Is there a ripple effect from small grants?
Is there a ripple effect from small grants? Can a little bit of money make a big difference? You’d be surprised. Each month, BIG makes grants of under £10,000 through Awards for All Many of these awards are for pieces of equipment or training that are vital to community groups but are just that bit too expensive to buy through fundraising like jumble sales.
As a cricket fan, I jumped at the chance for an afternoon’s cucumber sandwiches, tea and googlies at Cogenhoe (pronounced Cook-no) Cricket Club to find out more about how one small grant can make a real difference.
“Cogenhoe Cricket Club was established in 1882,” says Roy Quennell, chair of the cricket club and proud champion of the club’s achievements. “Our most famous son is Mal Loye who played for the club as a teenager before going on to play for Northants, Lancashire and England.
“We’re a small village and a small club. For some years our grounds staff consisted of one man, Peter Cox, who looked after the pitch with a single mower. To this day I don’t know how he managed it. But we applied to Awards for All for a new tractor mower and some climate covers. It’s made all the difference.”
The equipment has meant that the pitch is now safe enough for children to play on with confidence. The club has worked with the local school to encourage more children to sign up for the youth team.
“We have to have a strong youth team,” explains Roy. “Otherwise we won’t have any players for the future. The mower and climate covers make life much easier for us but the best thing is that they free up resources we can use developing the teams and the coaching.”
Ashley Davis,15, has come through the development process. “For a while there wasn’t a team for me to play in but then a bunch of us from the primary school across the road joined up and now I’ve come through to play in the first team. I’ve also been on the groundsman training so I know how to prepare the wicket.”
It’s obvious, from watching and listening to the club’s volunteers, how strong the sense of community is in Cogenhoe. The whole village is connected to the club in some way, from fundraising, coaching the children’s sides or just watching the games. The club even has an international flavour, taking on two South African players working at the local Homebase depot.
“We’re not the best cricket team in the world,” says Roy. “But we are the friendliest.”