The Groundskeeping work at The Cloughan is carried out by a team of 7 Volunteers;5 of them are over 70.These are retired members of both the rugby and cricket club who volunteer a significant amount of time to the maintenance of 5 Grass Pitches, A Cricket Square and a significant number of Trees, Fauna and Open Drains. There are several banks around the venue that cannot be cut by the tractor powered major mower as there is a danger of the tractor to roll on the slope. The club currently has no mower suitable for this task, and currently relies on 2 members members transporting their own mowers to the club to cut the banks, during the summer growing months this is a weekly task.
The grounds team have requested that a Ride on Mower is purchased which is specifically designed to safely cut slopes and areas with inclines. This is exactly what we require for our older volunteers to continue with the full maintenance of the club grounds in a safe manner. In addition, it will reduce the time burden on volunteers, allowing their volunteer labour to be better utilised elsewhere, remove the cost associated with transporting and maintaining their own machines for club use thus allowing financial resources to be directed towards other grounds improvements.
Numerous studies have shown the health benefits associated with Volunteering – from reducing blood pressure & stress to increasing social connections warding off loneliness and depression, especially in the elderly. We have a dedicated and highly skilled volunteer workforce, and we want to provide them with the tools to continue their work safely, allowing them to provide high quality playing surfaces for the provision of all sports.
|Ariens Zenith Zero Turn Mower (60 Inch)
Head Groundsman Peter Caldwell commented “over the last 14 months, during the COVID-19 Pandemic and associated lockdowns, the volunteers of the older generation at the club have found the grounds maintenance at The Cloughan to be an absolute life saver in terms of mental well-being and staying active in a safe, outdoor environment”. The direct impact will be on the safety and time requirement of our volunteers - a new mower will allow them to spend less time completing tasks using inferior equipment, and more time preparing the pitches for use. The indirect impact will be that the pitches will be able to take more use, and thus the playing numbers, and time lost to unplayable pitches will be reduced. It is estimated that the voluntary provision of labour at the club equates to £60k pa (3000 hours @ £20ph) - the estimated time saving from a new mower is estimated to be 2 hours per week - equating to approx £2k per year.
We have a strong track record from recent projects, some are listed below: SimplyHealth & Sported - £2k for Community Hall Enhancement Lottery Awards for All - £9.7k for Community Hall Enhancement Hagan Homes - £25k for Disability Access Lift Enkalon Foundation - £1k for Grounds Improvement Moy Park Community Fund - £12.5k for Outdoor Community Pavilion We have also recently Crowdfunded £11,189 (https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/ballyclare-rfc-community-hub) for our Outdoor Community Hub and Academy Team. In 2019, with grant funding from Wooden Spoon, Antrim and Newtownabbey Council and support from Mount Charles - we hosted the Wooden Spoon Tag Rugby Festival for people with a learning disability - this brought over 900 players, coaches and support staff from all over the UK together and was hailed as a huge success and an event that we would love to re-host in the future. https://www.thefrontrowunion.com/2019/06/club-fantastic-fun-at-wooden-spoon-tag-festival/