Cricket clubs being supported by emergency funding

PUBLISHED: 07:19 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 07:19 26 June 2020

A set of cricket stumps ahead of the start of play in a Tolchards Devon Cricket League match,. Picture STEVE BIRLEY

A set of cricket stumps ahead of the start of play in a Tolchards Devon Cricket League match,. Picture STEVE BIRLEY

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Cricket clubs in Devon have benefited from emergency funding of more than £600,000 to keep them going during the Covid-19 crisis.

When the Devon Cricket Board surveyed clubs in early April about their fears it was the financial hit of a cancelled, or significantly reduced season that concerned them most.

Three sources of crisis funding soon opened up and clubs in Devon wasted no time getting their applications in.

More than half a million pounds has been paid out in Government aid through the Small Business Grant. Most clubs were able to claim the full allowance of £10,000, although clubs that are part of a wider organisation had to share it.

Sixty clubs have received grants totalling £10,000. The clubs range from Premier outfits such as Bovey Tracey and Plymouth to the village teams in Newton Tracey and Kenn.

Nigel Mountford, the chairman of Bovey Tracey, said, the money was gladly received as clubs still have costs to cover whether they are playing or not.

“With no cricket, no juniors on Friday nights and no social events, we have no income,” said Mountford.

“We still have bills to pay – today it was repairing the fire alarms and testing the fire extinguishers – and there will be many more to pay yet.

“Thanks to the £10,000 grant we should be able to cover our costs.”

Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund has made grants amounting to £45,000 to clubs in Devon. Sums range from £5,000 to Barnstaple & Pilton CC and the £4,000 paid to Seaton down to the £2,500 received by Dartington & Totnes and Lewdown cricket clubs. The average pay out was around £3,000.

Tipton St John received £800 from the National Lottery-backed Community Emergency Fund, which took away the worry of rental and maintenance chargesDavid Birch, the club’s chairman, said: “This is a great relief – with virtually no income at present, our financial resources are very thin, but we still have rent to pay and equipment to maintain.

“This very welcome grant should see us through this difficult period.”

Smaller grants of up to £1,000 have been allocated by ECB through the Return to Cricket Scheme.

And the ECB made an emergency loan to the Tolchards Devon Cricket League to help them pay part of the bill for the thousands of cricket balls ordered for a season that has yet to start – and maybe never will.

Alex Jopling, the Devon Cricket Board’s DCB clubs and programmes manager, said the total paid out stood at around £620,000, which does not include sums raised locally by clubs through initiatives such as on-line crowd-funding campaigns.

“Some big sums were raised – £2,885 by Stoke Gabriel, £1,640 by Paignton and nearly £1,500 by Barton – as well as smaller but useful sums by Plymstock, Marldon and Babbacombe,” said Jopling.

A handful of applications are still pending which, if agreed, could take the sum close to £650,000.

Jopling said cricket board staff briefed clubs on their options as soon as details were released.

“Once the scale and impact of Covid-19 became apparent we went about contacting all our affiliated clubs to discuss the issues they would face and ensure they were aware of the funding sources available to them,” said Jopling.

“Thankfully about 70 per cent of our clubs were eligible for the Government Small Business Grant of £10,000 which will more than cover their fixed costs and lack of income for the season.

Another 20 clubs have managed to access the Sport England Community Emergency fund and a small number needed to approach the ECB for a small grant.

“It was great to see the generosity of players, members and the local community in supporting their club with crowd-funding campaigns – something I am sure clubs won’t forget when they re-open fully.”

Clubs can access all the info and support they need on the dedicated Covid-19 section of the DCB website.

For more on all things cricket in Devon visit www.devoncricket.co.uk


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