Dear SJ Members & Community
The December 2020 AGM marked the end of my two-year term in office, however as the club and community will be aware I agreed to extend this with a view to follow the CIO project through to completion. With that mission accomplished, I will now hand over the mantle to the incoming team early this year as we are in process of preparing for the inaugural CIO AGM and hence this is my last year-end message.
Following an erratic and a sporadic first half of 2021, I highlighted the importance of refreshing and reinvigorating the operational delivery as the clouds of restrictions seemed to gradually disperse around the half-year mark and we could vividly sense the eagerness of the SJ community returning to the arena.
Whilst once again feeling the vacuum of various summer landmarks, the SJ volunteer troops delivered a series of spectacular events and activities throughout the year across our growing sports portfolio. This once again illustrated how buoyant the SJ spirit remains regardless of situation and demonstrated the club’s strength derived from our volunteers’ energy combined with our members’ ongoing engagement and support.
Navigation through circles of hope and anticipation dominated our lives in 2021 and SJ’s landscape very much mirrored this state.
Stanmore Jafferys together with sports clubs across the country, elite and grassroots alike, had to continuously adapt and revise their delivery faced by the currently unceasing waves of unpredictability.
Sports Landscape Challenges
Leaders in the arena foresee sports in Britain facing serious challenges with Covid-19 and its impacts clearly far from over. It is reported that there are more than 150,000 grassroots sports teams in the UK and the reality of the pandemic is that many will struggle to survive, meaning the enormous contribution they make to the community could be lost. To this effect there are ongoing efforts to support clubs and sports bodies, focusing on ‘rebuilding’ the community of people who enable sport and physical activity in communities and to protect its provision.
Reports also highlight the value of grassroots sports teams, often overlooked, and their role in the community. Attention is drawn to the view that grassroots sports clubs are about much more than sports and they play a vital role in the community they reside within, helping to tackle social issues and instilling confidence and transferable skills that players can put to good use beyond the pitch. Prompting the sports connection to wider and deeper issues within our society, experts in the field highlight that the impact of sports on mental health is often unseen.
“Lack of connection, motivation, feelings of loneliness all add to the pressure that many currently feel and the mental health of those involved with grassroots teams is not to be ignored.”
Data surrounding loneliness caught my extra attention, where the study suggests more than one in ten, or over 350,000, young people (Years 7-11, ages 11-16) report feeling lonely often or always. As restrictions were imposed, many children and young people were unable to engage with others in the way they were accustomed. Supporting children and young people to have meaningful social relationships isn’t just crucial to their physical and mental health, it also affects their engagement in their school and wider community cohesion.
The survey further reports that people aged 16-34 have seen activity levels drop over the past few years exacerbated by the pandemic and people aged 75+ have seen previous growth in activity levels halted and drop back during the pandemic, with no real sign of recovery.
Role of the Club
The purpose of sharing data as above is to paint the complexion of the environment within which we are operating. Monitoring the landscape is an essential part as we assess and analyse the role of our club, weaving our efforts into the wider context with the massive impact events over the last two years have made across our community departments.
“During this period, Stanmore Jafferys together with sports clubs across the community and country have shouldered a vital responsibility in keeping community spirits alive and we will continue to do so in 2022.”
Keeping the challenges actively in mind, our club is in a relatively fortunate position due to the groundwork and processes put in place over time. That said, there is a considerable amount of work still to be carried out to further strengthen the organisation.
Planning & Preparation
Whilst charting out the plan for the year, the first quarter will inevitably be filled with realignment and recalibration as we continue to pay attention to the dents inflicted over the past 20 months.
The establishment of Stanmore Jafferys CIO will play a fundamental role by furnishing the club with the solid platform it requires for a sustainable delivery to its members and community at the level they deserve.
“It is especially during a time like this where the planning and preparation palette will determine the quality and calibre of the colours the club will use to paint the coming years of Stanmore Jafferys.”
Structure & Volunteer Engagement
The CIO status will provide Stanmore Jafferys with a suitable and befitting framework, allowing club and community alike to prosper and progress.
“At the same time, it is imperative we ensure the maintenance of a sustainable and viable volunteering model, absence of which will impact quality and quantity of our delivery.”
With more than 100 volunteers currently across the board, the club has prospered over the years due to the volunteer troops’ unceasing commitment and passion. The club has been blessed with experience combined with fresh energy, taking the organisation through the various phases of growth and maintenance.
It is on this note, I humbly reach out to the members, inviting a pledge to engage and shoulder the responsibility we all share to preserve and continue the legacy of this great club.
On a Final Note
I will retire from office with Stanmore Jafferys serving more than 1,200 members across our community segments and with a brand recognised as a benchmark for organisations within our wider community structure and beyond. To that effect, I will share my final reflections on the institution as the sun sets in the coming weeks.
Entering 2022, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to my team, our volunteers, members, partners, and the entire community for yet another year wrapped and delivered in true SJ ethos:
“dedication and devotion combined with style, charm and elegance.”
Praying for a healthy and active 2022 for the entire SJ community.
With Salaams & Duas
Chairman, Stanmore Jafferys