Herts Baseball Club has been awarded a £500 coach education grant by the Hertfordshire Community Foundation.  This is the first funding secured by the club for the purposes of training new Herts coaches.

The award will pay for a two-day Level 1 coach education course run by BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK), the national development agency for British baseball.  The Foundation grant will enable eight club members to attend the training programme, undertake a practical assessment and, if successful, earn their entry-level national coaching certification as “Assistant Baseball Coaches”.

Five of the Herts candidates will work directly with the Herts Little League.  David Baird, Carlos Casal, Tim Elkins, Matt Johnston and Marc Martinez will form a significant portion of the 2010 coaching staff for the Herts youth programme.  They will instruct Little League practices, manage and assistant manage squads on game days, and spend time coaching in local area schools and helping the club to build rapport with other youth sport outlets.

The other three Herts attendees are coaches in the adult programme.  Andy Cornish (2009 Hitting Coach) will be joined by newly-elected managers Chris Barnes (AAA Eagles) and Kennet Pike (A Raptors).

Herts Baseball Club is hosting the BSUK-taught course at a local school on Saturday 13 and Saturday 27 February.  Part of the £500 in HCF monies will pay for the venue hire costs, while the rest will cover the course attendance fees for all eight coaches.

In a related development, the Herts adult and youth programme directors have also been awarded coach education bursaries for 2010.  Marty Cullen (Herts Little League Commissioner) and Jason Greenberg (Manager of the National League Falcons) are both completing a Level 3 baseball coach candidacy this spring.  Cullen has been tendered £150 by the Dacorum Community Trust toward his course fees, while Greenberg has received £135 from the CCPR-endorsed Torch Trophy Trust.  Level 3 is the highest tier of formal UK baseball training with course modules and assessments covering every aspect of the sport and spread out over six months' time; the Level 3 course fees total £275 per candidate.

“Herts Baseball Club would like to extend sincere gratitude to the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, the Dacorum Community Trust and the Torch Trophy Trust for their generous support,” said Greenberg.  “Since 2008, Herts Baseball has seen unprecedented growth as the Little League has expanded to include more than 100 children and the adult programme has more than doubled in size, now with a team in each league of the British Baseball Federation.  Coach education is a major goal for our club in 2010, and these grants allow ten coaches to expand their credentials and knowledge base at very little personal expense.  It is – in a word – fantastic.”

The increased number of certified coaches should allow Herts Baseball Club to finalise their ClubMark accreditation, unlocking further opportunities to fundraise and recruit new players.

Hertfordshire Community Foundation exists to tackle deprivation in Hertfordshire and beyond.  It is currently the largest non-statutory grant giver into the county and in the last year (2008/09) has awarded more than £1 million in grants to charities and community groups.  The HCF £500 fund was part of the Comic Relief scheme, which endeavours to enable local people to create lasting change in their communities.

The Dacorum Community Trust is a charity dedicated to helping those most in need within the Dacorum area, by managing and distributing money it raises locally from individuals, companies and organisations.  The Trust was officially launched in 1976.  It was one of the first Community Trusts to be set up giving advice and support to other Community Trusts who have been set up all over the country.

The Torch Trophy Trust has its origins in the 1948 Olympics held in London. Before every Olympic Games a torch relay is organised from Athens to the Host City. Following the 1948 Games, the Torch designed for the last leg of the Relay into Wembley Stadium was presented to the Trust.  TTT provides small Bursaries to assist volunteers in sport and presents Awards to individuals who have been identified as making an outstanding contribution as a volunteer in their chosen sport.

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