Although 2020 has been a challenging year for obvious reasons, we have made progress in attracting extra financial and staffing resources (details are provided below). This extra money and staffing will position us well to implement an updated strategy which is currently being developed. We all hope that 2021 will be a successful year for Table Tennis Ireland and we look forward to working with our Branches to that end.
Earlier in the year, the Board placed an advertisement for a Director through BoardMatch. Following an interview process, Ciara Joseph was appointed as an Associate Director at a Board meeting in July 2020. Over the last number of months, Ciara has demonstrated that she is very experienced and knowledgeable in the area of Human Resources. At our last Board meeting earlier this month, Ciara was appointed as a full Director.
On the 19th of October, we submitted our documentation and our proposed 2021 budget to Sport Ireland as part of the 2021 Core Grant application. We expect to receive confirmation of the core grant allocated to us by early January. We have requested an increase in our grant to support our plans for expanding participation in our sport by investing in grass-roots table tennis.
We advertised for a Participation Officer and following an interview process, Chris McGovern has been appointed to the role. Chris has commenced work with us this week and will initially be working two days per week. His primary role will be to improve engagement with our members, clubs, branches and various partners.
We submitted a Dormant Account Funding 2020 application to Sport Ireland, and we were allocated €20,000. With this initiative, we plan to collaborate with five Local Sports Partnerships, Irish Wheelchair Sport and the National Rehabilitation Hospital. We aim to work with children and adults with a disability or special needs and with children from socially deprived areas to involve them in our sport.
Sport Ireland has recently approved the placement of an Aspire Graduate for a period of eleven months with us. They will be allocating sufficient funding to us to cover the salary of the graduate. We have advertised for this role and completed interviews last week. The successful candidate will commence on the 7th of December. The primary role of the graduate will be to assist with administration and support the launch of the new Coach Licensing scheme.
The Board has approved the setting up of a National Safeguarding Committee. The committee will liaise with clubs on the implementation of safeguarding best practices and confirm that volunteers have completed appropriate safeguarding training and undergone vetting. The committee will comprise of the Helen Earley, the provincial Children’s Officers and John McKenna.
Throughout the year, our strategy committee has been active in drafting our new Strategy (2021 to 2024). The circulation of a draft for review to various stakeholders is due in the coming weeks. It is important that we hear from them to ensure that the draft strategy meets the needs of the membership and we can allocate the appropriate resources in the coming year to implement the strategy actions in full.
There has been on-going work by the Board and Management Committee on the return to play protocols. We have been liaising with Sport Ireland on the “Living with COVID 19 framework” for our sport.
Although playing opportunities have been, and continue to be very limited, we were delighted to be able to hold a safe and successful National Championships at the end of August. We hope that 2021 can see a return to provincial action and we wish you all the very best with your plans.
Both the Board and the Management Committee are actively involved in other matters so if you have any queries in relation to the above, or indeed matters which are not covered in this brief report, please let us know.
Issued on behalf of the Board of Directors