Sussex Cricket chiefs make move to protect jobs in pandemic lockdown

Sussex Cricket has furloughed the majority of its non-playing staff under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Happier days at Hove
Happier days at Hove

A small number of employees will carry on working to ensure the continued operation of the club.

Chief executive Rob Andrew said: “The shut-down of cricket and with it nearly all the club’s commercial activities until the end of May at the earliest means that we were faced with no alternative but to furlough as many staff as possible during this period.

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“The decision has been taken with one thing in mind, which is the protection of everyone at Sussex Cricket’s jobs once we emerge from these extremely challenging times.

“I want to thank our staff for their dedication, professionalism and understanding at what has been and remains a worrying and uncertain time. We are lucky to have so many excellent people working for the club.”

Sussex Cricket reminded supporters of the effect the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Sussex Cricket’s activities, as previously reported.

They said:

Everyone at Sussex Cricket hopes that Members, supporters, partners and their loved ones are all faring as well as can be expected during these extraordinary times.

Our priority remains the health and wellbeing of everyone involved with the club. With this in mind, we continue to follow all government advice regarding the current situation. We urge everyone else to do the same.

The 1st Central County Ground – the site and its facilities are now closed to the public (except for a small number of events deemed essential – please see ‘Conferencing & Events’). Nearly all our staff are now working from home. Phone lines are not being manned, but any enquiries can be directed via email to your usual contact or [email protected] Grounds, maintenance and security staff are working at the ground in solo shifts, with the necessary health and safety measures in place, to ensure the upkeep and safety of the site.

Other sites – Blackstone Academy Ground, sponsored by Hurstpierpoint College is closed to all users. Grounds, maintenance and security staff are working at the ground in the same manner described above.

Conferencing & Events – all but essential events at The 1st Central County Ground have been cancelled or postponed until at least Thursday 28th May in line with the ECB’s decision regarding the cricket season. A very small number of those events deemed critical (i.e. blood donations) are taking place.

As it stands, bookings are being taken for later in the year. Conferencing & Events staff are working from home and can be contacted via email or mobile phone.

Men’s professional cricket – all UK-based members of the Sussex squad and coaching staff have returned safely to the country and are following government social distancing guidelines. David Wiese and Stiaan van Zyl (South Africa) and overseas player Travis Head (Australia) will remain in their home countries until further notice and are following local advice. Head coach, Jason Gillespie has returned to Australia and will also remain there until further notice.

In line with social distancing requirements, players are not able to access The 1st Central County Ground and facilities at present. Players are following a bespoke online training programme created by the club’s strength & conditioning team, while health and wellbeing advice is being provided by the club’s medical staff.

Sussex Women – as is the case in the men’s game, women’s county fixtures have been suspended by the England & Wales Cricket Board until at least Thursday 28th May. Players are receiving remote advice and support from coaching staff.

Sussex Cricket Foundation – despite the suspension of its cricket delivery activities, the SCF is endeavouring to continue serving the community throughout the current situation.

Participants in the Sporting Memories programme are receiving weekly activities in the post and one-to-one phonecalls from staff and volunteers as we continue to address the impact of social isolation.

Dedicated WhatsApp groups have been created to allow our disability cricket participants to remain in contact while sessions are not taking place.

The Sussex Cricket Foundation social media channels are providing weekly skills challenges to help adults and children stay active at home.

Many Sussex Cricket Foundation staff are using the time in which they would usually be delivering cricket sessions to volunteer in their communities and a number have signed up to join the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.

Full details of the impact of COVID-19 on Sussex Cricket Foundation programmes, can be found here.

Recreational cricket – since our last update, detailed information regarding this season’s men’s and women’s leagues and festivals, the Sussex Slam and junior leagues has been provided to clubs and participants. This – as well as advice for the maintenance of facilities under the current circumstances - can be found here.

On Friday 27 March, the ECB confirmed that the All Stars Cricket and Dynamos Cricket programmes will be suspended until further notice. The full statement can be viewed here.