enough to bring in some lovely Chinese food for us on occasion. We welcome anyone and everyone."

Club member Ying added: "I’ve been playing for around 3 years with the club. I really enjoy it. This team feels like a big family. I used to play at the Oasis before, but Greenmeadow are such a nice group.”

Karen's husband, Kevin Young is the club's Treasurer and Covid Officer. He ensures that covid safety protocol is followed with the provision of a sign-in sheet, sanitising station and individual seats, so club members do not need to share. 

He said: "After lockdown some of our members have not come back and it’s left vacancies. We need around seven more members. It would be great to have an even split of men and women join us, to keep things balanced.

"We're a nice, socially competitive club. I've been playing here for over 10 years. We all have a laugh and improve our game without taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve got a Whatsapp group and some of us will occasionally go to the pub afterwards for a drink."

Potential new members are invited for a trial period of 5 or 6 sessions, to ascertain whether they enjoy the club and if they feel like they would like to become an official member. Existing members will then take a vote to ensure the team keeps up their playing standards. If the vote is positive, the individual will be invited to become a member.  

Fees for the club stand at £25 per month and are paid via bank transfer, a joining fee of £20 is required for each member, to cover their initial registration with Badminton England, and Swindon District Badminton Association.

Ben, 32, has been a member of Greenmeadow Badminton Club for around 4 years. 

He said: “I’ve been playing the sport for 15 years or so. When I moved to Swindon around 4 years ago, I started the trial sessions that are offered before official membership, to see whether I liked playing with Greenmeadow and whether I felt I would fit in with the team.

“I knew that I wanted to join after coming along to those – it was the most friendly badminton group I have played with. While I’m a very competitive person, the group here allows the game to be fun and light-hearted.”

Greenmeadow Badminton Club are part of the Swindon and District League and will start match season this November. At the end of the season, Kevin runs friendly in-house tournaments which give members of the club the chance to play against one another and score points. 

The Haydon Centre is closed for Easter and Christmas and the club allows for a summer break during July and August. However, if members wish to continue playing during these months, summer club play is available. 

Long-time player and team captain, Martin, said: “Even with our matches and tournaments, we’re a social badminton club before we’re a competitive club. That’s the nice thing about Greenmeadow. Our game improves anyway because some of us play twice a week and we’re constantly practising, but being the best is not the most important thing here.

"Badminton is a beautiful game – I love the grace and beauty of it. You’ve got everything from the absolute aggressive spike-style shots to the gentle brushing-a-butterfly-off-a-leaf style shots. I was reading some research the other day that said badminton was the best all-round racket sport for general fitness.”

Club member Ben also said he enjoys the lack of pressure for perfect performance.

He added: “I find it interesting that if I lose a game here with Greenmeadow, I can actually have a laugh. I didn’t think that possible before. There’s a nice range of players’ abilities and skills. There’s good turnover and you end up getting to play a lot of games throughout each weekly session.”

The badminton sessions start on two courts until a third is made available at 8pm. The centre also provides changing and shower facilties for afterwards. 

Brenda and Carolyn have been playing badminton with Greenmeadow for a number of years and spoke about why they enjoy being members of the club.

Brenda said: “I was at a predominantly male dominated club before coming to Greenmeadow and it got really quite big and competitive. What I like about Greenmeadow is that it is more mixed in gender and age range, and it’s friendly.

“I’m one of the older members and they tolerate me! I also love how inclusive and multi-cultural our club is. It’s a real mixed club for age and nationality.”

Carolyn added: "We’re all mixed with our backgrounds in Badminton. Some played when they were younger and others have taken the sport up more recently. It's great that there is an option here to play against the stronger players, and the not as strong players. There’s no hierarchy or choosing of teams with an agenda.

"Brenda and I are at the top of the age scale of the club and are accepted just like the younger members in their late 20s/early 30s. What is really nice is that it does not matter how old you are on the court. Sometimes us ladies have so much of a giggle in our friendly games, that we can hardly play.”

More information and contact details can be found on the club's website at https://greenmeadowbc.co.uk/

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