Chalfont Softball Club to lead development work at Farnham Park

Mon 16 Jun 2014

In a major step towards stronger development and community engagement for baseball and softball in South Buckinghamshire, BaseballSoftballUK has announced that Chalfont Softball Club has relocated to Farnham Park and will be a centre for development activity at the flagship facility.

The move, which will ultimately involve a club name change, is an opportunity for BSUK to work closely with a strong and pro-active club to increase participation in baseball and softball in the area and to use the iconic venue as a catalyst for further promotion and exposure of the sports.

BSUK has been looking for a club to move to the venue and call it ‘home’, and Chalfont Softball Club, voted Club of the Year in the 2013 Bucks and Milton Keynes Sports Partnership Awards, seems a great fit.
 

Win-win situation

The move will result in a close working relationship between club leaders and BSUK development staff to support delivery of community projects and development programmes aimed at increasing participation in slowpitch softball, fastpitch softball and baseball.

For the club, this will be a great opportunity to grow its membership and activities, utilising the best facility in the country, with the aim of expanding to a multi-stranded club over time.  The club will be a focal point at the facility and (capacity permitting) will work with BSUK to support and in some cases lead on a wide range of development projects.
 

Programmes

The Chalfont Committee and BSUK have already set out a vision for a multi-stranded club and have begun to map out development programmes that can be run to achieve it.  These might include:

  • Softball for Beginners programmes
  • Baseball for Beginners programmes
  • Play Ball! youth baseball league
  • Girls' fastpitch softball programme
  • Farnham Park School Softball Series (established in  2014)
  • Primary school taster events
  • Beep Ball and other disabled participant sessions
     

As a result of the move to Farnham Park, BSUK and the club will work together to draw down additional funding and build a workforce sufficient to deliver these kinds of programmes.
 

Expectations

Neil Turner, Chair of Chalfont Softball Club, said, "The decision to move seemed the right one to make.  This is our second season playing league games at Farnham Park and this season we have also moved club training to the facility.  BSUK presented us with a future vision of our club that far exceeded what we had ourselves.  The partnership we are going to have with BSUK in the next five or six years is an exciting one, and we are all looking forward to working together to develop a club that is much larger than the one we are part of now, offering slowitch, fastpitch and baseball to members along with a wide range of junior and community programmes.  Farnham Park is a fantastic facility and we look forward to being part of a process that puts it and the club right at the centre of a local ball-playing community.

"We are already seeing benefits of the partnership," Neil added. "The Play Ball! programme has been set up by BSUK and is being run by Sam Dempster, the GB Baseball Head Coach.  Our coaches and volunteers are gaining valuable experience in giving Sam support at the sessions ahead of taking over the programme for future seasons.  We look forward to sitting down together with BSUK over the autumn to start working on the club’s development plan."

BSUK is also excited about this development.  Joint CEO and Head of Development John Boyd said: “Chalfont is already one of the best clubs in our sports, having won awards for development work and with a committee of talented volunteers.  BaseballSoftballUK is thrilled to partner with them.  The club, with home use of our facility and a significant programme of BSUK resource and support, will have a first-class opportunity to turn the area into a hotbed for our sports.”
 

Play Ball!

One of the first programmes that will cement Chalfont's move to Farnham Park and its role as a hub for development activity will be a re-launch of Play Ball! youth baseball this summer, funded by Major League Baseball and BSUK.

The Play Ball! programme, to be run locally by Chalfont Softball Club and MLB Coach Sam Dempster, will offer youngsters 9-12 years old across Slough and South Bucks the chance to join a local baseball league on Friday evenings.

Over the next two to three years, Play Ball! will help to establish a local Little League programme administered and delivered by the re-named Chalfont Softball Club.

More details about the Farnham Park Play Ball! Programme can be found here

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