In communities across Scotland, National Lottery funding is enabling people who underpin the sporting system to continue their work during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The funding is helping to ensure people will be able to take part in sport at all levels, and we want to say thanks to everyone who plays the National Lottery by highlighting the impact of this investment.
Nic Wilson is Cricket Scotland’s head of participation – a role funded by the National Lottery. During lockdown Nic reached out immediately to all 132 member clubs.
She said: “Once we realised the scale of the crisis and the consequences it was going to have, we wanted to know straight away where our clubs felt the most severe impact would be – and what we might be able to do to help.
“We published a survey on 25 March and we had a response rate of just over 90% within three weeks.
“There were financial questions that enabled us to get an insight into where the problems were.
“Valuable information was gathered on projected loss of income from membership, bar takings and fundraising in the scenario of some cricket or no cricket, as well as on the issue of ground maintenance and how long it would take clubs to get ready for any possible activity/matches.
“I think the fact we responded so quickly went down well with the clubs, and in the end we got responses from 129 clubs. We got the impression that they were looking to us for guidance and leadership.”
Getting to know you better
Like many organisations, Cricket Scotland was left with no option but to furlough some staff due to the cancellation of all cricket.
This created an unfamiliar environment but it also provided an unexpected opportunity for senior leaders like Nic and her chief executive, Gus Mackay – who had joined CS in November 2019 – to engage directly with the membership in a way that might not have been possible for them during a busy season.
“In normal circumstances our National Lottery-funded team of development staff would have been connecting with clubs about a survey and making sure they all knew we were there to help,” explains Nic.
“There were 20 or 30 clubs that didn’t initially respond, and I saw that as an opportunity to connect on a personal level with them. And it wasn’t just me – our chief executive Gus also got involved in various Zoom calls.
“I just feel like the personal contact we were able to establish was a huge bonus.”
In the public eye
Apart from the improved internal communication achieved through the survey and virtual meetings, Cricket Scotland also turned a negative into a positive by enhancing their external digital coverage of the club scene.
CS media and communications executive Lizzie Sleet said: “It was shaping up to be a busy 2020 summer of international cricket for all of our national teams.
"On the back of a historic 2019 when we hosted the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier, we were due to host the Australia and New Zealand senior men’s teams in Edinburgh, ahead of the men’s ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia later in the year.
“The players in our senior men’s team are contracted professionals so when they became furloughed, it immediately changed our promotional focus because we couldn’t use that resource any more.
“This gave us an opportunity to shift the focus to community cricket – and engagement with club content on our website and social media channels has shot up as a result.”
Alongside the #ClubToCountry series, which features interviews with players such as Megan McColl of Arbroath United, the domestic section of the CS website shows the variety of stories that have been told in the absence of any actual cricket on which to report far this season.
On social media, Lizzie created a variety of posts designed to get people talking about their love of community cricket, covering the many important voluntary roles that people play within their clubs from coaching to umpiring and scoring.
Not forgetting the magnetism of the international game – the senior men’s team’s win over England in 2018 has been hailed as one of the greatest moments for Scottish sport in recent years – Lizzie also created tweets that created engagement from nostalgia, such as the ‘best innings’ post below.
Cricket Scotland’s regional associations followed up with a second survey to clubs in mid-May, enabling CS to gain a deeper understanding of the full implications of the crisis.
This time the aim was to ask clubs how they planned to react to the ‘route map’ out of the crisis published by the Scottish Government. This process led to another improvement in internal communications channels.
“Consultations with our five Regional Associations, which are run by volunteers, are held on a more regular basis than usual, to make sure we involve them in our decision making around cricket competitions, leagues and cups,” says Nic.
“The Regional Association surveys were intended to gauge the feasibility of friendly, local, club cricket matches, should government guidelines allow at the end of the summer. There is definitely an appetite amongst clubs and players but as we all know, all will depend on the government’s decisions around exit strategy.”
Find out more
- Visit the Cricket Scotland website
- Follow Cricket Scotland on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram
- We’re saying #ThanksToYou for playing the National Lottery and helping to fund projects in Scotland that enable people to take part in sport at all levels. Visit the National Lottery Good Causes website and check out other #ThanksToYou content on Twitter