Like all sports clubs across the Island, the Jersey Squash and Racketball Club was forced to close its doors indefinitely in March and officials have since had to rely on good-will to keep the organisation afloat. Multiple donations, believed to be in the region of £12,000, have been received from an anonymous club member and the Jersey Squash Association, to cover one quarter’s rent and outstanding bills respectively.
The club’s courts and bar regularly host national and international tournaments at the Recreation Grounds in St Clement but the site’s future success will largely depend on upcoming changes to health restrictions. The Government of Jersey has launched a new Sports Consultancy Group to guide clubs back to full health, although JSRC could remain restricted for most, if not all of 2020 due to the nature of the two activities.
‘Ironically the club was in a strong position before but because we’re a club we don’t have any real capital to fall back on,’ said JSRC president David Campbell.
‘As of 20 March everything was fine but then on 21 March we simply had to close down the facility in totality. All the courts were unplayable and the bar had to close. That caused us a big problem because our main income comes from the bar and from court fees when members play. That income fell off a cliff and it put us in a difficult position.
‘We’ve been very lucky in that the Jersey Recreation Grounds are excellent landlords … the whole point of the Recreation Grounds is to foster and encourage sport and we’ve come to an agreement over how we can pay rent and when. There is no pressure at all to pay rent now when we have no income.
‘The JSA were able to give us a donation to cover some of our smaller bills and our members have been fantastic and very understanding. They have continued to pay their annual membership, despite not seeing value in the last couple of months, and we had a cash donation from one particular member, which was fantastic.’
Campbell explained that JSRC have received approval from the government to re-open one court for solo training and same-household games only, while one-on-one coaching may soon be permitted. However, muted concern remains.
‘All in all we’re in a reasonable position but we just don’t know when we will be fully operational again,’ he added. ‘It will probably be some way down the line.
‘I am confident we’ll be alright because the Recreation Grounds are wholly supportive of us keeping the club running – and we’re the primary squash facility in Jersey. That said, if there was a second spike and things carry on into 2021 we would have an issue. We’re not out of the woods yet and I guess the longer things go, members could start to look elsewhere for sports to play. That would have a serious impact on us.’