Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent Cricket’s Community team have been working directly with cricket clubs across the county, to ensure that they have been able to access information and funding opportunities, specifically designed to help see them through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
This week, it has been confirmed that 250 recreational clubs across Kent have received a combined total of £1.2 million in grant funding, from a number of sources:
- Sport England c.£180k
- Government business rates relief grants c.£1 million
- ECB c.£20k
Kent’s Director of Community Cricket, Andy Griffiths, said, “Over the last few months, we have been focussed on engaging directly with Clubs across the county, to ensure they have understood the financial options available to them and how to access all opportunities, to support them through this crisis. We have spoken directly to 250 clubs and know that over £1.2m has been secured to support their running costs whilst there is no play. It is a phenomenal amount of money into the county’s recreational game but essential to secure many club’s futures.
“This time of year, clubs would be expecting to receive subscriptions, match fees and bar takings. Whilst clubs are not receiving income, they still have expenditure costs to keep the club running, so this funding will certainly help them to continue to operate whilst we are in this period of uncertainty.
“We are encouraged by recent steps taken by our governing body to get people in cricket clubs active once again, with the updated guidance on small group training and the release of the roadmap for the return of recreational cricket. However, there are still many people who love the game that are unable to access training facilities. At Kent Cricket we have a role to play to engage players and volunteers to keep that passion alive.
“The cricketing community in Kent has been fantastic throughout this time of adversity. This was highlighted last month, by the Rainbow Run. Clubs were asked to join Kent Cricket in a charity run to raise funds for Kent-based hospitals’ COVID-19 appeals, which was a huge success across the county, raising close to £15,000.
“We have been working on several initiatives over the last few weeks and working in partnership with the ECB and Kent ACO, we have created a challenge for clubs across Kent, which will engage with the network’s competitive spirit!
“ECB recently released a free online version of the Stage 1 Umpiring course, which has already seen over 3,000 sign ups nationally. In Kent, we will set a challenge to clubs to see who can get the most members signed up and through the course over the coming weeks. We will publish ‘league tables’ regularly across our social media channels, with the aim to keep players, volunteers and parents engaged during the coming weeks. It also presents an opportunity to upskill players; help build more understanding and empathy for those who already umpire and support in creating an interest for people to consider umpiring as a pathway in the future.
“These are clearly challenging times for everyone and the game is not immune from the financial pressures created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work with clubs to navigate a route through this crisis and ensure that community cricket in the county of Kent is able to flourish once again. It is hugely reassuring that Clubs have been able to access this financial support at a time of such uncertainty.”