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NCU Update for Clubs

NCU  

24th April 2020

The NCU Board provides the following update to clubs:

1. Domestic Cricket

The NCU Board acknowledges the challenges that COVID-19 presents for everyone and we hope that those in our cricket community are staying safe and well and are supporting each other through these uncertain times.

The task of scheduling a potential 2020 cricket season with so many unknowns will be difficult until we have further certainty. Until that time, it is unclear when cricket activity may resume and what potential restrictions may be in place regarding social distancing measures.

However, when cricket does resume the NCU Board is clear that the safety of players, umpires, scorers, and volunteers must be paramount in all decision making. The Board is also clear that any government guidelines must be followed in full.

The Domestic Cricket Directorate and the NCU Board is continuing to prepare for several options for the domestic season and is working on planning around various start dates. With this in mind, proposals upon which to base the competitions have been circulated to clubs who have been asked to respond with any comments by Friday 8th May 2020. The Board will consult further with clubs and other stakeholders with more concrete plans once we are able to do so.

In addition, the Domestic Directorate has circulated documentation to all clubs regarding proposals for restructuring of Men’s Premier and Senior Leagues. We have asked club secretaries to ensure that their relevant committee takes the time to discuss the documents outlining the proposals and respond to the General Secretary, Bryan Milford, with your club view by the requested date of Friday 8th May. 

We appreciate committee meetings at this time cannot take place in the normal face to face manner.  However, there are several online systems/packages available to enable club members to discuss the proposals virtually.  Zoom, Microsoft Teams & Skype are three such examples that allow online video conferencing which will enable club members to hold meetings online.  If any club is not familiar with these options, please contact us and our Development Officers will support your club in setting up an online option to facilitate your committee meetings.

2. Finance

The NCU Board has welcomed the continuing support of Cricket Ireland and in particular their commitment to continuing all financial payments to the NCU during this difficult time.  Those payments will help to cover ongoing running costs, some staff roles, rental subsidies and game development programme funding. Nevertheless, these remain challenging times for the Union. Whilst a range of cost-saving measures have been introduced the Board will continue to monitor and review the situation to ensure it takes the necessary steps to manage the business requirements as we progress through this challenging time.

3. Staffing

Alongside other financial cost saving measures, the NCU has also taken a range of measures in relation to staff. The measures implemented are up to the end of May 2020 in the first instance and take into consideration the various funding streams that various staff roles are supported by. The measures to date have included:

  • Furloughing
  • Reduction in working hours
  • Temporary layoff

These measures will be reviewed again by the NCU Board, given the changing landscape. The Board may need to implement further measures in relation to staff in due course.

4. Club Support

The NCU will continue to support our clubs during this challenging time. We will update clubs on any relevant funding, grants, or financial support opportunities as and when that information is updated and becomes available to us. 
NCU staff will also be continuing to have regular communications with clubs utilising a number of online tools to offer guidance and support, as well as continuing some club development work, as we work through the weeks and months ahead.

5. Ongoing work by NCU staff

Alongside their involvement in planning the fixture timetables NCU staff will continue preparing for potential programme delivery to begin as soon as we can resume cricket activities.
The current situation has changed how we all work and operate, and we have had to adjust how we do things. It has also challenged us to be more innovative and creative in our approach to engagement with our clubs, coaches, officials, players, and administrators. In adjusting to that challenge, the NCU staff team have developed several online learning options for various key groups within cricket that to date includes:

  • Online courses for scorers and umpires, in conjunction with NIACUS
  • Various webinars for teachers and coaches to continue knowledge sharing and continuous learning work with those groups
  • Online learning opportunities for clubs in various topics (social media; club accreditation; club development; coach development etc.)
  • Online options to complete our Women & Girls Leadership Programme, which was unfortunately unable to be completed in March as originally planned.
  • Implementation of our extensive google classrooms programme to engage online learning with our clubs, coaches and each of our regional development squad age groups.

In addition to the online learning opportunities outlined above, staff have been utilising a range of social media platforms to ensure we continue to engage with our players, coaches, officials, administrators, clubs and key stakeholders. We hope many of you have enjoyed that interaction and will continue to engage with that over the coming weeks.

As well as our social media presence staff are also using this time to complete the development of the new NCU website, which we hope we will be able to launch with you in the coming weeks.

As well as our own NCU regional development work, some of which is outlined above, our staff will also be working on a number of key projects with Cricket Ireland participation staff to help the wider development of the grassroots and club game.