Building club membership following lockdown: resources

Between April 2020 and around the end of January 2022, with a respite of sorts between July and December 2021, the UK had restrictions on public gathering which impacted bridge clubs. The consequences for bridge were not all bad: there was a boom in online bridge platforms and much bridge was played while people were trapped at home.

The lifting of lockdown restrictions, however, has not in general meant that our bridge clubs are now as they were in March 2020. The lockdown was long enough to change habits, improved online bridge has given players new choices, some smaller clubs have not been able to reopen while some others have struggled to build up numbers.

The EBU has held several online seminars for clubs including success stories, guidance on hybrid sessions which combine online and face to face play, training opportunities for rusty directors, and new initiatives for promoting clubs and teaching bridge to new players.

Below are the seminars so far. Note that the first seminar in July 2021 was repeated a few weeks later. Links for both are included below; the main content is the same but the discussion of course varies.

Agendas are included so you can easily skip to the subjects that are most useful to you.

We are open to running additional seminars and would welcome ideas on the most pressing topics or potential speakers – contact me

Building your club membership July 2022


    1. Introduction and Welcome (Gordon Rainsford, EBU Chief Executive)
    2. News and demo of our forthcoming improved online club directory and other initiatives to help enquirers discover your club (Tim Anderson, EBU Membership Development Officer)
    3. Love your members: Bakewell bridge club and the journey to online and back to face to face (Barbara Rogers, Secretary Bakewell Bridge Club)
    4. Success stories from both large and small clubs and lessons learned about how to increase engagement with club members (Ian Sidgwick, Chair Gloucestershire CBA)
    5. EBED update on training teachers and directors for your club (Mark Humphris, EBED)
    6. Teaching new bridge players in Yorkshire but where do they go once taught? Survey results (David Guild, Membership Secretary Yorkshire CBA)
    7. Open Q&A

Face to Face and Online Bridge following lockdown April 2022


  1. Welcome from Gordon Rainsford, EBU chief executive and chief TD and introduction by Tim Anderson (EBU Membership Development)
  2. David Dunford: With a swift restart online following lockdown, Nottingham Bridge Club built up online sessions to the point where more bridge was played than before. Now mainly face to face again, what are the challenges of winning people back to the physical club?
  3. Mark Humphris (EBED): With high demand for TD and teacher training, Mark will explain what is on offer and planned, and what clubs and counties can do to take advantage of it
  4. Oliver Cowan: The Oliver Cowan Bridge Club was born as online-only but Oliver is also an enthusiast for face-to-face bridge. How can clubs adapt for changing patterns of play?
  5. Tony Russ (EBU Board, Somerset chair): New marketing initiatives from the EBU to build up your club
  6. Nicky Bainbridge: Rugby Village Bridge Club: prior to lockdown in March 2020, this beginner-friendly club was running 6 thriving sessions every week. Now there are two face-to-face and two online, but the club has managed better than many to adapt and restart. What has worked and how does the future look?

7. Open discussion and Q&A

Restarting face to face bridge after lockdown Repeat seminar August 2021

Agenda – see next video below

Restarting face to face bridge after lockdown July 2021


  1. Welcome (Ian Payn) and Introduction (Gordon Rainsford)
  2. Best practice, social distancing, risk assessment (Nicky Bainbridge)
  3. Hybrid play – general introduction with options (Jonathan Lillycrop)
  4. Pianola/Bridgemate solution (James Ward)
  5. TD refresher courses (Jacks Morcombe)
  6. Marketing and recruiting new members (Tim Anderson)
  7. Club restart recruitment (Douglas Wright)
  8. Online payments (Jonathan Lillycrop)
  9. Open Q&A