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Our strategy for stoolball in England 2017-2019

1. Our vision for stoolball

We want to see stoolball played to a high standard with a consistent interpretation of the rules, increasing in strength in south-east England and expanding its reach to other regions of the country.

2. About this strategy

This strategy sets out the steps we can all take to realise our vision for stoolball and to achieve as much as possible with our volunteer workforce. We urge everyone playing or administering stoolball to support this strategy and help us to implement it, to ensure the sport continues to recover and expand.

We will review this strategy every three years to respond to stoolball’s changing needs.

3. Where we were prior to 1979

In the 1920s and 1930s there were close on 1,000 stoolball clubs in existence in England, but after the Second World War the governing body of the game, the Stoolball Association of Great Britain, was not revived and without their guidance and support there was a gradual decline in club and playing numbers. In 1979 the governing body was re-established as the National Stoolball Association and has brought focus and sound governance to the sport with the result that Sport England now recognises stoolball as a sport and Stoolball England as its governing body.

4. Where we are now

The present poor economic climate and the government’s spending review has meant that the majority of our school contacts; Competition Managers, Partnership Development Managers (PDMs) and School Sport Co-ordinators (SSCOs) have disappeared but it has made us use even more initiative by working directly with schools and local authorities to ensure the continuing expansion and interest in stoolball.

We are taking positive steps to communicate with those people administering our affiliated members to learn how best we can help and to let them know our plans for the further development of the game. Our services include the provision of insurances, stoolball equipment, coaching DVDs and a coaching manual, all available through local agents.

We have set up coaching courses for players, umpires and scorers. We provide coaching schemes leading to stoolball festivals in primary and junior schools, county finals at Years 7/8 and 9/10 levels in secondary schools and run taster sessions at schools and public events. This is reigniting interest in stoolball with an encouraging upsurge in new clubs, and in turn has prompted newspapers, magazines, TV companies and documentary film makers to sit up and take an interest.

We have to stand up to comparisons with other minor sports as well as major ones. Unlike the major sports of cricket, football, rugby, athletics etc, we receive no money from Sport England and so we must be seen by organisations like the Sport & Recreation Alliance, the county sports partnerships and county and district councils as being efficient, financially sound and well governed. Attending meetings with all these organisations takes much time but they hear our voice and give vital support to our game. We work hard to develop all our relationships from local to national level.

5. How we will realise our vision

Environment

  • We will promote and encourage a safe, secure and an enjoyable environment in which stoolball can be played in schools (approximately 150), further education establishments, commercial organisations, sports and stoolball clubs (250), whether it is competitive or social. Trust, respect, honesty, selflessness and enjoyment must be emphasised. Players and officials must maintain a high standard of behaviour both on and off the field.
  • We will ensure that regardless of religion, race or age, nobody is excluded from playing our game on social, physical or gender grounds.

Develop young talent

  • We will create a planned development programme to provide opportunities for talented performers to play at national level.
  • We will identify talented boys and girls in all stoolball playing counties through an appropriate structure of coaching and support personnel.

Development and expansion

We will pursue any opportunities which enable Stoolball England to develop and expand the game beyond or within its present boundaries. These could be the result of government, Sport England, county, town or parish council, charity or non-profit organisation initiatives, or interest from outside England.

Equipment

  • We will ensure, through personal contact, the lines of supply and the quality of all equipment needed to play stoolball, particularly bats, balls and wickets.
  • We will research and examine the possible use of promotional equipment such as bowling machines, batting cages, bowling speed guns, banners etc.

Education

We will provide regular courses to recognised standards in coaching, umpiring, scoring, first aid, child protection, personal development, governance etc.

Communications

  • We will use all means of communication including social networking to inform and work with people organising and playing stoolball, as well as local and national government, sports organisations and charities
  • We will continue to develop a meaningful and up-to-date website
  • We will work with all radio, television and film companies taking an interest in stoolball.

Sponsorship and funding sources

We will look for opportunities to get sponsorship from commercial/private sources and individuals, and pursue all funding initiatives from whatever source with a view to recruiting a professional development officer.

Relationships with sporting allies

  • We will continue to maintain positive and meaningful relationships with Sport England, the Sport & Recreation Alliance, county sports partnerships, local government and charities and develop new relationships outside the south-east, in universities, with coaching establishments, and any organisation that can help us develop and promote stoolball.
  • We will give our support to all those who give time, energy and wisdom to the running and playing of the game of stoolball.

Governance

  • We will maintain and develop efficient and effective governance for stoolball through the Management Committee of Stoolball England
  • We will encourage committee members to attend courses to develop skills appropriate to their roles
  • We will operate sound financial, accounting and management procedures
  • We will establish, maintain and review a succession plan for all committee roles.

Volunteering

We will use national and local volunteering networks to encourage more people to help us develop and promote the sport.

6. Is the strategy working?

These last 12 months have produced most encouraging results. We have seen the formation of the following new teams which will have added more than 150 new members to our playing population:

  • Four ladies teams, one from Kent and three from West Sussex, joining local leagues
  • Five teams of ladies and mixed teams, in East and West Sussex who will play only friendly games and tournaments in their first season
  • A cricket club in Surrey and a rugby club in West Sussex who are forming mixed stoolball teams to include the ladies/wives in their clubs and using the game for fund raising purposes during the summer months
  • A junior stoolball team in Surrey who played their first fixtures during the summer in 2011
  • Since the end of the 2011 season a further 8 schools have contacted Stoolball England to ask for our help in starting stoolball this summer
  • Stoolball England is now linked with Twitter and Facebook and some very useful contacts are being built up.
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