As I begin to pen my latest update to you, the sun is shining and all appears well with the world – what strange times we are living through!
Currently, the top priority is for everyone to stay home and stay safe.
With this in mind, the Board has decided that all Celebration Matches planned for 2020 would be cancelled. Whilst this is, of course, a disappointment for everyone it was clear that many of the host clubs and players had expressed their concern regarding the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and an early decision was deemed best for all involved.
Another Board decision was to defer the deadline for return to Bowls England of membership data due to the coronavirus outbreak. We appreciated that many clubs will struggle to meet the original target of mid-May. Work on the Membership Register will, however, be continuing.
On the operational side, I am pleased to report that all refunds to County Associations of affiliation and national championship fees have now been processed – this was a mammoth task for the office with the amount paid back totalling nearly £650,000. County Associations will make their own arrangements for the repayment of monies to clubs within their area.
I am sure that all clubs will welcome this additional boost to their funds, but there is much more support out there. In my last message I made you aware of the money available through Sport England. However, local authorities, acting on behalf of the Government, are providing help. Indeed, only this week my own club received a grant of £10,000 from our local council via the ‘Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant’ (RHLS). The application process was straight forward – I would urge you to ensure that your club, if eligible, submits an application at the earliest opportunity.
In other news, the contracts of all International Team Managers and Regional Selectors have been extended by one year, in order that each serve a full-term.
Our series of workouts, designed to keep all of our members active during the lockdown, have been very well received – including many members of our international teams who have been sharing videos of themselves participating in the various exercises in their own homes.
The workouts and our official podcast, ‘The Extra End’, are both available on our You Tube Channel and I was delighted this week that we passed 1,000 subscribers. We will strive to provide fresh, new content for you all to enjoy in the coming weeks!
Indeed, our wide-ranging communications activity in support of Clubs and County Associations has already been acknowledged by World Bowls, which has requested our assistance in order to help it to promote good practice to other Member National Authorities.
Finally, we look forward to brighter days ahead and the staff team is already working on a variety of projects in support of clubs once the Government relaxes the restrictions and allows us to resume playing.