British Go Journal No. 41. May 1978. Page 10.
13,500 copies of the Penguin 'Go for Beginners' have been sold. So is the British Go Association flourishing?
The table shows recent membership figures for the British Go Association. The picture is not a rosy one. Membership is at best static and may be falling. The number of clubs has not increased significantly in the past year.
Present numbers are approximately 200 DOWN on this time last year.
The BGA had a modest surplus in the last financial year, but this was achieved only by cutting expenditure to rock bottom. Some of this surplus will be spent this year in promoting Go, for example through the Youth Committee, but to give Go the exposure we believe it deserves requires more money - which means more members - which is where we came in.
The Centre was founded over three years ago with the generous financial support and good wishes of Japanese enthusiasts. Contrary to the impression some players take away, it is not yet financially viable.
Remember, it is open every day of the year, bar Christmas Day, from midday to 11pm. Very hard work for the staff and a heavy financial burden.
At present it is effectively subsidised by Dowsey Games and the modest salaries paid to Stuart Dowsey and David Mitchell. If it should collapse, a fine idea and a great opportunity would have been wasted.
Unfortunately, it is suffering from the same disease as the BGA. Stationary or even falling membership.
In the past, a notorious article in the New Scientist, a mention by C.H.O'D Alexander in his chess column [In the Sunday Times] and the Open Door BBC programme on Go have provided Go with free publicity worth thousands of pounds. More recently David Mitchell's non-stop Lightning Go Marathon and the Anglo-USSR match have been very effective in attracting the media. All these have either been gifts out of the blue, or the results of individual initiatives.
This is about to change. The BGA will soon have a permanent publicity department, ready and able to provide publicity material for members and clubs, and to organise and advise on events to publicise Go on a national scale.
The BGA's most valuable asset is the time and effort that individual members are willing to put into the game, over and above their enjoyment of playing. For example, almost entirely due to the enthusiasm of the Leicester club, including Dave Johnson, a new BGA committee member, a Go teach-in is being held for beginners and low-kyus.
During the autumn term, and maybe during the summer holidays, a trial scheme for promoting Go in schools will start, in Leicester agin, and probably also in Oxford, thanks to the enthusiasm of local players.
You too can help. Here are ten ways. If you have your own idea, no doubt you have, write to the BGJ and get your ideas passed on to the BGA Committee and published for the benefit of other members.