It’s that time of year again – the clocks go forward, players begin to descend on nets en masse and club members are busy pencilling in those all-important pre-season socials. But what of the facilities themselves? And those who look after them?
Enter NatWest CricketForce Weekend.
The annual event is now in its 15th year and since its inception it has been instrumental in helping clubs to rejuvenate and prepare grounds ahead of the playing season.
If your club is one of the more than 2,000 already signed up to NatWest CricketForce 2016, then you’ll be getting the best possible start in ensuring your facilities are ready for the months ahead.
As we count down to the official weekend on 1-3 April, here’s your bite-sized guide to running a successful – and fun – NatWest CricketForce event.
Good start is half the work
The work carried out at your NatWest CricketForce day will form the foundations for your club to build on this season and beyond and it’s vital the volunteers who make this difference enjoy their experience from start to finish.
CricketForce is all about working towards a common goal while having fun in the process. There are some factors – like the ever-unpredictable British weather – that we can’t control but creating an enjoyable, welcoming and sociable atmosphere is easy to achieve and requires only a little forethought and enthusiasm.
First and foremost: food, glorious food!
Wherever possible, arrange breakfast for all involved. An army marches on its stomach so make sure yours is well nourished and that there is plenty of food and drink on offer throughout the day.
Who doesn’t love a spot of organised fun?
Have lists of all agreed tasks clearly visible and match groups of volunteers to each task so that everyone is aware of their role during the day.
Be aware that volunteers might have specific skillsets, interests and hidden talents, which can help in determining who does what. However, enthusiasm and energy are still the big two requirements!
It is also a good idea to have a pre-appointed leader to oversee the completion of each task.
Consider other ways to keep your CricketForce family entertained during the day. Perhaps incorporate an end-of-day awards (e.g. most creative use of paint) or a selfie competition.
You can also share your photos and updates with ECB by tagging tweets using #NWCF.
Think about creating a soundtrack to the day. Ask your volunteers to nominate one song they would like to hear played, which will keep energy and enthusiasm levels up during tasks and perhaps reveal some interesting musical tastes!
Moving beyond the boundary
Inviting local businesses and community groups to be part of the day is a great way to involve areas of your community not traditionally part of your club network.
For example, in certain cases, there might be other sports teams that make use of the club facilities and who are willing to pitch in to the benefit of all.
You could also invite local scout and girl guide groups to take part along with their leaders and supervisors, giving them a chance to develop new skills in a welcoming, fun environment.
On-the-day support from businesses in the form of supplies and people-power is also key.
You’ve worked hard, completed all tasks and opened your doors to the local community – now is the time to celebrate success.
Send letters of thanks and congratulations to all of the volunteers, sponsors and other local businesses who have contributed to your shared success.
Share your club’s story with local media, using some of the great photos captured on the day.
Finally, make the most of your newly improved facilities by organising a BBQ or day of cricket viewing and invite people and organisations involved in CricketForce to attend.
This is another great way to acknowledge the efforts of all involved and witness the difference their work has made and will continue to make to your club.
If your club would like to be involved and hasn’t yet registered for NatWest CricketForce 2016, there’s still time to do so. Simply visit ecb.co.uk/NWCF to sign up.
Registrations close on Wednesday 30 March.
To find out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.