I have attached a message from Mike Burchell, Chairman of the Kent SRA, concerning the county’s current financial position.
KENT SRA FINANCES: SOME HOME TRUTHS
A number of e-mails have been circulating recently about the funding of junior and senior squads and understandably people are expressing concern about possible changes that would reduce the amount of funding from Kent SRA for these activities and about the potential additional cost that this might place on individual players or, in the case of juniors, their parents.
I am circulating this note because I think it is important to put these issues into the wider funding context of Kent SRA which is unsustainable unless we take some action to bring spending in line with income.
Last year there was a budget deficit of about £6000. We generated income of £4600 and are owed about £2000 by England Squash as our share of the money they collect from clubs in affiliation fees (ie £6600 income in total). Against this, we had expenditure of just over £12500. We have healthy balances of £9700, but it doesn’t take a degree in accountancy to work out that, unless we take drastic action, we will exhaust the balances completely in less than two years. It is important that we work out a budget that balances income and expenditure. This will involve generating more income, but will also require us to reduce some costs.
Our income currently comes from two main sources: the England Squash rebate of £2000-£3000 per annum and the League Levies, amounting to about £2000 per annum. The costs of running County Championships are broadly neutral, but may produce a small surplus.
Our costs also fall into two main areas: support for the senior and masters squads’ participation in inter-county matches (about £5000 last year) and support for junior coaching and junior squads’ participation in inter-county matches (about £4000 last year).
Despite the dismal financial background, we would like to ensure that senior, masters and junior teams have county shirts both to make the teams look smart and business-like but also as recognition of players’ achievements in being selected to play for the county.
We are also promoting the Kent Development Programme to encourage more people in the county to play squash and racketball, particularly seeking to increase levels of junior and female participation in the sport. During the year England Squash took a decision nationally not to renew the contracts of its county development officers. In order to sustain the momentum of the Kent Development Programme, we have stepped in to ensure that the Kent Development Officer can be retained, with partnership funding from England Squash and other sources. The budget for the Development Programme and funding of the Development Officer is in place, but is ring-fenced for that purpose.
On the junior front, we have made a good surplus from entry fees for the County Closed which will be redeployed in supporting our junior activities, but we will still need to make the junior coaching activities more self-financing and will need to manage carefully the costs of attending inter-county matches. We are also considering introducing a junior registration scheme with a modest registration fee for players representing the county, as they do in Sussex and Surrey, which will help to offset the costs of team shirts. In Sussex they pay £20 and in Surrey £25 per player, and receive one team shirt. We are considering a registration fee of £25 but will provide two team shirts.
At the Kent SRA AGM it was agreed that the Kent Masters teams should be asked to seek sponsorship with a view to becoming self-financing. This will clearly take some time to accomplish, and in the meantime, I am proposing to cap the expenditure per team so as to bring the overall cost down to something more manageable. I will circulate something about this to team captains shortly. We are also considering introducing a modest registration fee for players representing the county senior teams, which will help to offset the costs of team shirts. An individual who plays for more than one team will only be expected to pay one registration fee. This would include juniors who are also invited to play for a senior team.
Inter-county squash is a key part of the annual squash calendar, and selection to play for the county is an important recognition of achievement in the sport. If inter-county squash is to thrive, we need England Squash to consider how it should be organised and funded in the future. In the meantime, we have to do the best we can with the resources at our disposal. We don’t want players to be seriously out-of-pocket if they play for the county, and indeed we don’t want players to be put off completely because the costs are too high. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable for players who play in inter-county teams to make some contribution towards the costs involved. I am striving to find the right balance with the limited resources available.
I would be pleased to receive any views on these matter s and ideas about how we might best address the current budget deficit. Also, if there are those who are willing to help us attract sponsorship, I would be pleased to hear from them.
Posted by Alan Thatcher on October 18, 2011