The AGM went well up to the point where we asked Thomas Mann, General Manager - Active Stirling, to give us an update on the progress of getting both the NCA and Peak ice ready and available for Clubs to return to curling. Then the technical gremlins pounced and Thomas's audio suffered some major problems. At that point we tried a couple of ways for Thomas to re-join the meeting and eventually he did so by telephoning into the meeting.
So Thomas come in at around 16 minutes into the recording but you will struggle to hear all that he is saying - so skip through to 23 minutes where Janet Simpson, the new Chair of SCG and I (and by that time I have stepped down as Chair and have been elected as Secretary of SCG) give some added information on what Thomas was trying to say. Thomas eventually rejoins the meeting at 25 minutes in. Please listen to what he says as it will give you information about the 2 stage return to curling - Phase 1 being the 28th September to the 25th October in the NCA nand Phase 2 from 26thy October to the 3rd January 2021 when both the Peak Ice and NCA ice will be available for club curling,
Please also follow the recording through to the end as at around 32 minutes and 30 seconds I give SCG's response to Thomas's update and explain why SCG are fully supporting Active Stirling's plans.
Please try not to send or phone enquiries to Active Stirling direct as they only have restricted staffing levels due to most ssssssstaff still being on furlough. If you or your members need assistance on setting up or reactivating their Active Stirling account then there is advice on the joint Active Stirling/Stirling Curling Group communication that was sent out earlier today.
For SCG to move forward on the ice allocation for Phase 2 we will need to engage with you on if/when your Club is likely to return to curling - whether it be from the 28th September - or the 26th October - or not until January 2021 or even not until the start of the 2032-22 season. Also we will need to discuss with you how many sheetsb you are likely to need during phase 2.
At this point I must point out the reality of the situation:
We, SCG, have not yet had absolute confirmation from Active Stirling on the session times in either the NCA or the Peak Ice - they have been planned but may be subject to change should the Scottish Government and SportScotland amend their Guidelines to prevent further cases of COVID-19.
As SCG do not yet know the BC/SC/AS Programmes in Phase 2 we do not yet know what ice will be allocated to SCG. What we do know is that it will NOT be all 3 sheets in the Peak every weekday evening because AS programmes and Skating will take up some of the ice. Equally we know that we will not always get 3 sheets in the NCA every evening as BC may also be curling on 1 or 2 sheets and there can only be 3 sheets in use at any one time due to the strict guidelines enforced on AS.
Hence Ice will be severely restricted and our current guesstimate is that we will only have around 20% of normal ice availability - hence Club ice will be severely restricted. This could be an overcautious approach because we do not yet know how many clubs/curlers will want to return in late October - anecdotal evidence suggests some Clubs may not return until January 2021 and some even may sit the whole season out. Great you may say - all the more ice for Clubs that do want to return. No SCG will say because our agreement with AS is to get as many curlers as possible to return to curling - some curlers whose Club is not coming back to curling until January may, themselves, want to come back from late October onwards. AS and SCG are committed to have ice available for these curlers throughout this period by SCG running leagues or competitions.
So to prepare for our communication with you, and if you have already done this - great - will you please engage with your members to see how many will wish to come back to curling especially for Phase 2. Once we've had an informal chat about your requirements then we will send out a more formal ice allocation request and once we get responses from all we will endeavour to allocate ice as fairly as possible but again as I've tried to intimate above we have restricted ice available so you will need to think of different ways to run your club leagues and competitions to use much less ice.
Just in case you may not have seen it, Scottish Curling have published on Youtube a video of what curlers should expect when they return to the ice rink and curling sheet. The video was filmed in the NCA (and you may recognise a few of the stars!!). As I said at the AGM, elite curlers are allowed to exercise and train off-ice without wearing a mask BUT club curlers MUST wear their masks at all times within the NCA (and eventually the Peak Ice) except when they are actually on the ice playing the game. The video can be found at https://youtu.be/iGc7OrCqn-U
The SCG Committee and Active Stirling look forward to welcoming you and your Members back to the NCA and Peak Ice.
Secretary - Stirling Curling Group