The UKBGF has a long list of objectives, but the central theme has to be “growing the game”. After all, if we can’t aspire to this, what is the point of our existence?
One of our initiatives, to which we will be giving greater prominence from now on, is the new clubs start-up scheme, where we allocate funds to aiding new – or newish – clubs with a view to giving them a boost in their formative stages.
A grant of £100 is arguably not going to change the world for a new club as it looks to become established. However it certainly can’t hurt, and it may provide a focal point as clubs seek a little direction.
So far five clubs have taken advantage of this scheme, while others are in the pipeline, and the Federation has funds available to add significantly to this list.
We’re on the look-out for those well motivated individuals who acutely feel the lack of organised backgammon in their localities, and want to do something about it. Or maybe there is already some available, but things could do with a shot in the arm.
The boost of a £100 grant, access to a designated advisor to help them through their initial uncertainty, and the promise of a further £50 if things are still on track in a year’s time – all of these things are designed to add that little extra push which might just make all the difference.
If you are thinking about taking this route, how would you spend the money? So far different groups have had different ideas.
Paul Shaw, who has started up Lansongammon – a name which reflects the local pronunciation of Launceston, in eastern Cornwall – felt the need to publicise his efforts in a bid to spread the word around the area.
A local advertising campaign – in what is largely a rural area, although not a million miles from Plymouth – accounted for Paul’s grant. And while numbers are still low, Paul’s determination to make things happen will stand them in good stead
In Worcester, under the guidance of Sean Jones, they have been going a little longer. When Sean first got in touch with us, he was anxious about whether or not he was doing things right. Of course, there’s no absolute right and wrong in this.
But when you consider that in a relatively short time he has built a player base well into double figures, started a league, and sent a team to the recent UK Clubs Championship, where they were an absolute credit to themselves, it would be hard to argue that they are not “doing things right”. The grant has enabled them to add significantly to their equipment. And they are hoping to send two teams to next year’s UK Clubs event!
In Walthamstow, East London, Ossie Lundie-Smith comes from a slightly different angle. His Echo17 Events promotes many board games, including backgammon, which Ollie cites as his favourite. His grant went towards a new board and some advertising material. And Peter Christmas, an experienced player known to many from his regular BIBA visits where he is a former winner of both the English Open and the Scottish Open, has been inspired to set things moving in the right direction in Bognor Regis, Sussex. Once again equipment and advertising will take care of the grant, while Peter (and his brother Paul) are also looking to get things started in nearby Chichester and East Wittering.
Another player of some repute, Martin Barkwill, is the chair of the new North East Backgammon Association. And once they have decided how to spend the money, they too will have a bank transfer heading their way.
With other enquiries pending, this scheme definitely has legs. So far we have helped, or are helping, clubs from the length and breadth of England, with funds and expert advice.
I use the word England advisedly. We are, of course, the UK Backgammon Federation, but as yet we haven’t had any interest in this scheme from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. So to all you leading lights of clubs and potential clubs in those countries, this is your opportunity to get things going in your localities. Please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And any other English interest, too, of course…
£100 goes even further thanks to the Backgammon Shop – see the scheme page for details of discounts on boards and other equipment!