Clubs are continuing to obtain lottery grants with the "Awards for All" scheme. John Grant, in his letter published in the May issue of the Gazette, reports the success of Auckland C.C. with their application to buy a mini-carpet. This is the third carpet bought by "Awards for All" grants in the North - a remarkable success story, and a lead for clubs in other regions. The Yorkshire Federation also has a mini-carpet, and it will be interesting to see what impact the ability to play croquet in winter, and take croquet out into the community, will have on the health of the northern clubs. The mini-carpet in the Southeast Federation has been used to very good effect by a number of clubs as a recruiting method but, as far as is known, no lottery application has been made for a mini-carpet by any southern club.
Medway C.C. are to be congratulated on being the first southern club to be awarded an "Awards for All" grant. The grant of £4,376 has been given for the purchase of playing equipment for "Taster Sessions". Grants for equipment have been obtained by other clubs but linked to junior or schools development. In this sense Medway appear to have broken new ground.
The "Awards for All" has proved to be a successful means for clubs to obtain lottery grants and clubs should be encouraged to apply. The story with applications for the larger capital grants is, unfortunately, so far, one of failure. Sussex County's appeal failed. We await the results of the Blewbury and Budleigh Salterton clubs' applications with interest. Both clubs prepared thorough and well-prepared submissions.
Relations with Sport England remain a problem for the C.A. The policy of not supporting minor sports appears to be set, with no support being given for large club developments or help with financing events such as the World Croquet Championships. Sport England have demanding organisational and procedural requirements for all sports, of whatever size, and it leaves minor sports such as ours, with limited voluntary resources, facing the same regulatory requirements as the Lawn Tennis Association. To try and improve our position, a Working Party is being set up to examine all facets of our dealings with Sport England and make recommendations to the Management Committee.
Following the discussion in the Development Committee on the difficulties the very large clubs were having financing their development programmes, a proposal was submitted to, and approved by, Council giving the Management Committee authority to make larger C.A. grants to the few major clubs in the sport to develop the capacity of the sport to successfully host the increasing number of major home and international tournaments and competitions. Following a meeting with the clubs, it was agreed, with certain conditions, that Sussex County and Budleigh Salterton would be given grants of £6,000 and Cheltenham £2,000. Southport has ambitious plans to increase the number of their lawns to eleven and build a new clubhouse. They plan to apply for a lottery capital grant mid-2002. It was agreed that Southport would be given a grant of between £7,500 and £10,000 if their application proceeds as planned and the project is implemented.
If all four projects proceed, the quality and capability of the major clubs to host events and function as centres of excellence will be greatly increased.
Southport and the C.A. have jointly purchased a gateball set. Southport intends to use gateball as a means of access to schools and other groups. It will be publicised as a separate game to croquet. The club hopes to generate sufficient interest at school and junior level to make it a main theme of their lottery application in 2002. The objective is to integrate gateball into the club's activities and thereby strengthen the croquet club. Progress with the game will be publicised and opportunities will be given to other clubs to experience the game.