Facility management & development
Planning: With the cost of capital items for the pavilion and ground rising more quickly than most clubs’ income streams, it is essential that proper planning is adopted for the maintenance, repair and eventual replacement of all big-ticket items. For too long many clubs have only operated with the next season as their horizon, whilst hoping that no catastrophic breakdown of any plant or machinery occurs.
If clubs are ever going to meet such capital costs in future, a long-term business planning approach is required. A schedule is needed of every large-value item on site, including the major elements that keep the pavilion running, together with ground maintenance equipment and infrastructure items such as covers, nets, and sightscreens. Plotted against each item should be likely maintenance, repair and replacement dates and their associated costs.
Only by budgeting year on year for what can be envisaged, and setting aside reserves for capital equipment replacement, can the otherwise inevitable sudden financial crisis be avoided.
Support: When it comes to taking care of playing facilities, clubs should be aware of the contents of ECB’s excellent Technical Guidance Note TS4 – on the construction, preparation and maintenance of cricket pitches and outfields. Topics covered are:
- Construction and restoration of squares
- Ground maintenance and pitch preparation
- Pre- and post-season remedial work
- Pitch markings
- Non-turf pitch maintenance during regular use and at the end of a season
- Recommended list of ground maintenance equipment for large and small clubs
- Content of IoG cricket-specific training courses
It is free to download and should be available to both the groundsman or contractor, and to the committee member responsible for ground matters.
It is worth considering membership of the Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG) to obtain a 50% discount on the cost of their training courses. Their website carries a well-used jobs advertisement and recruitment section, and proforma job specifications for any level of grounds-related appointments are available on request.
MCB has highly-trained Pitch Advisors who can carry out a Performance Quality Standards assessment on a square, and advise on any remedial work that might be recommended in the light of those results. Contact initially the MCB Adminstrator email@example.com or your dedicated MCB Development team member. A small stock of end-of-season maintenance equipment (aerators, scarifiers) is held by MCB, and is available to borrow by arrangement subject to the groundsman’s experience.
Other helpful hints:
- Supplier contact lists can be found in the MCB and CCC Handbooks, in the small ads of “Wisden Cricketer” magazine, and through the IoG
- Product discounts are available to Cricketforce-registered clubs
- Clubs in an area should consider joint bulk-buying of consumables, eg. fertiliser, seed, loam to get best prices
- Clubs in an area should consider joint-purchase of any ground maintenance equipment not needed on a weekly basis to share costs
If a major facilities development project is being considered, whether a new nets complex, a second ground, or a building project for example, extensive research, consultation and planning are all essential to give your scheme a chance of attracting external funding to augment your own resources.
ECB again has an excellent list of booklets produced by their Facilities and Funding Unit which could be of use. Available free to download:
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Tips to Achieving a Successful Funding Application
- Make sure plans are thorough, costed and have an identified timescale
- Have supporting documents ready: Club Constitution showing Open Membership, Equity and Childcare Policies, Accounts and Budgets; show Clubmark Accreditation if applicable
- Ensure you have, and can identify, the people and resources available to run the project after installation
- Consult as widely as possible before submitting your application
- Ensure the timescale of your plans is in line with that of the funding agency
- Demonstrate and emphasise the benefits of your scheme to an identified local or wider community
- Make provision for junior usage, quality coaching for young players, or plans to start a junior section
- Ensure any relevant planning permission is obtained or get written confirmation that it is not required
- Ensure any equipment purchase or facilities installation meets relevant design or performance criteria
- Utilise all the help available from MCB. ECB, the funding agency, Sport England and the local CVS
- Demonstrate how the project represents value for money
- Emphasise your level of need for financial support based on your accounts
- Make sure you only request funds that are required
- Be prepared to undergo a process of monitoring by funding agencies
- Demonstrate a degree of self-help whether in cash or kind (labour, professional expertise). Funders will expect a certain minimum contribution which can vary widely
- Plan your cash flow as many funders will only release funds on completion of works
- Have contingency plans in the event of a rejected application or reduced award
- Demonstrate clear plans in accordance with the criteria of the funding agency
- Forward any necessary consultation forms if requested
- Submit the application ahead of deadlines set by the funder before its meetings
- Apply to the number of funding agencies you need to ensure the level of funding required
- Identify other sources of partnership funding
- Include details of other confirmed awards or when such decisions are expected
- Check how much you might be eligible for
- Ensure your chosen funding agencies are complementary with, and not opposed to, each other
- Ensure the tenure of your ground is of sufficient length for the size of the potential award – often a minimum of ten years lease
- Do not start any project before receiving written notice of an award or permission to go ahead. Most funders will not fund retrospectively
- Consider all possible options for raising funds from other sources as well
- Give full recognition to any funding agency for their support – letters, plaques, local publicity
You should now be in a position to complete and submit a strong application for funding...