Club given immediate COVID-19 lifeline of £25,000 as more is being made available; Club gives free membership to NHS staff; Footballer ‘to pay golf club’s staff wages’; COVID-19 latest

By Alistair April 5, 2020 10:32

A golf club has already received £25,000 of coronavirus funding from the Scottish government – money that has ‘secured its future’.

According to the Evening Express, Nigg Bay Golf Club secured the one-off grant after immediately applying for it. This was only available in Scotland to businesses under a certain rateable value. [UPDATE: Dunblane New Golf Club has also been awarded £25,000].

Club captain Graham Freeland said: “As a club we would have managed to remain afloat for about three to four months.

“Receiving the grant should ensure we are all right for a further four or five months bearing in mind we will have very little outgoings financially.

“I hope that this will help other clubs in the area see there is a future for us all in these very difficult and testing times.

“The club’s rateable value just scraped inside the financial criteria for the one-off grant of £25,000.

“The ratepayers of businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure sectors operating in a premises with a rateable value of £18,001 or up to £51,000 qualified and our figure only just made the threshold on £18,750.

“Obviously, the cash will go a long way to saving the club.”

A statement from Nigg Bay Golf Club on Facebook

The news comes as sportscotland is set to follow Sport England and make millions of pounds available to golf clubs.

The Scotsman suggests it will pay out £16.4 million from annual funding, by fast-tracking its grants to governing bodies, including Scottish Golf.

A statement to the paper said: “sportscotland recognises that the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is putting a real financial strain on many sports organisations. Scottish government and sportscotland are committed to working with partners to support the sporting system through this difficult time.

“We have communicated to all Scottish governing bodies of sport and local partners that they will receive six months of their annual investment in April / May, totalling £16.4 million.

“We have also decided to relax the usual targets or outcomes we would normally attach to our funding. This will allow them to mitigate the worst of the immediate impact on their operations, protect jobs, and continue to support their clubs and communities.

“We will continue to work closely with all partners to understand their specific circumstances in supporting community sport and will consider these as part of our ongoing commitment to determine what further support might be needed.

“In addition we are advising partners that much of the support put in place by the UK and Scottish governments for businesses and the third sector is relevant to sports organisations and we are working with them to look at how this might be applied.”

In other coronavirus news, a Scottish golf club is offering free membership to NHS workers in recognition of their work during this pandemic.

Cowdenbeath Golf Club. Image from Facebook

Cowdenbeath Golf Club has made the pledge – subject to member approval – to make memberships for all NHS workers completely free until the end of the 2021/22 season, reports Bunkered.

In a statement, the club said: “This is our way of thanking you all for the amazing job you are doing to help us and our families throughout this challenging time.”

Adult membership this year was due to cost £120.

The offer is open to every worker with NHS ID and will provide entry into all competitions, an official handicap and use of the clubhouse facilities.

Membership applications will be taken when the season resumes.

The former footballer Glen Johnson has revealed to talkSPORT that he and a group of friends have pledged to help fund the wages of staff at their local golf club to keep it afloat during the crisis. [UPDATE: It is believed the golf club is Beaverbrook GC].

“The night Boris Johnson announced the lockdown we were sat in the golf club,” the former England right-back said on White and Sawyer. “We’d just had a round of golf and we were just waiting for this speech.

“We were just sitting there without a care in the world, a few bottles of wine and a nice lunch, about eight or ten of us.

“All the staff had gone into their back room to watch the speech and they’ve all come back out crying their eyes out, because they all rely on this job and, like most people, they work month-to-month.

“So we sat them down with us and we just said: ‘Look, don’t worry about it. This place is only so good because of you guys being here, the way you treat us and what you do for us’.

“So the eight or ten of us all agreed there and then, that whatever the shortfall was, we were going to cough up and find enough money to keep them fully employed – whether the golf club is shut for six to eight months, whatever it’s going to be.

“We wouldn’t love it there so much if it wasn’t for them.

“We’re going to work with the golf club and cover the gap.”

And greenkeepers at one golf club are claiming they are being forced to continue with “hazardous” non-essential duties despite colleagues testing positive for coronavirus.

Caird Park Golf Club. Image from Facebook

According to the Evening Telegraph, union bosses representing greenkeepers at Caird Park claimed they were “raging” at being asked to continue to work after two of their number have been confirmed as having the virus and a third is self-isolating due to having symptoms.

The GMB’s Jim Cunningham said: “Following the confirmation of the cases the remaining staff feel they shouldn’t be asked to go into work.

“The union is backing this call and we are demanding that our members should not have to go to work in the meantime.

“We have asked that the remaining workforce is currently removed from such  hazardous duties.”

Jim added: “We have been told that golf courses must be maintained so that when the current crisis is over they can immediately come back into use.

“However, we don’t believe that the greenkeepers are essential staff currently.

“City council gardeners are not working at the moment and we don’t think our members should have to either.”

By Alistair April 5, 2020 10:32

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