Having effective strategic and operational practices in place over a number of years, it is no wonder that the Cumberland Nepean and Newcastle District Softball Associations, affiliated with Softball NSW, have reached Homeplate Status through Softball Australia’s Homeplate Ladder Program.
Cumberland and Newcastle, together with their member clubs, are incorporated and compliant with the Department of Fair trading, have completed the Club Health Check, and have met all Softball Australia’s National Affiliation Standards. In addition, they have updated their Constitutions in the last 18 months, and Cumberland has even established a by-laws committee to oversee their governance. Additional best practice includes online registration and a current Working with Children Check database
Both associations have developed training and development programs for their volunteers including umpires, coaches and statisticians. Volunteers are encouraged to complete the Play by the Rules online training modules, and policies and procedures have been updated to ensure member protection, safety and wellbeing.
A major achievement for both associations in 2017 is membership growth of approximately 12%. Come and try days, letter drops, shopping centre information stands, school gala days and sausage sizzles are some successful recruitment initiatives they have implemented. Both associations also encourage and assist their clubs to recruit in their own area to maximise opportunities for new members.
Men, women and children are well catered for and the facilities are maintained and upgraded regularly to meet members’ needs. Newcastle has had a long partnership with baseball to help capture additional members and the association has now partnered with Western Raptors Rugby Union providing three additional 3 teams to their already strong roster.
The focus of applying for multiple funding grants has seen Cumberland successfully rewarded with more than $20,000, and Newcastle receiving $22,500. This funding relieves the strain on budgets and enables both associations to provide those little extras that may not have been possible without it.
Community awareness is also at a forefront and annual charity days are part of giving back to the community. Cumberland’s clubs all have an opportunity to run a charity event with money raised going to the Adolescent Ward at Westmead General Hospital; Newcastle participate in the Wayne Sotheren Gala annual gala day to raise funds for cancer research. Strong relationships have been forged between local members, councils and media, which ensures as much exposure as possible for local events and achievements.
As both associations and their clubs continue to grow and develop, we congratulate them for their work on and off the diamonds.