Current Initiatives 2022

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, we have continued in 2021 and 2022 to focus on five main initiatives, which are:

Supporting clubs and leisure centres

The shutting of clubs and leisure centres through lockdown has obviously affected our ability to work with them. However, Ella Frankland has been working with Spelthorne Leisure Centre to develop a junior programme, with Ryan Whiteley continuing to help with the senior programme at the same venue.

England Squash gave details this week (18 November) that it, alongside other national governing bodies such as England Badminton and the Lawn Tennis Association has submitted a proposal to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport DCMS) for a relaxation of rules at all tiers, allowing an increased level of play once the current lockdown is lifted.

England Squash is also calling on the government, through the Sports Recovery Fund petition, to instigate emergency support to ensure sports clubs and leisure centres can remain open and survive the coming months. We urge you to sign the petition here and help it reach 100,000 signatures so that it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

You may also have seen an email from Club Matters recently that highlighted Sport England reopening its “Return to Play: Small Grants Fund” and two coronavirus-related funds: “Return to Play: Community Asset” and “Return to Play: Active Together”. Click here for more information.

Supporting coaches

There are plans to help coaches generate revenue by holding three junior 101 courses.

Level 1 and 2 coaching courses were due to be held at Colets in September, both of which were fully booked. Unfortunately, these had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

We welcomed a new coach, Josh Atwell, to New Malden this year. Part of Josh’s remit is to forge relationships with local schools.

We had many positive responses to a letter regarding development that was sent to more than 70 coaches. Following on from this, we aim to run a workshop for the coaches on related issues.

Increasing junior participation

The Neil Desai Super Series continues to be a great success with the juniors.

The Surrey juniors continue to go from strength to strength under the leadership of Michael Hennings and Claire Baker, amply illustrated by the performances seen at the Inter County Championship finals in January and the high quality of squash on display at the Junior Closed Championship in September last year. For full details of both of these events see below.

Michael and Claire, along with support from Julie Chappell, did a great job organising squad sessions at Epsom College, which were well attended. Some of the top ranked juniors were selected to attend the England Squash Aspire squad (the London and South East regional squad) and furthermore the England development squad.

They were set to roll out six more junior sessions before Christmas, but this has not been possible under the current circumstances. If we are able to get back on court in December, then we will try and fit in some further training sessions before the end of the year.

In between lockdowns one and two, we were able to hold two county squad training sessions at Epsom College, both of which were run in line with the England Squash Covid guidelines.

Squash Cubed has been running at both Roehampton and Reeds School, with the help of Claire Baker and Surrey Squash. Stacey Ross has done incredible work running Squash Squared in a number of schools in our county.

As previously mentioned above (under Supporting coaches), we also have plans to offer junior 101 courses at three schools and we are looking to extend these programmes to Epsom College and Charterhouse.

On an individual basis I must mention Ronnie Hickling of Limpsfield who, in March, was selected to play for the England Under 13 team in the five nations. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to coronavirus but this is still a great achievement for Ronnie – well done!

Creating squash and squash 57 awareness

Our dedicated team continues to tirelessly promote squash and squash 57 with regular newsletters and bulletins to juniors, club contacts and team managers and ensuring the latest news is detailed on the League Master website.

We also keep our social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) up to date, along with updates to our website and highlighting news and results in local press.

The biggest news in this area is that we are currently working on the design and build of a brand new website. We are undertaking this exercise for several reasons but mainly to enable users to easily find the information they are looking for on the site, which can be difficult on the current site.

The new site will position Surrey Squash as the forward-looking organisation that we strive to be, with a modern feel and clean and easy navigation.

The site will be responsive, ensuring that it looks its best and works seamlessly regardless of whether it is viewed on a mobile device or desktop computer.

Once built, our team will have complete control over the content, allowing them to react quickly to any relevant news, post up to date information, details of events and competitions and, even, e-commerce functionality allowing the sale of squash kit and equipment, all with a consistent, professional look and feel.

Alongside the website will be a newly-designed electronic newsletter – a vital tool in our marketing to help keep our existing members engaged, attract new members and increase brand awareness.

Attracting and maintaining funding

At face value, it has been a financially successful year for Surrey Squash, with revenue up and expenditure down. Although this is partly by design, following last year’s cost review and the timing of receipt of rebates and affiliation fees, the impact of the pandemic has meant that we simply could not spend as much on the playing and coaching of the game as we wanted to.

Historically, our objective has been to broadly reinvest all revenue, such that we effectively break even each year. However, this strategy is no longer tenable;

the suspension of all activity in the current year has resulted in all revenue streams from affiliation fees, coaching sessions and tournament and event participation being decimated.

Although we are all hopeful of a return to pre-Covid activity one day, no one can be sure when this will be and we must therefore ensure our financial survival over the short to medium term so that we can continue to support, develop and grow over the long-term.

We were delighted to host the Junior Gold tournament for the second year running, now with a name change from the South East to the Surrey Junior Gold.

This is a prestigious, multi-venue national event and was again, very skilfully organised and run by Julie Chappell and her army of volunteers. Thank you all for your hard work and for making the tournament such a great success.

We are very grateful to continue to receive financial support from the Desai family and, this year, we also benefitted from the sponsorship from Fortriss. We must also thank the sponsors of the Junior Surrey Gold tournament: Mr Ziad Al-Turki of ATCO Group, The Bourne Group, Fortriss, Sports Recognition Awards and Squash Squared.

However, we cannot realistically expect to attract new funding over the coming year and, therefore, financial prudence is vital.