Norma: Finances still a struggle

As netball heads into a new season, one of the major talking points for the next six months will be funding. 

In particular, the Cayman Islands Netball Association will be looking to increase its coffers after investing heavily in a national coach. For association vice president Norma Ferryman, the financial shape of the sport is no mystery. 

“As you know, our sport does not have a lot of rich people in it,” Ferryman said. “There are a lot of young people and students. Government can only pay so much. We have to pay the coach, travel expenses, etc. It’s not so easy and it’s not easy to grab sponsors. 

“Netball doesn’t have any money. We’re not a rich association. We have to depend on the public. We’re always on the line, just meeting the objective. We could do more with more money, like going overseas. Finances will always be a question for us but we’re trying.” 

The association began its 2012-2013 open league, the national women’s competition, last Thursday. The first four games at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts serve as preseason matches with round one of the regular season slated to launch next Thursday, 29 November. All eyes are on reigning champions All Stars A, who feature talents like Pauline Bodden. 

In recent months, netball’s finances have been well documented. According to the 2012-2013 purchase agreements between Cabinet and the netball association, the Cayman government is granting $69,654 to the association. Additional income came through the association’s biggest annual fundraiser, hosting the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble, which performed in Cayman back in July.  

For the last fiscal year, the government grant was $77,393. About $50,000 went towards the annual salary of technical director Gillian Lee, who came over from Australia in April and is on an initial two-year contract. 

A significant amount of spending for this fiscal year figures to be on national team travel. Cayman is sending a national Under-21 team to the seventh World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on 22-31 August, 2013. There are also plans for an U16 national squad to compete abroad. 

Association president Lucille Seymour states there could be additional spending on paid positions within the sport. 

“The netball technical director cannot be the panacea,” Seymour said. “We need at least four paid staff members. That would be possible with funding from government and the private sector.  

“We need that because some sports are getting thousands in fundraising while we’re getting hundreds.” 

The association is currently governed by an executive board that, in addition to Seymour and Ferryman, sees Lyneth Monteith as the second vice president, Indiana Watson as treasurer, Onicia Mitchell as secretary and Linda McField as an advisor.  

Seymour’s role in the sport is subject to change. After 29 years as president, she is planning to retire. She alluded to the move at the recent uniform parade, which featured teams like the John Gray High School Flames. A succession plan is in the works and Seymour is slated to shift her attention to fundraising. 

Regardless of Seymour’s position, Ferryman states the financial future of netball will rely on public input. 

“Finances will be a struggle throughout. Luckily, people have been kind to us. The Minister of Sports Mark Scotland was kind to us and we look forward to people joining with us.  

“It’s a sport that builds up people’s character, forces quick decision-making and it’s always an advantage for persons to play as they can adapt to people in society. They then become fantastic people in the community such as doctors, lawyers and so on. They in turn can have people willing to support us.” 

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