The Groundsman

June 2013

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COMMENT the Groundsman June 2013 3 Say thanks to all volunteers in the groundscare sector V olunteers' Week took place on June 1-7 and I hope that everyone who enjoys sports surfaces went out of their way to say "thank you". Every year, it is reckoned that more than 20 million people in the UK donate more than 100 million hours every week to their communities – and it is estimated that the economic value of this activity is worth over £40bn to the economy. The efforts made day in, day out and in all weathers by groundsmen and women throughout the country deserve our recognition. Without them we would never get the game on. Our recent weather has tested those who run grassroots sports clubs. Increasingly volunteers are being asked to step in and run facilities as the cutbacks, especially in the public sector, have resulted in more local facilities being transferred to local groups to operate under the 'asset transfer' banner. This can leave many scratching their heads as to what they do next when it comes to maintaining the playing surfaces that they have got to quickly manage. " That's where our IOG members really are having an increasingly important role to play as a myriad of sports clubs simply wouldn't be able to stage their events without the dedication and expertise applied by these volunteers Contributors Karen Maxwell Managing editor Colin Hoskins Features editor " That's where our IOG members really are having an increasingly important role to play as a myriad of sports clubs simply wouldn't be able to stage their events without the dedication and expertise applied by these volunteers. They spend hours ensuring that the playing surfaces are of the highest standard and achieve first-class results on very low budgets. The IOG has a long association with volunteers, many of whom get involved in our Regions, Branches and, more recently, our Young Directors programme. Whether you are aged 16 or 60, getting involved with the IOG has proven many times over that you make life-long contacts and friendships and, as is the nature of the sector we are in, gain a lot of helpful advice. The IOG's annual Industry Awards recognise the contributions made by volunteer groundsmen and women, so if you know of someone who deserves to be recognised at our awards ceremony at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry in December, visit www.iogawards.com now to make your nominations. Meanwhile, a recent article in The Daily Mail highlighted a worrying new attack from HRMC on volunteers at grassroots sports clubs. As corporations such as Google, Amazon and Starbucks reportedly avoid paying billions in tax, HMRC is instead targeting the tiny amounts community sports clubs pay to helpers. The crackdown – described as 'a tax on village life' – has left many cashstrapped clubs facing ruin after receiving bills dating back years for those who help out by doing the cleaning, making tea and mowing the grass. These sums typically run into a few hundred pounds. Read more: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2332987. Amateur sports clubs depend on the help and goodwill of members who, among other duties, help coach and umpire. If you are facing such a problem then there are bodies that can assist you. The Sport & Recreation Alliance, of which the IOG is a member, can offer advice on tax and finance for grassroots sports clubs. Visit the website http://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/ stating you are a member of the IOG. Or click on policy, then tax and finance from the home page. Alternatively speak to your sport's national governing body. Don't get caught out. Geoff Webb, Chief Executive, Institute of Groundsmanship Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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