Despite lockdown, staff have continued their hard work from last year, into 2021. January went past in a flash and we certainly missed hosting the British Junior Open, but we have managed to progress work streams across the organisation. A snapshot of the last few weeks includes the following:
Participation & Programmes
- 15 clubs are involved in a pilot ‘Club Developers Award’ – the course is halfway through and includes external speakers/case studies that will help candidates create a club development plan. After a review and some refining, we hope to roll the course out again this year.
- We have planned and are creating a range of content as part of LGBT+ History Month
- We hosted the latest County Programme Manager workshop – c.25 attendees from across the country
- We are about to review the Club Toolkit – so we can support clubs with the most relevant material / content – if you have thoughts or suggestions please contact email@example.com
- We launched the Squash Girls Can Coach Facebook group - so we can continue to support and connect with the coaches from the programme (we expect c.50 coaches to join over the coming weeks)
- The England Squash Referees Award is now online – it’s an opportunity for members to learn more about the rules, and build enough confidence to referee (c.100 members have passed thus far)
- We hosted the latest referee development workshop, for active referees at club standard and above – 53 referees attended, which is a record high!
- Mission 2022 referees are leading the refereeing at the AJ Bell Championship in Manchester this week
- We have created a new Facebook group for coach members, which is proving popular – c.150 coaches engaging thus far
- The Level 3 Advanced Coach Award continues online – last week’s module was nutrition and candidates have also covered match analysis, group/individual coaching, skill acquisition…and more!
- After an extensive pilot and review, the new online Level 1 Coach Award will go live next week
Talent & High Performance
- We continue to host national squads for elite funded athletes – including preparation for Commonwealth Games doubles
- The team continue to connect with players across the pathway with challenges, fitness sessions and webinars – further activity is being arranged for players at Aspire (c.250 players) and Potential (c.32 players)
- The AJ Bell England Squash Championships (invitational event) was staged this week to provide competitive opportunities for elite players and it was available for members to watch too – the event has abided by all necessary COVID requirements, which has created additional work for the team. The finals take place tomorrow.
Competitions, Events & Commercial
- AJ Bell has been announced as Principal Partner for 2021- the partnership includes title sponsorship of several events over the coming months
- All junior sanctioned competitions remain cancelled – this will be reviewed once further announcements are made by government
- To support tournament organisers we are hosting a number of competitions webinars - sharing best practice and looking at different formats
- Agreement has been reached with the PSA to stage the British Open and the British National Championships later this year
Membership & Customer Experience
- An insight project, initiated before COVID, is back underway - we have revised the objectives, to better understand current attitudes towards squash and it will go live over the coming days
- We are working on the next phase of a CRM project, with the aim of delivering more targeted communications to audience groups, to increase levels of engagement, and acquisition/retention of members
- We are reviewing membership and affiliation, with a view to establishing how we can effectively bring it back later this year – with the smoothest transition possible
- We continue to engage with the squash community, including members and non-members – including a series of workouts on Instagram featuring Laura Massaro/Nick Matthew that have helped to keep squash visible and players active and moving!
- Over recent weeks we have welcomed both England Squash President Paul Millman, and World Squash President Zena Wooldridge to England Squash staff meetings - the opportunity to hear from both has been very welcome and provided a real boost to the team
- England Squash’s various working groups have continued to operate, covering a breadth issues, including Leisure Centre support, Safeguarding, Talent Development, Inclusion & Diversity, and Anti-Doping
We are now awaiting a government announcement later this month, when we will know more about the lifting of restrictions and our return to play. We will keep the community updated as soon as we know more.
Look forward to seeing you all at some point over the coming weeks and months.