In order not to risk contravention of eg. Equality/Discrimination legislation, NDPC must try to ensure that all fully paid-up members shall have equal access to whatever ‘benefits’ the Club can legitimately offer. Until 2020, the principal benefit was the opportunity to play Petanque on a regular basis, however, a development that year, occasioned by a change of relationship with our ‘landlord’ (PBC) brought the opportunity for NDPC members to become Associate members (AM) of PBC, at no cost to themselves.  

In the circumstance where PBC determines the number of AMs available, regardless of the numbers in membership of NDPC, an equitable and approved system of allocation is required, particularly where the number of AMs available does not match the demand from NDPC members. The remainder of this document seeks to inform NDPC members, in more detail, of the background to the matter, and sets out a ‘system’ to address the allocation of AMs.  


For many years, NDPC has paid an annual fee to PBC for the use of the ‘piste’ within PBC’s premises. While that fee (£500 pa until 2020) conferred no other benefits on NDPC or its individual members, there was a long-term ‘understanding’ that the use of the bar, the bar area and toilets were available to us. That situation changed in 2020, following a meeting between officers of both organisations, requested by PBC. 


PBC required a non-negotiable increased annual fee of £700. NDPC officials had already calculated that the current £500, ‘uplifted’ over the intervening 10-year period, would be around the figure sought. As a ’Quid Pro Quo’, PBC offered to provide NDPC with 20 AMs of their Club. The current cost of AM was £35 pa and the £700 was, neatly, the equivalent of 20 such memberships. The ‘deal’ served 2 purposes (a) ‘legitimate’ access to, and use of, PBC premises and facilities by NDPC members but, more importantly, (b) protecting PBC from falling foul of Regulations etc governing ‘Clubs’ (the local PSNI having shown increased interest in this over recent months) 

PBC did not offer a guarantee that any future increase in our annual fee would automatically generate additional AMs. PBC did not prescribe any rules/constraints as to how NDPC would ‘allocate’ the 20 memberships eg. no formal proposing/seconding/vetting of ‘candidates’ was imposed by PBC. There was a recognition by PBC that, with NDPC membership at around 30 at the time, some ‘management’ of the allocation process would be required, but that was left for NDPC to determine. NDPC was basically a recruiting agent for PBC Associate members and we were required only to notify PBC, in time, of the names etc of those ‘selected’. 


In the earliest days of this new arrangement, in a rather arbitrary fashion, the Committee determined which NDPC members would be offered AM. Most long-standing members benefitted, however, given that every member would have legitimate access to the PBC facilities via AM, or being ‘signed in’ by an AM, the selection method was not deemed ‘critical’. Very few, if any, NDPC members had a burning desire to be AMs, but accepted the status for no other reason than the Club had AMs to allocate. Ultimately, the list sent to PBC, of NDPC members on whom AM status had been conferred, contained only 17 names.  


While all members can enjoy the same ‘accesses’ by the means described above, during the time when NDPC is ‘on site’, AMs specifically do have legitimate access at other times, whether or not they choose to exercise that access. A non-AM does not, giving rise to inequity between the AM and non-AM, who have paid the same subscription to NDPC. In addition, where all AMs have been selected, it is foreseeable that members who joined after the ‘selection’ could claim that, although they had paid the same subscription as others, they did not enjoy the same consideration.  


(a) Membership of NDPC does not confer a ‘right’ to AM of PCB. It is not in NDPC’s ‘gift’ to do so, while PBC controls the number of AMs on offer. Only equal consideration for AM status is available;  

(b) NDPC members who have full membership of PBC already enjoy benefits beyond that available as an AM; 

(c) There may be NDPC members who are content to finance their own AM; 

(d) There may be NDPC members who do not wish to be considered for AM; 

(e) Any scheme must take account of those who join NDPC after the allocation process has been completed; and 

(f) Given that members can leave or join ‘in year’ the scheme should be deployed on an annual basis. 


(a) All NDPC members holding full membership of PBC will be excluded from consideration; 

(b) All NDPC members who wish to finance their own AM will be excluded from consideration; 

(c) All NDPC members who express a wish not to be considered for AM will be excluded from consideration; 

(d) When the above exclusions have been applied, and there are insufficient AMs to meet the remaining demand, all remaining members’ names will be committed to a ‘draw’ to determine who will be offered AM; 

(e) If, among those successful in the ‘draw’, there are those who are prepared to relinquish their ‘claim’ to an AM eg. because a spouse/partner/friend has been successful in the ‘draw’, then those ‘potential’ AMs so relinquished will be available for ‘distribution’ to those who were not successful, by another ‘draw’ if necessary;   

(f) Anyone who becomes an NDPC member after the selection scheme has been deployed and who does not fulfil the descriptions at (a) to (c) above, must await a subsequent opportunity for consideration; 

(g) Any AM who wishes to ‘cancel’ that status at any time, can do so. In that event, and assuming that a demand exists, the Committee will put in place an equitable means of ‘re-distribution, which may be a ’draw’;  

(h) If, for whatever reason, the selection process does not ‘exhaust’ the number of AMs available, those who initially were excluded under (c) above will be asked to reconsider; 

(i) NDPC’s Hon.Sec will notify PBC’s Hon.Sec of the names of AMs and arrange for the receipt and distribution of *AM cards. 

*The AM card provides (a) a means of ‘electronic’ access to PCB premises (b) access to the bar facilities (c) discount on the cost of drinks and (d) access to other facilities, depending on any rules which apply. 

NOTE 1: The outcome of the ‘draw’ at (d) above will be recorded in the order in which names were drawn and, where AMs subsequently become available, from any particular development, those AMs will be offered to the ‘next on the list’. 

NOTE 2: North Down PC is not a subsidiary of Pickie BC. It is imperative, therefore, to understand that, the primary outcome of the scheme described above is not the ‘possession’ of an AM card but, that NDPC members (i) become Associate Members of a completely different Club (Pickie Bowling Club) (ii) are subject to the rules and regulations of that Club and (iii) will be expected to conform to the standards of behaviour laid down by that Club. The AM card is simply a means of access to Club premises and other benefits of membership. 

NOTE 3: While ‘lending’ of a card by an AM to a.n.other non-AM is permitted, to facilitate the latter’s access to PBC premises, the permanent transfer of a card by an AM to a.n. other is not permitted. The possession of a card does not confer AM status. Such status only applies when the Hon.Sec notifies a name(s) to PBC. To maintain control of the scheme and apply (g) above, relinquished cards must be given to the Hon.Sec.

NOTE 4: At a meeting on 5 March 2024, the Committee agreed that 1 AM card would be retained in the shed, for ‘ad hoc’ use and immediate return.