Baseball picture

Who am I?What I doTestimonialsContactGallery
spacer
Jonny Gould
News

2009:
DEC | NOV | OCT | SEP | AUG | JUL | JUN | APR

Read Jonny's Baseball World Cup blog HERE

10th November 2009

Calling all fellow-baseball nuts.

Check out the following news on the future of Baseball and Softball in the UK. How exciting would this be? Rumour has it the National Centre would name parts of the stadium after certain key figures in the UK world of Baseball and/or Softball. I can see it now: "JC's John" or would that be "JC's WC?"

Whatever they call it this would be a huge step forward for British Baseball/Softball.

BSUK moves towards the creation of dedicated facilities for baseball and softball

Baseball and softball have come a long way in Great Britain over the years, but the one thing generally lacking in this country has been dedicated facilities for playing the sports.

Go to many European countries, large and small, and you'll find baseball and softball complexes complete with full fencing, proper dugouts, spectator stands, dirt or cut-out infields, press boxes, bullpens, changing rooms and toilets, concession stands and in some cases lights – in short, facilities built specifically for the sports to be played on a local, national or international level.

In Britain, such facilities have been largely absent or at best have included only some of the elements listed above. But that is about to change, and BaseballSoftballUK has taken a couple of important steps recently towards making the creation of dedicated facilities part of its overall development programme.

One such step is the creation of a plan and process for developing a Facility Strategy that can attract funding and support from government agencies and other partners – and BSUK has now created just such a plan. Another step has been the appointment of a Facilities Steering Group to guide the development of a Facility Strategy.

While this may sound bureaucratic, what it actually means is that the process of creating a number of dedicated facilities for baseball and softball in England is at last starting to move from talk to action.

Finding the Money

Of course, the key to building dedicated facilities for baseball and softball is access to significant capital funding, and this has become available for the first time through the 2009-2013 Whole Sport Plan, under which Sport England provides funding for BSUK to carry out its development work.

Built into the 2009-2013 Plan is £400,000 of capital funding earmarked for the creation of baseball and/or softball facilities during the last two years of the Plan, from April 2011 through March 2013. But there is also a requirement for this funding to be matched from within the sports or through other sources, and when this is achieved, the total amount available for facilities creation will be £800,000 or more.

The idea of a comprehensive Facility Strategy, which is a Sport England requirement, is to ensure that a strategic approach is taken to the creation of facilities that will be of maximum use to the baseball and softball communities.

Or, to put it more simply, the Facility Strategy should ensure that the right facilities are provided in the right place at the right time.

Public Opinion

Surveys of baseball and softball participants in the UK have identified that club and team members in particular feel that the places where the sports are played are often unsuitable and sometimes unsafe, especially in comparison with other countries. So the desire for better playing facilities comes from the playing community itself.

Earlier this year, BSUK and Sport England commissioned Ipsos-MORI to conduct a satisfaction survey of the sporting experience in baseball and softball. Facilities, a functional driver of satisfaction, was highlighted in these results as important to those taking part in the sports. The specific areas of importance were the quality of the playing surface, access to dedicated and exclusive areas to play and auxiliary facilities such as toilets, changing rooms, etc).

But from BSUK's point of view, facilities are also an important element of sports development.

So BSUK's premise is that facility development will be an integral part of wider development plans, and the core around which strong and sustainable structures for the sports can be created. The aim of the Facility Strategy will be to produce a comprehensive framework for the development of facilities for both sports at national, regional and local levels, based around competition, training, development and recruitment needs.

What is the Plan?

The idea of a Facility Strategy is to identify and develop a list of projects to which available funding will be allocated, and the preliminary thinking is that this will be a number of strategically placed and closely supported Regional Centres in the areas in which BSUK is funded to work.

But where exactly these centres will be located, whether they will be based on existing clubs or built from scratch, whether all of them will serve both sports, whether one or more will be developed to support international competition and a host of other questions are what the Facility Strategy will be designed to answer. In a nutshell, the strategy should be able to establish:

- What facilities are needed.
- Why these facilities are needed.
- Where facilities should be located.
-How facilities are to be provided.
-When facilities are to be provided.

The “what” and “why” questions will provide an evidence base for the strategy and the “where”, “how” and “when” questions will describe how the strategy can be implemented.

Timeline and Steering Group

Meetings designed to begin work on the Facility Strategy will get under way at the end of November, and a new BSUK Facilities Steering Group will meet every two months or so from December onwards.

April 2010 has been earmarked for a series of consultation meetings with the baseball and softball communities, European confederations, Major League Baseball, Little League and selected Local Authorities and County Sports Partnerships, among other stakeholders, before the Facility Strategy is finalised and launched in May.

The facility development project will then move towards implementation with the formation of a Facilities Delivery Steering Group in the middle of next year.

Members of the initial Facilities Steering Group will include John Boyd, Jenny Fromer, Paul Wilkinson, Bob Fromer and Will Lintern from BSUK, Colin Stone and Jon Marsh as Independent Advisors, Rosie Benson from Sport England and a representative from the baseball and softball communities (this position will be advertised on the BSUK website).

Timeline and Steering Group

Meetings designed to begin work on the Facility Strategy will get under way at the end of November, and a new BSUK Facilities Steering Group will meet every two months or so from December onwards.

April 2010 has been earmarked for a series of consultation meetings with the baseball and softball communities, European confederations, Major League Baseball, Little League and selected Local Authorities and County Sports Partnerships, among other stakeholders, before the Facility Strategy is finalised and launched in May.

The facility development project will then move towards implementation with the formation of a Facilities Delivery Steering Group in the middle of next year.

Members of the initial Facilities Steering Group will include John Boyd, Jenny Fromer, Paul Wilkinson, Bob Fromer and Will Lintern from BSUK, Colin Stone and Jon Marsh as Independent Advisors, Rosie Benson from Sport England and a representative from the baseball and softball communities (this position will be advertised on the BSUK website).

10th November 2009, “BSUK moves towards the creation of dedicated facilities for baseball and softball”http://www.baseballsoftballuk.com/gen_insert.php?from_level3= Articles&db_story=3489&this_page=bsuknews&back=Current%20%20News

 

ARCHIVE

2011:

2010:
JUN | MAY | APR | MAR

2009:
DEC | NOV | OCT | SEP | AUG | JUL | JUN | APR