The Gazette - February 2010

Sponsored by The Primary Club
Edited by Guy Whitehouse
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Publicity, Recruitment and Development

At its meeting on 31st October 2009 the committee adopted a four point plan aimed at encouraging more visually impaired people to join our association.

(A) We will offer teaching to visually impaired people at the venues where our events are taking place. This is one of the ways in which we hope to respond to the many requests for assistance we receive from those who would like to learn or from those who may have played in the past and wish to refresh their knowledge. It is not coaching for those who are already participating. Whilst we will generally seek teachers from those who are not already involved in the events which are taking place, we will be pleased to hear from any member or associate member who would be willing to provide teaching regularly throughout the event. Such teaching would normally take place while rounds are in progress. We will also be pleased to provide the same service for any associates or friends who would like to try their hand at the great game.

(B) For some time our publicity has included an offer to teach visually impaired people to play chess. Due to a lack of resources and insufficient members able to deliver this service it has never really got off the ground. From now on we are determined to rectify this situation. We will seek teachers from within or outside of our association who are willing to visit people in their homes or some other convenient meeting place. In this scheme as in the other parts of our plan, we will pay travel expenses and a modest fee where appropriate.

(C) One of the areas in which we have found it difficult to maintain a constant programme of development is our youth programme. We will redouble our efforts to find ways of contacting visually impaired youngsters in mainstream education and we will also offer teachers or coaches to clubs within special schools for the blind and partially sighted and, where a club does not already exist, we will offer to provide the help needed to establish a club. One of the areas of most concern has been our inability to maintain the interest of young players once they reach the age where they leave school and move on to university. We would particularly welcome views from anyone which might improve our performance in this area.

(D) Finally, an avenue we do not think BCA has pursued before. We will offer encouragement and practical help to any member or other individual or group of individuals prepared to set up a chess group or club for visually impaired players. This help could include provision of chess equipment and some help with travel expenses and other costs for a reasonable period of time to enable any such club to get on its feet. Setting up and running a chess club requires great dedication. It is not something that can be done on an occasional basis. If you feel you have that level of dedication, we would like to hear from you.

Summary: In all of the above strands of our plan we will welcome any existing member’s help, but we realise we will need to look further afield if our offers are taken up as we hope they will be. We have just embarked on a massive publicity campaign to get our message as far and wide as possible. In this each one of you can help. Don't be shy at blowing our trumpet and letting people know of the kind of support and services members of BCA now receive.

In the first instance bring any ideas you may have to Stan Lovell. This task, however, is more than one person can manage. We are looking for members who are prepared to join a working group to put our plans in to action. If you are prepared to roll up your sleeves, contact Stan now.

Stan Lovell.