Ayr Development Group Report
For Ayr Curling Club AGM September 2021
The Ayr Development Group for season 2020/21 members were
Chair- Lynne Rowley; Secretary vacant; Treasurer Ian Wilkie;
Development officer Angela Kyle; Junior rep- Bert Andrews;
Board rep- Jim Boswell; Holly Hamilton; Bert McKay
Ayr development group works in partnership with Scottish Curling and Sport Scotland to deliver development of the sport at Ayr. This encompasses agreed aims and targets for each area listed above. As part of this agreement, Ayr was privileged to be awarded a Direct Club Investment (DCI) grant in 2018 which provided a released package of funds dependant on meeting targets, reducing in value every year until we could be self sustainable. Ayr was well on track to make this happen with the activities of 2019 proving that with the right focus and support from the right people, corporate curling could bring in the required revenue to support the development of curling at Ayr, employ our own development officer as well as bring in extra income for the ice rink improving sustainability.
Unfortunately with international travel cancelled and summer ice not available with indoor sporting cancelled, our activities couldn’t go ahead which reduced our income from an estimated £30,000 to £0.
We still had £9,000 reserves in the bank so we were pragmatic and decided to delay recruitment of a new development officer until later in the year.
With curling season approaching and a new system in place to support accessing the sport we love, Ayr Development group met with representatives from Sport Scotland and the Ayrshire Curlers board and decided to go ahead and recruit a new Development Officer. Angela started with us just in time for the icerink opening in September. She came with a background in marketing and started to benchmark our existing services and develop recruitment packages to target specific demographics when we had ice available.
Then the icerink closed. With uncertainty about whether we would get back to curling in 2021 or even have an icerink after Christmas, it was difficult to motivate the group. With the pandemic restricting contact, we moved our meetings online after the second lockdown in 2020. This reduced our attendees with a few committee members unable to access online platforms so with only 3 people regularly attending our meetings, we joined with Ayr Committee to create a collaborative group .
The Joint Ayr Curling Club Committee and Development group met monthly.
We reviewed the strategic plan and development plan and attended development seminars hosted by Ayrshire council and Sport Scotland focused on returning to sport . The Scottish Curling Ayr Development plan was all encompassing covering all area of development but Ayr decided we needed a more focussed plan for the immediate crisis. We began to form our own workplan focussing on membership recruitment. It morphed into a covid recovery plan as time moved on, prioritising getting curlers back on the ice and new curlers in the door.
Committee members led on initiatives such as working with Scottish Curling to support curlers through the summer months and encourage them to get ready for curling by improving their fitness. Online FIT sessions were already being scheduled with athletes showing how they improved core muscles or improved leg strength but we asked for a resource aimed at ‘normal’ curlers. These are due for release at the time of writing this report.
Pre season skill building sessions have been arranged ice dependant for curlers both returning to the sport as well as improving skills.
Plans were put in place to contact all lapsed or paused members to invite them back in for refresher sessions.
We also did an area wide map of business creating a directory of contacts to work with to support the area.
We refreshed the curling pathways making it clear and transparent how to get into the sport and develop new skills
Then we launched our marketing campaign aimed at Key workers.
This garnered support from local businesses, radio and papers and resulted in a list of nearly 80 people wanting to try curling when we open in the new season.
Angela worked as Ayrs Development Officer until she resigned her post in June 2021. Ayr did not have to contribute to her post in this financial year due to furlough and previous monies left with Scottish curling from the DCI grant.
It is with deep regret that our DCI grant has not been continued. Ayr decided to withdraw due to the uncertainty around income generation going forward into post pandemic sport so we have not re-advertised the post.
Angela continues to work with us on specific projects funded by our remaining development fund.
Working with our website and comms teams, Angela is rebranding Ayr Curling and refreshing our public image.
We thank her for her short term in office and welcome her continued support with her wealth of knowledge in marketing and communications.
Going forward, Ayr Development group will continue to work closely with Ayr Committee.
We held our AGM on 4th August.
Our thanks go to our retiring members.
Murray Stevenson, Ian Wilkie, Lynne Rowley and Bert Andrews.
Thank you for your support and input over the last few years.
Going forward, the new development group is
Chair- Robert Boyd
Treasurer- Charlie Steel
Jim Boswell, Holly Hamilton, Bert McKay, Lisa Mason.