Katy bakes for the NHS

Flour, butter, sugar and a heartfelt “Thankyou” go into the mix when Northern chef Katy Torevell does her weekly bake these days.

 Katy’s two-year-old son Frazer had to spend three nights in the isolation room at Stepping Hill Hospital’s Tree House children’s unit at the end of March. “It wasn’t coronavirus, it was pneumonia but it was desperately worrying and the staff at the unit were absolutely brilliant,” said Katy.

“Frazer has bounced right back now and he’s helping me say ‘thankyou’ – we’re saying it with cake!”

Katy has linked up through Facebook with Stockport resident Faz Ryder, who started collecting supplies for the Hospital’s Covid Units at the start of the lockdown.

They are looking for tea, coffee, sugar, snacks, safety pins, black biro pens and hand creams – and The Northern has been able to help out with Lawn Room stock that was nearing its use-by date.

If you would like to help, contact Faz through Facebook or deliver supplies to her address: 19 Prestbury Close SK2 7HW.

One man went to mow …

Well nobody told the grass about lockdown … Head Groundsman Des Ruchwaldy continues to keep the Club grounds in trim, at least for the time being.

He has been carrying out deep compaction relief on the artificial surfaces, and scarified and mowed the grass.

“The grass is really starting to grow strongly now, so I have to stay on top of it,” he said. “But I’ll hold off re-seeding and fertilising until we know how much play we’ll be able to get on the courts this year.

“Those materials can always be saved for next season if necessary.”

Save Pub Life!

Get those celebration G+Ts lined up on the bar now!

Like every other UK pub and bar, The Northern Lawn Room is closed for now and our industry faces a tough few months.

To help us through, we have joined the Save Pub Life campaign, launched by the Budweiser Brewing Group to allow customers to support their local through the bad times – and get their drink lined up for the grand reopening.

Members can buy an online gift card – from £10 – £100 – to use when we reopen and Budweiser will MATCH that spend straight away so that we get DOUBLE the amount, even though we’re closed.

Please support us now and we look forward to sharing a drink with you again before too long!

Just  click on the link below and search for The Northern to buy your gift card.



First of all, many thanks to all of you who have sent messages of support and good wishes, it means a lot to the Club’s staff and committee members to know that you value The Northern and all it stands for at this troubling time.

Some really good news to start with – Tennis Director Jonny Kinsella and his wife Lisa have welcomed their first baby, George, who weighed in at 7lbs 5oz on 29th March. Apparently Jonny is sleeping through the night already (or was that George?) and aceing those nappies …

Congratulations to all three Kinsellas, can’t wait to meet George when the Club reopens.

And another piece of good news is that, thanks to those of you who have been able to continue your subscriptions and support for the tennis programme, we have so far managed to maintain a positive cash balance at the bank.

Even those of you who have had to suspend contributions have reassured us that you’ll be back on board as soon as life returns to normal. That is really great to hear – thank you!

We are continuing to pursue the options for financial relief outlined in the last update:

* VAT and PAYE deferral;

* Business Rates relief;

* Government job retention scheme

* Insurance refunds;

* Grants/ funding from Sport England/ LTA/ England Squash, all of whom are working on support packages.

Meanwhile we are maintaining a skeleton staff, working from home and with support from Executive Committee members wherever possible. Head Groundsman Des Ruchwaldy is visiting the Club on a regular basis to carry out basic maintenance so that the courts and buildings will be ready to re-open as soon as we get the go-ahead from the Government.

Sadly, it has been confirmed today that the LTA has cancelled all of its summer grass court events – including Wimbledon – so our own Challenger event in June, The Manchester Trophy, will not go ahead.

Our squash Challenger event, The Northern Open, scheduled for May, has already been cancelled.

Both will return – even bigger and better – in 2021!


For all enquiries to the Club, please email membership@thenorthern.co.uk. All the Club’s email addresses are being monitored on a voluntary basis by the executive committee members but mail to ‘membership’ will take priority.


with best regards


Neville Hewer

COVID-19: Member Update 25.3.20

First of all, a huge thank you to all our members who work within the NHS and related services and are currently risking their own health to care for us and keep us safe. 

Your dedication and commitment is an inspiration and a comfort to us all during this crisis – please pass our appreciation on to all your colleagues  as well. Thank you!

Secondly, an update on what we are doing to maintain the Club’s stability during this necessary closure.

Actions include:

* Exploring the possibility of supporting staffing costs via available Government initiatives;

* Reducing utility costs and deferring all payments and scheduled orders;

* Taking up the 3-month VAT Reductions offer;

* Applying for various Grants and Funding;

* Continuing to ask Members to maintain their subscriptions wherever possible;


A note is about to go out to members requesting the annual subscriptions due in April – please note that when you do renew, the year’s membership will actually run from the date that the club reopens.

If you could possibly keep up your subscriptions during this time, it would help us enormously to keep our Club going on a viable basis. We do appreciate that not all members will be in a position to do this and if this is the case then please contact membership@thenorthern.co.uk


A number of you have pledged financial support over and above your membership and we are deeply grateful for this added support. Your generosity will help the Northern to weather this storm and re-emerge as strong – or indeed stronger – than ever.


And lastly, a number of our members who run their own businesses have seen their trade vanish overnight and have decided to diversify to keep going.

Please support:

RCoffee, who supplies the Northern and many other bar and restaurant outlets with tea and coffee (and also sponsors team shirts for all our senior and junior squash teams), has now launched online supply and delivery to private customers. Go to workerbeemcr.co.uk

Food Sorcery, whose ‘Cooking Together’ masterclass events have become a must-do for everyone who enjoys fine food, is now offering a takeaway meal delivery service. Contact Mark Seymour-Mead on  foodsorcery.co.uk/prepared-meal-let-us-cook-for-you/


COVID-19 Chairman’s Message 20.3.20

As the Covid-19 crisis evolves day by day, I would like to assure Members that we are constantly monitoring the situation and adjusting our operations to ensure everyone’s safety.

* Social Distancing: Notices have now gone up in the Club reminding Members to preserve a 2m distance between themselves and others.

In the Bar, we are reducing the number of tables to a bare minimum and will be introducing a take-away only service for tea and coffee;

* Stay home to stay safe: If you are in one of the at-risk groups PLEASE heed the advice to self-isolate. We will miss you but your health is important to us.

* Card payments: To reduce the need for staff to handle cash, please would Members use their cards for all payments – even small ones!

* Arrangements are being made for employees to work from home where possible. Staff numbers have been reduced and the remainder are preparing to ‘multi-task’, principally by keeping surfaces, door handles and equipment cleaned on a continuous basis.

I would like to thank all our employees for their help and support during this very difficult time and assure them that the Club will do everything possible to support them in return.

We have a committed and dedicated team at The Northern, who have already helped us through a tough three years as we worked to get the Club back onto a viable footing. We did it and we are ready to move forward. Our new General Manager, Graham Brindley, has already begun to identify funding and investment opportunities which will help us to develop and grow.

To make sure we come through this unprecedented crisis in good shape to take advantage of those opportunities, I am personally setting aside the sum of £30,000 to support our operations over the next few months, if required.

If any other members are willing to do the same, please contact Graham Brindley – together we will come through this difficult time and emerge ready to build a brighter future.

Neville Hewer



In common with businesses across the UK, The Northern is already suffering a drop in income as our group activities are cancelled and members avoid unnecessary social contact to stop the virus spreading.

Understandably, a number of Members have already enquired about stopping their membership and we fully understand that for many of you this is a necessary economy as you too see your income come under threat.

However, this is a critical time for everyone and we would be deeply grateful if members could sustain their subscriptions wherever possible. We are still offering a service, albeit reduced, and membership income is key to our survival. We want to make sure that all our Members and employees have a Club to come back to when this crisis is over

Meanwhile, rest assured we are doing all we can to reduce our running costs, including:

  • Deferring payments of PAYE/VAT and other non business critical payments;
  • Taking advantage of government support packages including business rates;
  • Reducing day-to-day costs ie turning off the heating and reducing staff hours – we are also re-deploying employees to help out in other areas. (You may have noticed some of our bar staff sanitising the equipment in the gym.)

We are also in regular dialogue with tennis’s governing body – the Lawn Tennis Association – regarding ongoing financial support.

We pledge to keep Members updated throughout the crisis.  We would also like to thank you for your support, co-operation and understanding during this time, and if any of you experience any problems with the restrictions of self-isolation, please do let us know and we will do what we can to help.

Kind Regards

Neville Hewer



Whilst we continue to keep our facilities open we endeavour to have the following measures in place:

  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning of high contact surfaces, i.e. door handles and handrails;
  • Following all Public Health and local and national Government advice and guidance;
  • Keeping you up to date – make sure we have your email and mobile number so we can communicate with you;
  • We are proactively taking steps to ensure that there is adequate hand sanitiser within our facilities and that extra cleaning is being carried out;
  • With the two metre government guidelines in place we have made the decision to limit our group exercise class capacity to 12.  We also ask that you please be mindful of your distance between members whilst working out;

Whilst in the Northern, we would ask for your support by following the steps below:

  • Keep your hands as clean as possible, washing regularly and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. When it is not possible to do this, please use the hand sanitizers situated around the club
  • Practising good hand hygiene is the best way to prevent yourself from contracting coronavirus. Keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose;
  • Using gym and activity equipment is like other environments with high contact surfaces, so cleanliness is the highest priority. When you have finished using a piece of fitness equipment, please use sprays which are situated around the club;
  • Please be mindful of your distance between each other and follow guidelines and keeping a distance of two metres wherever possible;
  • If you cough or sneeze, ideally into your elbow, please use a tissue and dispose of it, washing your hands with soap and warm water or using the hand sanitizers provided;
  • Please follow the latest government return traveller advice if you have recently visited a high-risk place;
  • If you are unwell or have been instructed to self-isolate, please do not visit the Northern.


The situation concerning Coronavirus (COVID-19) is evolving day by day and we would like to reassure all of our members that we are monitoring the situation constantly in order to ensure that any action we take is consistent with the latest Government Briefing.

Consequently, we are putting a number of measures in place with immediate effect to ensure the wellbeing of staff and members. At the same time we are taking certain necessary steps behind the scenes to protect the long-term viability of the Club itself.

The courts, gym and exercise studio will remain open. But in line with advice on care for at-risk groups and to discourage ‘unnecessary social contact’, the following activities are being suspended:

• Community classes (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and Zumba Gold (Fridays);
• Squash Club Night (Tuesdays)/Social Tennis (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday afternoons) and Junior Squash Club Night (Friday evenings).

In addition, the number of tables in the bar area has been reduced, to improve social distancing.

We are working hard to deliver the best service we can to our members in these difficult times. We appreciate your support and equally, if any of you experience any problems with the restrictions of self-isolation, please do let us know and we will do what we can to help.

Let’s work together to stay safe!

Northern Money-Spinners!


Four teams of Northern members – two from the Gym and two from Squash – are getting on their bikes to support Smart Works, which provides free interview clothing and 1-2-1 professional coaching for unemployed, disadvantaged women across Greater Manchester.

Each team of five will spin or cycle 500 miles in 5 days ending on International Women’s Day, Sunday 8th March – so give them a round of applause when you see them sweating it out in the Gym and please support them at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/squashatthenorthern

 “More than 70 % of the women we support, succeed at their job interview,” said GM Smart Works Chairman Jan Iceton (centre, above) “Get the clothes, get the confidence, get the job!”