Ordinarily at this time of year, when the turkey has all been consumed and we start to look forward to 2021, our thoughts turn to BTME and our industry coming together. This will be sorely missed by many, not only in terms of conducting business, but the missed opportunities to catch up with colleagues and friends from across the country and beyond.
I think we have all found new ways of doing business this year and adapted in our own environments, but there is no denying that job losses and struggles within grassroots sports clubs will have a lasting impact on the industry. It was obviously encouraging to see the £50m rescue package agreed by the EFL and Premier League to protect lower league clubs, but is it all too late?
It's clear from our Grassroots roundtable discussion (page 12 of our latest issue) that both volunteers and funding have been lost and the general opinion is that things won't return to normal for a good couple of years. Despite this, each of our panel said that this year has encouraged them to work hard and do more for their facility - this strength and commitment should be commended!
Ongoing training and development shouldn't be forgotten throughout this time of restrictions and the GMA has recently launched its online 'Grounds Management Toolkit', a training resource aimed to support volunteers maintaining football, cricket, rugby league and rugby union pitches. In addition, BIGGA's popular Continue to Learn programme will take place entirely online in January and Grounds Training have just announced their 2021 open course programme.
It goes without saying that this year has been a challenge for everyone, both professionally and personally, and my thoughts are with anyone who has lost loved ones during the pandemic and, of course, anyone struggling with mental health or personal issues.
As the year draws to a close, I cling on with optimism that the new year will see the speedy circulation of the vaccine, fewer tiers and tears whilst sport across ALL levels returns to atmospheric stadiums/venues with a roar of a crowd everywhere. I accept it's a big ask, but we have to at least try to be positive.
Happy new year - stay safe.