NICSSA SPORT & LEISURE ANNUAL REPORT 2010 Contents Council Members page 1 President‟s Foreword GK 2 Chairman‟s Introduction GK 3 Organisation & Functions GK 4 Review of Activities 2009 KD, RD 6 Health Promotions JC Annual Rewards KD Financial Report GK 17 Performance Against 2009 Business Plan GK/ KD 19 Appendix 1 - Affiliated Club Reports RC 21 Appendix 2- Competition and Events Reports KD 37 COUNCIL MEMBERS President Bruce Robinson Chairman David Ferguson Vice-Chair Gerry Cosgrave Honorary Treasurer Michael Carson Chief Executive Gerry Kelly Affiliated club representatives Carol Warke Martin Taylor John Mulgrave Jim Holmes Kieran Connolly Eugene McConnell Elected representatives Bertie Ellison Lynda Sloan Ward McConkey Ray Murray Peter Close Social Club representative Chris Heatley Pavilion based sports club representative Gareth Herron President’s Foreword (Insert GK report & Photo Bruce Robinson) Bruce Robinson President Chairman’s Introduction (Insert GK report & Photo David Ferguson) David Ferguson Chairman ORGANISATION & FUNCTIONS (Smaller photo to be inserted) Established in 1950 the Northern Ireland Civil Service Sports Association (NICSSA) operates under the auspices of the Department of Finance and Personnel as a sport and leisure provider for Northern Ireland civil servants and associated members and their families. NICSSA is headed by a Chairman and supported by a 17 Member Council and Secretariat. AIMS & OBJECTIVES NICSSA’s aim is to: - Improve the health and well-being of its members and their families by developing and promoting a wide range of high quality and affordable sporting, leisure and lifestyle opportunities. NICSSA’s objectives are to: - develop and promote health and well being programmes for all staff within the Northern Ireland Civil Service and Public Sector Partners; promote the formation of clubs representative of each region and sporting and leisure activity; provide sporting, recreational and leisure activities, services and facilities for members in a way which represents value for money, either directly or in partnership with private or public sectors; ensure improvements in the quality of services to members; and secure ongoing value for money and efficiency in the management of NICSSA. Review of Activities (insert photo) Introduction This report provides a summary of the activities enjoyed by members throughout NI during 2010. More detailed reports on the outcome of the 2010 business plan, the activities of each of NICSSA‟s single sports clubs and the full range of events and competitions are set out in the Appendices 1-3 at pages 20-23. Membership Services Responding to the needs of members and providing services, activities and events that are relevant, accessible and provide value for money lies at the centre of NICSSA‟s offering. With this in mind we continued to develop the service we offer members in 2010. Despite stiff competition from the sector and the economic downturn, membership of NICSSA grew to end the year up by just over 889-an increase of 489 on the 2008 figure. A series of marketing initiatives including marketing roadshows in government buildings, NICSSA exhibitions and the ongoing development of the Membership Plus benefits scheme contributed to the growth. As part of the Membership Plus scheme we introduced several new membership benefits and a whole range of additional offers for the benefit of members. We continued to develop Membership Plus insurance scheme to provide a competitive, cost effective insurance package for members. Overall uptake through the Membership Plus scheme in 2010 reached an all time high with the most popular redemptions being recorded in sports shops, restaurants and cinemas. The year was also marked by improvements in the Membership Plus ticketing scheme for Ulster Rugby matches and concerts at the Odyssey Arena. The scheme which provides an opportunity for members to apply for one or more of four season tickets to watch their favourite team or artist proved to be very popular with members and will be developed further in 2011 with the addition of other teams and sports as part of a strategy to develop the offering to members.. Conscious of the changing lifestyle preferences of our membership base, we continued to work hard throughout the year to develop and deliver our services and events for members, particularly those located outside the Stormont Estate. In this context we, in conjunction with regional representatives covering clubs in Belfast, North and South regions, organised several additional events in the year to cater for members and their families. Details of which are set out in the report on competitions and events at Appendix 3 to the report. (Photo–????) Affiliated Clubs Overall 2010 saw a significant increase in the activities of affiliated clubs and their members. 2010 saw in the introduction of the Omagh Area pilot study which will see 17 government buildings in the Omagh area come under the one forum. The forum will see a representative from each building. As in previous years, affiliated clubs participated in a diverse range of activities and events which included involvement in centrally organised events such as the M & D‟s theme park, Down Royal etc, regional CSSC qualifying events and competitions whereby winners of the NI heat qualify for the CSSC National finals and their own specific club events and activities-full details of which are set out in the appendix to this report. (Photo –???) Development of Facilities PlayBall Get on the ball at PlayBall... The new £2.4 million PlayBall facility, which is situated at the Pavilion Stormont, is the first of its kind in Belfast, opened its doors in July 2010 & was completed i8n its entirety by September 2011. The project which was completed on time & within budget facility provides the ultimate experience in 3rd generation playing surfaces and has been developed with the support of Sport NI and Bank of Ireland. PlayBall boasts 9 synthetic all weather pitches, perfect for 5 aside football, along with an international level, water based hockey pitch. September 2010 saw the successful launch of PlayBall, with the organisation of two events to attract a wide target audience. The MLAs v The Media match was a great platform to officially open PlayBall and in turn created the desired hype with both the press & The NI Assembly. PlayBall got the ezxcellent PR and exposure as a result of the match. The match was closely followed by a Free Sporting Family Fun Day to outreach to the local community; this certainly exceeded PlayBall’s expectations and attracted over 5,000 people. The sports clubs were highly involved which definitely added to the overall event success. PlayBall experienced a minor set back in December 2010 as a result of the extreme weather and therefore sports had to be cancelled. However PlayBall continues to go from strength to strength with high demand for the pitches from a wide range of audiences from Glentoran, PSNI & Civil Service Hockey, Castlereagh Development Centre, and Down Hurling to Belfast Braves ladies Soccer Club. In addition to these clubs, schools, birthday parties, corporate clients to groups of friends regularly book slots to play on the first class 3G surface. Here’s to a successful 2011! Activ Health Club 2010 2010 started off as usual with our always successful batch of New Year promotions. New members could avail of our Annual offer which meant that they could get a whopping 3 months free membership when they paid up front for 9 months. This is always very popular with the existing members too, who can decide to switch to this membership also. The offer is then repeated twice more in the year. This again sees around a quarter of our members take this membership, once more showing great confidence in our club and the staff! New and existing members could also bring a buddy along to the classes to try them out, and we also offered new class goers the chance to experience each of our classes free for one time each. This got the year off to a great start, the classes all still proving very popular. Class numbers reached an even higher peak than previous years. Bodyburn and Spin again the frontrunners, particularly Spin, which sees its waiting list for bikes grow even longer. We welcomed Emma onto our team during the year. She began her tough and rigorous Skip fit classes, which soon morphed into Bootcamp. The class was that challenging, we simply had to rename it- not for the feint hearted. We also had a new Dance Aerobics class during the summer with our flamboyant instructor Jayne. She had everything from Michael Jackson Killer classes, to Grease and all the old favourites. May brought around marathon time again. This time our chosen charity was Natasha‟s Journey of Hope. All money going to help local girl, Natasha Falls. A very worthwhile cause everyone agreed. The members and families again turned out to make it another great year. We had 5 relay teams, 4 brave souls travelling the full 26 miles and 2 gallant fun runners. This meant we were able to raise almost £1200- A club record! As usual, we ended the day with our Annual Post Marathon Table Quiz and Barbecue for all those involved and their families. July and August again brought our hugely successful Activstep scheme, which gave new members 8 weeks membership for just £30 each. This brought in over 100 new faces to the club over the summer months, again a great success. September saw the arrival of Joanne and Lesley Anne, who have taken over the Beauty side of Activ Health & Beauty with great success. Their massive ranges of treatments and products have left our members spoiled for choice. They are always trying out new treatments and have plenty of new offers and tricks to come in 2011. We also had a very successful year offering our members an extensive range of discounted Maximuscle nutritional supplements, and this year added the great range of Underarmour clothing to our club. This was a huge success, as you would expect with such a renowned and popular brand. A very busy year for Activ once more, with both classes and fitness suite usage levels reaching new heights. With Activ Health Club now being taken under the NICSSA umbrella, we can expect great things in the coming years. This combined with our knowledgeable, friendly and highly trained staff, excellent facilities and a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere should make for a very exciting and successful 2011! (Photo – ????) Events & Competitions As part of the National Week of Cycling, events were organised in Belfast and Coleraine. NICSSA continued to build on its relationship with DHSSPS (Health Promotion) in organising these events which were very well supported. The Celtic Games had its best attendance yet at Herriot Watt University Wales with 140 participants from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland taking part in a variety of sports. The morning sports were Football, Badminton, Table Tennis, Volleyball & Triathlon, while in the afternoon members had the opportunity to experience Boulez, Kurling, Basketball, Tennis and Rounder’s. A meal and disco finished off what was a very successful Celtic Games. (Photo–????) Health Promotion Health Works While the economy struggled in 2010, the Health Works programme continued to deliver its programme of health promotion services, attracting new clients in the period including Coca Cola Dublin, North West Regional Colleges and Southern Regional Colleges. In total we delivered 46 training courses - not surprisingly the majority were requested by clients to focus on stress related health issues. We also delivered 8 Health Awareness Exhibition Days and were invited to speak at 8 business conferences, including the Health & Safety Executive‟s Annual Conference and Young Farmers Club AGM. The attraction of new clients to the Health Works programme was due, to a large extent, to Health Works‟ breakfast seminar, “Passport to a Healthy Workforce”. This was a great marketing opportunity to promote the programme and was attended by more than 100 representatives of companies in the private, public and voluntary sector. Our guest speaker Jan De Vries reinforced the message that staff health investment pays dividends for both the company and individual. 2010 was a year in which we developed partnerships with key health promotion organisations. These included NICS OHS, developing the programme targeting young Civil Servants (aged 25 and under), the Stress Awareness Roadshow-visiting 3 new locations and finally delivering Health Work‟s training to DFP staff as part of a major research project evaluating the impact of health promotion initiatives on staff. We also developed our relationship with the Forum for Action on Substance Abuse (FASA) in 2010. The focus with FASA was on developing a drugs awareness programme for young civil servants. 10 young civil servants, who had attended the NICS OHS funded training course, completed accredited training at their own behest and were formally presented with their certificates by Sir Bruce Robinson, Head of NICS. Other new health promotion initiatives rolled out in 2010 included: A 6-week weight management programme offered to staff of the OFMDFM A health initiative in partnership with the Health & Safety Executive targeting young farmers - “Wellbeing in Wellies” Health issues for hairdressers in partnership with Health & Safety at Work NI; and Health education for parents and children at Millennium Primary school. At Health Works we look forward to 2011, to continue developing our health promotion training programme, our client base and helping more people throughout the country make positive lifestyle changes. Annual Awards (Club & Team Photo) The Chairman’s Reception and Awards The annual reception and awards evening was held on Thursday 27th January 2011 with over 120 guests representing the network of affiliated clubs and the wider NICS. The Bloomfield Trophy which recognises sporting excellence and administration, contribution presented by Sir Kenneth & Lady Bloomfield and the winners were Darrell Wilson for sporting Excellence and Michael Kelly for his valuable contribution to NICSSA. A new awards addition to the reception is the Sports Development Award. The UK Civil Service Champions were present by NICSSA Chairman, David Ferguson to the Outdoors Pairs Champions, Fred Murdock & Gareth Bell, the Triples Champions Billy Girvan, Sandy Dalzell & Rodney Nesbitt, the Fours Champions, William Scott, Robert Johnston, Erin Montgomery & Fred Murdock. The Health Works Award was also presented at the event to recognise the efforts of course graduates who have put the Health Works message into practice. The Health Works Awards were presented by Sir Bruce Robinson. The individual award was presented to Helen Ryan of DFP. Also FASA training certificates were presented to those who completed the training in Alcohol & Drugs training; these were presented to Donna Darcy, Gavin McCann, Ashleigh McCullough, Rory Rafferty, Chris Forsyth, Nicholas Browne, Lee Toner, & Robert Shore. The Sports Development Award went to the NICS Junior Football Club and this award was presented by Gerry Kelly, NICSSA. The Cliff Radcliffe Cup was also presented on the night to the Team of Year, the NICS Men‟s 1st XI Hockey team in recognition of their achievements throughout 2010. The next award was the Leslie Sloan Memorial Cup which was keenly contested by 3 clubs, Great Northern Tower, Netherleigh, and IRTU, but it was Great Northern Tower who received the 2010 club award for their endeavours and enthusiasm to the work with members of the Association in 2010. The final award on the night was the Honorary Life Membership and this award was presented by Sir Bruce Robinson and this award went to Brian Murphy. Business Plan Performance I am delighted to report on the performance of the Association against the key priorities which were set out in the 2009 business plan. A summary of the key business priorities for the year is set out on page *** of this report. These are contained under five inter-acting strategies; marketing and sales, corporate development, membership services, sports development and facilities management and health promotion. Under new governance arrangements agreed in 2009, responsibility for overseeing the implementation of these strategies fell to Bertie Ellison, sports development and facilities management, Ray Murray, marketing and sales, Lynda Sloan, health promotion and John Mulgrave membership Services. The majority of what we set out to do during the year was achieved. Under corporate development we implemented new strategic and business plans for 2010- 2012, which includes targets for recognition of volunteers and further development of our community outreach activities. We continued to develop our existing relationships with Sport NI, governing body of sport within Northern Ireland and with our colleagues in CSSC, London and Sportslink, Dublin. On the marketing and sales front we developed a marketing and sales plan for the organisation with the key priorities of raising awareness through the development of a new website, more effective communication with members and targets for improving membership and business growth. Clear evidence of the success in this area was reflected in an 8% increase in membership;, improved footfall in the Pavilion complex and a significant increase in sales of Membership Plus related services. Under membership services we delivered a comprehensive programme of activities which resulted in much greater participation levels, particularly in, family events.. We also embarked on stage one of a programme to develop a regional structure for clubs with a project in the Omagh area. The Health Works programme developed with the introduction of a programme for young civil servants and a research project within DFP aimed at overseeing the impact of health interventions on attendance. The programme also benefitted from a partnership with Linwoods, the producers of health foods such as flaxseeds, hemp and goji berries all of which are given out to participants in the various healthworks programmes. Finally, under capital development we started with the help of Sport NI, the first stage of the masterplan for the future development of the facilities at the Pavilion complex. Looking forward to 2010, we will launch the new Playball facilities at the Pavilion complex, , which will continue to develop our activities and services programme and aggressively market and promote these to members to improve participation. Gerry Kelly Chief Executive (Photo Gerry Kelly) Financial Report This report should be read in conjunction with the summarised profit and loss and balance sheet accounts on pages 15 and 16. Despite a reduction in income of £32k, the Association finished the year with a surplus of £63k, and total reserves of £505k. Turning to the detail behind the figures. Healthworks income was down by £24k as a result of restructuring of the programme to provide a more streamlined package of courses.. Other income which includes sponsorship and advertising was also down £24k showing the impact of the economic downturn and the capacity of organisations to invest in advertising and Public Relations activity. However, these reductions were offset by an increase in subscription revenue which rose by £23k reflecting the impact of an increase in overall membership during the year and an increase in Membership Plus commissions and Marketing contributions. Whilst overall expenditure was down by £52k, staff costs were up by £18k as a result of the employment, late in the year of a Business Development Manager, for the new Playball facility and costs associated with providing cover for staff on maternity leave. Grants to clubs increased by 16k due to an increase in activity within affiliated Clubs. Business support costs also increased by £11k which was due almost entirely to input VAT for the final quarter of the year. These increases were more than offset by reductions in Healthworks expenditure of £36k as a result of the delivery of fewer courses during the year, Pavilion expenses which were down by £19k showing the impact of the implementation of efficiency measures at the Pavilion and a reduction of £29k in loan interest as a result of the drop in the BOE interest rates. The net result of the profit and loss activity during the year resulted in a surplus of £63k and total reserves on the balance sheet of £505k. 2010 (£) 2009 (£) INCOME Government Grants 120,727 Health Works (Including Government grant of £25k) 166,060 Subscriptions 504,696 Facilities Charges 98,267 Deferred Income (capital grants amortised) 20,491 Membership Plus and Marketing Contributions 31,750 Interest on deposits 14 Other income 12,019 TOTAL INCOME 954,024 EXPENDITURE Staff Costs 356,384 Health Works 60,014 Business Support Costs 82,631 Pavilion Complex 107,981 Grants to clubs 105,218 Membership Benefits 30,647 Competitions - Civil Service Sports Council 7,834 - NICS Sports Association 4,987 - Regional Activities 16,458 Depreciation 102,005 Loan Interest 16,128 TOTAL EXPENDITURE 890,377 (DEFICIT) SURPLUS FOR THE YEAR 63,647 FIXED ASSETS Pavilion Redevelopment 1,421,430 Fitness Equipment 13,734 Computers and Equipment 20,154 Outdoor Surfaces and Equipment 446,459 TOTAL 1,901,777 CURRENT ASSETS Stock 2,619 Subscriptions due 37,919 Cash at Bank 6,701 Prepayments and Accrued Income 10,995 Debtors control fitness equipment 69,030 VAT due 25,896 TOTAL 153,160 CURRENT LIABILITIES Bank Overdraft 9,462 Bank and other loans 87,611 Other Creditors and Accruals 21,369 Deferred Annual Grant 32,750 NICS Social Club 28,000 Staff Costs Accrual 6,875 Deferred Creditor 20,491 Creditors control 261,236 VAT - TOTAL 467,794 NET CURRENT (LIABILITIES)/ASSETS 314,634 CREDITORS DUE AFTER ONE YEAR Loans 662,578 Deferred Income 419,546 1,082,124 TOTAL ASSETS LESS TOTAL LIABILITIES 505,019 REPRESENTED BY: SHARE CAPITAL Issued and paid up to date 3,456 Less forfeited up to date (2,016) 1,471 CAPITAL RESERVE 2,724 REVENUE RESERVE 500,824 TOTAL RESERVES 505,019 PERFORMANCE AGAINST PLANS Priority Outputs Intended Outcomes Responsibility Progress CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT Formulate and implement - Monitor progress Produce quarterly Directorates organisational strategic and against plan in progress against plan business plans. respect of 2010 reports for executive business plan. board and council. CEO - Consult with key Consultation complete stakeholders as by Aug 2010 and part of strategic findings reflected development. where appropriate in business planning process. CEO - Formulate draft plans for council Draft 2011-2013 plans approval. presented to council for approval by Sep CEO 2010. - Compile final draft strategic Final draft of plans plans 2011-2013 approved for and business plan implementation by for 2011 for Dec 2010. consideration of council. In consultation with DFP explore - Research models Proposal to be CEO/HR Director the scope for formal recognition of good practice developed for of the work of NICSSA’s club and develop a submission to DFP by office bearers and volunteers. range of options June 2010 for the consideration of DFP. . . Develop stakeholder - Hold formal Development of new CEO relationships to further business meetings with key relationships and objectives stakeholders potential new funding including partners to further - DFP business - ICU opportunities and - Sportslink support further capital - CSSC development. - IFA - Ulster Branch - Sport NI. Develop nominated charity of the - Select charity of Conclude selection Events Team year relationship. the year for 2011. process by April 2010. MARKETING AND SALES Improve Association’s profile - Implement the Meet targets for Marketing and marketing and improved public Sales Team sales strategy to profile and growth (as further develop the set out in the profile of the marketing and sales organisation and plan) in each of the its services and key business areas by activities. December 2010. Develop corporate membership - Identify potential Achieve two new Marketing and corporate corporate members Sales Team members and by Dec 2010. implement strategy to secure their membership. Increase membership sales - Increase Achieve net Marketing and individual membership growth of Sales Team membership sales 700 by Dec 2010. across the NICS and partner organisations through marketing and sales roadshows and other sales initiatives. SERVICE DEVELOPMENT Develop the sports and leisure - In conjunction Draft programme for Events Team programme with Membership 2011 to be produced Services Director and agreed by and clubs develop Council by Sept 2010. an activity programme to include more family and non- traditional activities. Increase the range and quality of - Carry out a Survey to assess Marketing and membership benefits under the membership members’ views Sales Team membership plus brand survey to assess completed by Apr the success of the 2010. scheme. Membership Services -Introduce new Two new members offers based on offers to be feedback from introduced each Membership members. month. Services - Meet with providers of sports Secure three and leisure additional sports and services as part of leisure centre the process to services for members develop new by Dec 2010. services for members. SPORTS DEVELOPMENT AND FAILITIES Implement phase 1 of the - Complete phase In conjunction with CEO/Sports masterplan for the Pavilion 1 development NICS hockey club and development and Complex. plan for the Sportni complete the facilities Pavilion Complex. project to develop new artificial hockey and recreational soccer facilities at the complex by April 2010. - Assess the scope for the introduction Produce report on the of phase 2 feasibility of phase development. two proposals for capital development by Sept 2010. HEALTH PROMOTION Develop the Health Works - Develop a Proposal to be Health Promotion programme proposal for the submitted by April Manager delivery of health 2010. promotion training to local councils - FINANCIAL Secure non grant capital funding In conjunction with Secure £200k CEO/Hockey to support future development NICS hockey club through fundraising Club/Sportni/Sport plans and Sportni strategy by March development and implement the 2010. facilities objectives of the fundraising and income generation strategy to support phase 1 capital development. Increase the proportion of non- Exploit the income Increase the Marketing and grant funding to support current generating proportion of non- Sales Team running costs potential of the grant funding by 10% membership plus by Dec 2010 scheme, rental of facilities at the pavilion to third parties, and sponsorship to increase non-grant income. Appendix 1 – Affiliated Club Reports NICS Archery Club 2010 marked a new phase in the history of the Archery Club with the move to the Pavilion grounds at Stormont. The excellent facilities were supplemented by the addition of a container providing secure storage for the large amount of equipment required for shoots and fundraisers. The dog walkers and joggers are getting used to having their traditional routes around the pitches disrupted and we‟ve fielded many enquiries from passers-by. This move to being a Pavilion-based club has meant that all our members were required to join NICSSA. Unfortunately this resulted in a slight drop in membership, but hopefully this will increase in the future with our presence in Stormont Estate. Unfortunately we were unable to participate in the NICSSA Family Fun Day in September, as it fell on the weekend of the National Championships. Two beginners‟ courses were held at Loughside Recreation Centre in the spring and the autumn. They were both well supported, although only three new members resulted from them. Belfast Royal Academy‟s sports hall on the Cliftonville Road now provides facilities for a club night each week and two competitions per year. Thanks are due to Paul Shaw for the initial contact and to our Chair and Treasurer for their hard work in making it possible. Unfortunately this was all too late to hold the Portsmouth Stafford shoot in March, but we look forward next year to making this a premier event for the club. The remaining competitions – the Robin Hood, Double York/Hereford, Ralph Best Memorial and the Summer FITA - went off without a hitch and the work of the grounds staff was much appreciated. As usual, a team went to the CSSC National Championships held in Altringham, Manchester and brought home medals and trophies - 2nd Regional Team and 2nd National Team - and individual awards. Individual achievements this year have included: NIAS Gents Barebow Champion & All Ireland Gents Barebow Champion – Brian Webb NI Clout Ladies Recurve Champion – Patricia Webb CSSC National Outdoor Championships: Vixen Trophy – Claire Merron; 1st Associate Barebow – Ciaran Campbell This was a very different year for club fundraisers as Glenarm Castle‟s Highland Games were not held. This mainstay of the fundraising calendar left a bit of a hole in the finances, meaning we‟ve had to draw on our funds from previous years. A new event for us, Fathers‟ Day at Mount Stewart, was very successful and it is hoped that a larger pitch next year will bring even better results. NICS Athletics Club The NI Civil Service Athletics Club has had a busy year both in terms of civil service events and expanding its influence into wider athletics to the advantage of local charities and communities. It has a wealth of individual experience in competition, at all levels and distances, as well as organisation and management of athletic events. It plans to utilize this more in 2011 and with the support of the NICSSA, expand its sporting influence internally to the service and externally to wider athletics in Northern Ireland. The following are its main contributions to Athletics during the year. NICSAC Cross Country – Stormont Estate February The annual Stormont Cross Country was a great success with around 200 primary school children taking part. As a result of the work of Robbie Burrows the Primary School category is now the biggest in Northern Ireland. The event also features: juniors in all age categories, an open race for senior and veteran runners, as well as civil servants championships. It also includes an inter services competition between NICS, Prison Service and Police Service teams. Defeating strong opposition, the NI Civil Service Athletics Club team won the inter Services Cup. Belfast Marathon Relay – May A NI Civil Service Athletics Club relay team was entered in the Belfast Marathon and finished in 88th position out of 1,646 teams. Greyabbey 10Km – July Club members; Ray Murray, Robbie Burrows and Michael Kelly created and managed a new 10K race in Greyabbey on behalf of the Helping Alopecia Trust (HAT). Not only did this attract over 200 participants it also raised over £800 for the local charity. Portaferry 10 Mile – July The NI Civil Service Athletics Club committee has worked with Athletics NI, UP&RUNNING and the Portaferry Gala Committee to make this both a community and top class athletics success. This is now a classic and this year raised £1,500 for the Gala Committee and local community. Club Marathon Trips – September/October The Athletics club organised two Marathon trips this year, Budapest in September and Dublin in October. These events continue to be extremely successful and also give new members a chance to experience the big events. For example club members David Burrows and Helen Ryan ran their first ever marathons in 3 hours 39 minutes and 4 hours 57 minutes respectively. NICSAC Club Trophies The Club cups are given annually to the members who achieve the best performances in Half Marathon, 10 mile, and 10Km races and this year it was an amazing clean sweep by Jim Breen. Other Mentions Relationships with UP&RUNNING and NICSAC Club committee members have developed over the years and the club provided marshals for both RunHer events held at Stormont in June and October. These events were spectacular successes with around 1,000 women taking part in each. In addition, Michael Kelly has provided a key Results Service and related administration support for the following additional events during the year: Downpatrick 10K; Darragh Cross 10k; and Loughin Island 5 Mile Road Race. NICS Chess Club In 2009 the Pavilion was the venue for three major chess tournaments: the Williamson Shield in January, the City of Belfast Festival in May, and the Civil Service Summer Tournament on 21 Wednesday nights running from May to September. This last-named competition attracted a record number of over 50 contestants this year. Perhaps another year things will be more hopeful. The Pavilion is certainly a popular venue with chess players. NICS Cricket Club At the start of the Season an Anniversary Dinner was held, with a game the following day against an M.C.C. side. The newly acquired Club flag flew proudly during the game which was to mark milestones (150 & 60 years) for each of the merged clubs. Players and guests enjoyed the display of silverware, photos and other memorabilia which had been set out. For much of the season which followed the firsts languished towards the bottom of the Premier League. A strong finish saw them boosted to 6th place. The games that were lost tended to be close games which could have gone either way, and the team can take some satisfaction from the fact that they were able to hold their own despite the absence of key players for many games. Club Captain Nigel Jones was one of those players, called away for duty with the Ireland team. Regan West was also unavailable for the entire season, recovering from shoulder operations. At the NCU dinner John Costain won the Sonny Hool award for NCU bowler of the year, well deserved after a particularly strong second half of the season. Club pro. Kieran Noema-Barnett, set a new Club record score of 192 in a 40 over game against Glendermott. In the game against Cork County in the Irish Senior Cup the spectators at Stormont were treated to the very rare sight of two centuries on the board at the same time in a limited over game. Stephen Dyer and Nigel Jones were the centurions, and they became the first pair to achieve this for the Club in any competition. The Second XI, under Robert Morrow, underperformed and were relegated. At the beginning of the season they had difficulties getting a strong team out, but even later in the season when players were available they were unable to produce the performances required to stave off relegation. Of the more junior teams the 5th XI, under Keith Gibson‟s captaincy, won promotion by finishing in second place in their League. The NCU leagues are to be restructured during the closed season, and it is not entirely clear where they will be promoted to. The other teams finished in satisfactory positions, and although the senior teams produced no silverware this year five of the six captains will continue next year. This continuity can only be of benefit for the development of the Club. 2010 saw the first CSNI ladies team take to the field. A day out to Fox Lodge in the North West was arranged, and the ladies played a little round robin competition against other ladies teams. Nigel Rountree and his daughter Sarah, a qualified coach, take the credit for the formation of the ladies team. Their continued development will depend on regular opposition becoming available, and it is hoped that other local clubs will soon be able to provide this competition. The boys‟ teams continue with unabated enthusiasm. The Club membership provides excellent support for the juniors, many parents being prepared to do their bit to keep the juniors going. The Under 13s brought home their League trophy. The Under 11s shared the 2009 league, which was held over from last year. A number of the Club‟s juniors have been selected for representative teams, and it is hoped that their development will continue through to the senior teams. Along with regular coaching at net practice the Club also held a „Summer School‟. Three weeks of more intensive coaching during August. Arthur Ross takes much credit for the success of the scheme this year, which eclipsed all previous years. On the ground the introduction of ring drainage around and between the pitches has been an unqualified success. As regards the development of facilities, the aim remains to become a centre of excellence providing top grade coaching and practice facilities. NICS Golf Club The Golf Club participated in several major golf competitions during 2010. NICSSA/CSSC Handicap Competition (Convenor - Eamonn McCarron) The Handicap Qualifier was played at the Hilton Golf Club on Monday 26 th April 2010 with 110 players taking part. The winner was Alec Wallace, DRD with 66, followed by Gareth Tully, DRD, Peter Fitzsimmons, CPD with 70, John Taylor, NI Water, Gerard Thornton, PSNI with 71. Scratch Cup (Convenor – Tim Johnston) 34 entries turned up at the Galgorm Castle Golf Club on 24 May 2010. The weather conditions were very favourable and the course was in great condition. At lunch-time, joint leaders were John McBurney (Donaghadee) and Seamus McGranaghan (Castle Hume) with 74, closely followed by Tim Johnston (Clandeboye) and Michael Stewart (Down Royal), but with a further 8-10 players within 6 shots of the lead, nothing was settled. Conor McCaughey (Dungannon) followed his morning round of 78 with a simply magnificent 71 for a 36-hole score of 149, pipping Seamus McGranaghan, whose afternoon 76 gave him a total of 150. The podium was completed by Kevin McKeown (Lurgan), with 154 (78, 74), beating John McBurney (74, 80) on a count back. Tim Johnston‟s 155 (76, 79) grabbed 5 th, and John Taylor (Portstewart) completed the team for the CSSC Finals with 156 (78, 78). National Handicap and Scratch Finals – Kenwick Golf Club, Louth, Lincolnshire, England on 1- 3 September 2010 The NICSSA Handicap team was made up of Alec Wallace, DRD, John Taylor, NI Water, Gerard Thornton, PSNI, Gareth Hunter, Army, Neil Given, DED, Paul Watters, DSD and Michael Alexander, DRD. Conor McCaughey, DSD, Seamus McGranaghan, DSD, Kevin McKeown, DSD, John McBurney, Account NI, Timothy Johnston, DFP and John Taylor, NI Water competed in the Scratch Final. The top three players in both the Handicap and Scratch qualifiers represented Northern Ireland in the Team event coming 2nd behind England. Gareth Hunter top scored with 35 points. In the Handicap Finals Neil Given was 2nd overall with 141 nett and in the Scratch Finals NICSSA has two top ten finishes – Kevin McKeown and Seamus McGranaghan who were 7th and 9th respectively. 2010 NICSSA - Qualifying Tournament - World Corporate Golf Challenge NICSSA Golf Club Committee organised a Qualifying Tournament at Lurgan Golf Club on Thursday 9 September 2010 to select two teams to represent NICSSA Sport and Leisure and Northern Ireland at the UK National Finals held at Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland on 22-23 September 2010. The winners of the UK National Final would go on to compete in the World Final at Oubaai and Fancourt Golf Clubs, Eden District, South Africa in May 2011. John McBurney, Account NI, Tim Johnston, DFP, John Taylor, NI Water and Kevin McKeown, DSD represented NICSSA Golf Club and were unlucky to qualify for the World Finals. However they had a great time meeting Prince Andrew, Ronan Rafferty and some high ranking R&A officials. Next Year’s Events CSSC NI Handicap Qualifier – Lurgan - Date to be confirmed. CSSC NI Scratch Qualifier – To be confirmed NICSSA Open – To be confirmed National Scratch and Handicap Finals – Telford Golf Club, Great Hay Drive, Sutton Heights, Telford TF7 4DT - September 2011 NICSSA Team Classic – To be confirmed NICS Hockey Club 2009 - 2010 Annual Report This will be remembered as a „landmark‟ year for the club, both on and off the pitch. Following almost a year of ongoing discussions between the Mens & Ladies Hockey Clubs it was decided that in the best interests of developing hockey at Stormont that both clubs should merge. At separate meetings of the mens & ladies clubs, both clubs were dissolved by the consent of voting members. This was quickly followed on the 18 th May 2010 with the first AGM of the new club – The Northern Ireland Civil Service Hockey Club, when Norman Johnston was elected as the Clubs First President, Barry McConkey its first Chair and Rosie Campbell its first Deputy Chair. As predicted in last years report, the mens 1st XI comfortably won promotion back to Ulster‟s Premier League. They achieved this in style, unbeaten in all league games and were promoted with three games in hand, scoring a massive 129 goals, whilst only conceding 15 goals. They also won the Irish Trophy, where the team‟s performance was equally impressive. In the three games leading to the final they scored 20 goals, with only three against. In the final they comfortably beat Suttonians 6–0. The 1st XI are the first team ever in Ulster to win „the double‟ – winning the Irish Hockey Trophy and Ulster Hockey‟s Senior 1st Division. The other mens team did not have such an illustrious season, however it was important that they at least consolidated their respective league positions and it is pleasing to report that this was achieved in spades. As for the three Ladies teams, it was also important that they consolidated their league positions. For several years the Ladies club had been going through a transformation as senior players stepped down and new blood came through. Last year we saw greater competition for places and it was clear that each of the teams enjoyed successes, meaning that the 1st XI Senior 2 status was never in doubt, while the other teams finished mid-table. One of the most notable successes from both the mens and ladies sections is our Youth Training. Irene Carroll and Simon Black are principally responsible for its success. From humble beginnings, both sections regularly attracted 60 – 70 children from 9 to 14 years olds. Although most of the children came from East Belfast, we also attracted children from Comber, Newtownards and Bangor. Both Simon and Irene organised competitive fixtures for the boys and girls and again they performed very well, surprisingly beating a number of other clubs, who on paper fielded much stronger sides. In August, the club organised its first Invitational Tournament, where we invited three mens premier league teams and ladies senior teams to participate in a round robin tournament over a weekend. The event was a great success and gave our 1 st XIs important competitive pre- season matches against quality opposition. The tournament was won by Lisnagarvey and it is hoped that the tournament will run in August. In the wider community, NICS HC still punches well above its weight - Robert Johnston was awarded his FIH Umpire Badge and is widely regarded as one of the top umpires in Ireland and has umpired international matches in Paris, Vienna and Dublin, while Dennis Miller was appointed IHA Chairman. Others who contribute are Marty Childs, Simon Black and Gary Posnett who are part of the Management Committee of NICSSSC, Gareth Herron who is the NICSSA Pavilion Sports Representative and the Ulster Umpires Appointments Secretary and Billy Gilmore who is the Mens Ulster Hockey Registration Secretary. With the excellent Playball facilities and the increased membership, the future looks bright for the club. To date the performance of all the teams in both the mens and ladies sections has been encouraging and we fully expect to announce in next years report that promotion will be achieved by a number of teams. NICS Bowling Club (Ladies' Section) For once 2010 proved to be a fairly good season weather-wise, with all matches played on time and no cancellations or postponements. The team finished 9th out of 17 in our league - not a great result but one which we will do our best to improve on in 2011; The highlight of the year was the magnificent achievement of two of our members, Alicia Weir and Paula Montgomery, in winning the British Isles Pairs Championships in Worthing in June. The girls beat off challenges from England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands to take the title. This follows on from their winning the all-Ireland title last year. In addition, Paula also received yet another Irish cap and skipped one of the rinks in the International Series, also at Worthing. We are always eager to recruit new members and are already looking forward to a successful (and sunny) 2011. NICS Rambling Club Another successful year in 2010, with a growing membership and a wide range of walking options available matching all levels of ability and fitness. In addition to our regular programme of day walks taking in favourite local beauty spots in the Mournes, Sperrins, North Down and North Antrim coasts and our summer (May-Aug.) evening walks schedule we continued to provide members with a menu of choices for longer stays, home and abroad, which included:- Ballintoye (Mar.) – the Fullerton Arms, a small, family-run hotel in Ballintoye, with its comfortable rooms, good, wholesome food and lively night-time entertainment, was perfect for an overnight stay between walks along the Causeway Coastal Path and, on the following day, Fair Head, Ballycastle. North-West Highlands (April) – here are some of the most challenging mountains in the British Isles, together with a spectacularly scenic coastline and offshore islands. A 7-day trip using self-catering cottages was enjoyed by some of our more adventurous, less vertigo- challenged members! (It takes all sorts!) Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire (May) – the picturesque 17th century village on the River Cree, and the friendly, comfortable Bruce Hotel, proved the ideal base for 3 days of superb walking in Scotland‟s Galloway Hills, taking in the mountains of The Merrick and Cairnsmore of Fleet. Eastbourne, East Sussex (Aug.) – a 7 day opportunity to sample the delights of; walks in the glorious South Downs including the Seven Sisters, Birling Gap and Beachy Head; sightseeing in and around Hastings, Lewes and Rye; and the added bonus of a front-line seat at the annual Eastbourne Air Show. Black Forest (Sept.) – staying 10 days in a small, family hotel in the beautiful, tiny village of Seebach nestling in the Acher Valley, we were ideally placed to explore the many kilometres of well-marked trails in the Black Forest – a hiker‟s paradise with ample opportunities to take advantage of the many impromptu water, schnapps and beer stops along the way. The “freebee” travel cards issued to all hotel guests in the Black Forest area allowed us, at little or no travel cost, to sightsee Baden-Baden, Triberg, Freiberg, Strasburg (France) and Basle (Switzerland). Donegal (Oct.) - after a lapse of some two years, we were attracted back to the South by a well-priced 2 night deal at the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, where we joined with the local Bluestacks Walking Club to enjoy a great weekend‟s walking and entertainment. We will be “returning the favour” by hosting the Bluestacks Club at our 2011 North Antrim outings at the Giant‟s Causeway and Rathlin Island. Needless to say, throughout the year the “social” side of rambling was not neglected with plenty of opportunities for post-walk refreshments, BBQs and nights-out, not to mention our unconventional “AGM”, where entertainment rather than business predominates! Next year, in addition to our local walking programmes, we look forward to trips to the Peak District (Derbyshire), the Speyside Way (NE Scotland) and Kyrenia (Northern Cyprus) – www.nicsramblers.co.uk has full details. NICS RUGBY CLUB REPORT 2010 In the 2009/10 season, the 1st XV won three games in the league and the Gordon West Cup, were defeated in sixteen and drew one, to achieve 13 th place out of fifteen teams in the league and did not progress out of the pool in the league cup. In order to ensure participation in a cup competition on a knock-out basis, the Civil Service entered the McCrea Cup for the first time since the 2004/05 season, a gap of five years. By competing in the McCrea Cup, we sent a positive message to potential players and rival clubs. The 2nds won three league games and lost seventeen in finishing 12th from the fourteen teams in Minor League East 2. The team proved to be a useful back-up to the 1st XV acting as a test-bed for new recruits. In 2010/11 season, the 2nds have fulfilled all their league fixtures so far, with a winning success rate of 50%, and met the minimum number of six league matches whereby teams are permitted entry to the cup competition. Our efforts are typified by those who have come forward to coach, from within the club, the adult sides and also to coach mini rugby. Mini rugby fixtures were played against a number of other clubs; CI, Malone, Bangor, Ards for example. It continues to flourish with a regular attendance around the 60 mark. On certain days mini rugby has shown the potential to attract numbers in the order of 200 parents, spectators and children as was shown in November 2010 when Cooke RFC were the visitors to Civil Service. Civil Service v Cooke mini rugby at the Pavilion, November 2010 It is well worth recording, the presence of Willie John McBride at the Civil Service (NI) RFC Annual Dinner in 2010. Willie John is one of the greatest figures in the history of rugby football and it was both an honour and a privilege to have him attend and speak at our Club Dinner. Looking ahead, the club has sought to make a number of improvements in the 2010/11 season: We underwent a club development process through carrying out an audit of the Club‟s management and playing structures to ensure that we had the capability for rugby development. This proved that we have the capability and the management structures are in place to achieve future success on the field; The club relies on the participation of volunteers and we seek to recognise the efforts of these people and encourage future voluntary input by members; An ongoing priority is the effective recruitment of young players and we have established a sub-committee to report to the club‟s Management Committee on this issue; The existing club website has been renewed and improved, with some additional innovative features and match reports supplied by people within the club. NICS Table Tennis Club The Belfast and District Leagues run between October and March each year. For the 2009/10 season Civil Service were represented again by two teams in the Second Division, two teams in the Third Division and a new team in the newly formed Fourth Division. A team in the Senior League remains our long term goal. The achievements during the season were restricted to the B team in the Second Division reaching the final of the Knockout Cup. This is a trophy Civil Service have won three times in the previous five years but unfortunately this time Civil Service were narrowly beaten by Glenburn. The other highlights where on an individual level. The Belfast League has an annual match against the Leinster League, Ivan Barton from Civil Service represented the Second Division Team and Mike Connolly from Civil Service represented the Third Division team with the matches played in Dublin. Club nights continue to be Tuesdays and Thursdays and anyone interested in information about the Table Tennis Club and their activities, please contact the secretary Mike Connolly at 02890 640461. NI Civil Service Lawn Tennis Club Annual Report 2010 As usual, the Club has again had a very busy year. Our six Saturday Tournaments were well- attended and highly enjoyable social occasions. The seven Internal Club Competitions also proved enjoyable and hard-fought, culminating in a well-attended Dinner and Awards night which attracted a full house. The Club Night is on Thursdays (all year round) and the traditional Saturday afternoon sessions continue. The introduction of the „team training night‟ on Tuesdays run by our PTR trained coaches has also proved popular with members. They all are making excellent progress. The launch of the „Junior Tennis Academy‟ is, not unexpectedly, a slow burner, but students are coming on board and those attending are showing great promise. The Club thanks Paul Shaw for his input into developing this venture. If you know or have any children who would like to join please contact the Club. The Club‟s representative teams fared well in their respective Divisions and were commended by several visiting teams for their hospitality and sportsmanship. The Club has entered one team in the Autumn League and one in the Floodlit League. The 2012 Playball Open Day held at the Pavilion proved a big success with approximately 300 kids making use of the opportunity to try tennis on the Club‟s courts. The Club recognises that a vital component in the future success of any Club is the availability of opportunities for player development. This year, in our continuing Coaches Development Plan, coaches from the Club attended PTRuk refresher courses held on the Club‟s premises. The link with the Professional Tennis Registry (PTRuk) has continued to grow closer, with them having hired our facilities in each of the last three years. This year we saw the courts being used from eight o‟clock in the morning during their week-long visit, with students from England and the Republic also attending. Once again, Whistles provided great service and excellent food, with the added benefit of permitting lunches to be pre-ordered - a very welcome and efficient service which allowed a fast turn around for all. PTR have been so impressed with the Tennis Club that they are in talks to make it their „Centre of Excellence‟ in Northern Ireland. This gains us International recognition with PTR, which has over 30,000 world wide members and a Head Office in the USA. In this spirit, they have increased the number of events to be held at the Club in 2010 from one to eight. We also would like to thank floralearth in Holywood for their continued sponsorship of the club. The Club‟s website www.civilservicetennis.com is continuing to prove popular in terms of keeping members up to date with events and promoting the club. The facility has also enabled printed brochures to be cut to a minimum - a welcome “green” communication measure. The Club obviously has to look to the future, especially now that we are now playing on a wider stage, benchmarking its facilities against those offered by other local Clubs. With this in mind, it regards the extension of floodlighting to all four courts as an essential way forward. In addition, our 50-year old wooden Tennis Clubhouse, with its limited facilities, has long since passed its sell-by date. Thankfully, development plans for a new Clubhouse are under way, with an appropriate Tennis Club Sub-Committee having been formed and constructive meetings with NICSSA on this key requirement are currently taking place. Appendix 2 – Competitions & Events Reports FAMILY FUN DAY On Saturday 14th August 2010, around 300 NICSSA members and their families descended on the Share Centre, Lisnaskea for a fantastic day of activities organised by NICSSA and the Share Centre staff. Participant would take part in 2 morning and 2 afternoon activities. The day began with everyone gathering in the main hall for registration and some tea / coffee and scones before embarking on the morning activities. For once at the Family Fun Day, the weather seemed to be on our side as the sun filled the sky above the Lough Erne. However, many of the attendees were still ready to get wet, as a large number immediately made their way along the marina to the wet activities. Members took the water on banana boats, canoes and speed boats. Eager participants waited patiently at the side of dock for their turn to get a „soaking.‟ The children were really excited about getting a high speed ride across the Lough and around the neighbouring islands. The banana skiers were not impressed if they didn‟t end up in the water, which played right into the hands of the instructors, who took great pleasure in dumping their passengers into the water!! Meanwhile, back on dry land, the petrol heads (mainly the dads!) were doing their best Lewis Hamilton impressions around the go-kart track, desperately trying to beat each other‟s times and secure top place on the podium! Many of the younger children along with their parents, were trying their hands at activities such as balloon modelling, modroc and t-shirt printing. Next door, the climbing walls, both indoor and outdoor, were lined with eager participants, bursting to get to the top of the walls and abseil back to the ground. An enjoyable day was had by all in attendance. An excellent lunch of sandwiches, fruits and drinks were provided by the Share Centre following the morning activities, before a barbeque of chicken, chops, salads and burgers were ready for everyone in the evening before the trek home! Roll on 2011…………. M&D’S THEME PARK For the foruth consecutive year, NICSSA organised the family trip to M & D‟s Theme Park in Glasgow at the beginning of May and once again it was one of the highlights of the year in terms of events. 2010 saw the largest attendance to date, with around 100 people making the trip across to Scotland. All members, old and young, experienced every twist and turn that the exciting rides offered, and great enjoyment was had by everyone. The cost of £20 per member included travel across with Stena Line, a dedicated coach transfer to and from the park and an unlimited ride wristband to use for the duration of the day. The event continues to grow year on year and it is anticipated that 2011 will be no different, as it is a great day out that can be enjoyed by all the family. XSCAPE TO BRAEHEAD A new event introduced to the calendar in 2010 was Xscape to Braehead at Snozone in Scotland. Snozone is an indoor ski centre situated outside Glasgow and members and their families has the opportunity to take skiing and snowboarding lessons. Those more experienced on the slopes had the opportunity to ski or snowboard recreationally without the supervision of the instructors. 50 NICSSA members and their families made the trip for a day off indoor skiing and snowboarding at the beginning of April. The price of £25 per member included return Stena Line transfer, a dedicated coach transfer, ski passes for lessons or recreational activities, as well as skis or snowboards as required. Members also had the opportunity to hire warm clothing such as boots, jackets and hats for the day at the centre. The event has been included on the events calendar for 2011 and we anticipate numbers will increase. The venue is unique and it presents a great opportunity for a group of friends or families to enjoy a great day out. CELTIC GAMES Nearly 140 competitors from Scotland, Wales and Northern and Southern Ireland descended on Wales on Friday 25th June 2010 to take part in one of the best attended Celtic Games! Each year, this fantastic event circulates among the four host nations with organisers co- ordinating the events and activities. Each year the challenge is to keep things fresh and to try new and fun ideas so that enjoyment levels remain high. The morning sports were Football, Badminton, Table Tennis, Volleyball & Triathlon, while in the afternoon members had the opportunity to experience Boulez, Kurling, Basketball, Tennis and Rounders. Thursday night travelling competitors were provided with a fun, informal evening, where food and entertainment were provided for everyone to enjoy . . . On Friday night Wales team hosted a lovely meal at the University with thanks given to everyone by the after dinner speeches and, to finish off the evening, the competitors could show off some more nifty moves on the dance floor. In 2011, the Celtic Games are being held in Belfast and we look forward to the event. CHRISTMAS PANTOMIMES Over the Christmas period NICSSA offered members the opportunity to attend a number of Christmas pantomimes at a reduced rate. The Belfast Waterfront, with over 280 NICSSA members and their families enjoying an excellent production of Jack & the Beanstalk. For members in the south west, the Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen put on a great display with Snow White. For the members in the North region it was the Millennium Forum with a full production of Sleeping Beauty and at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine, members and their families enjoyed Cinderella. In total, 400 members and their families attended Christmas Pantomimes with NICSSA. DERBY DAY FESTIVAL OF RACING A further new event that was introduced to the events calendar in 2010 was the Derby Day Festival of Racing, held at Down Royal. NICSSA purchased a number of tickets for members to enjoy a day at the races on Saturday 19th June 2010. The event proved quite popular with members and 30 people enjoyed day two of the festival for a special members‟ price of £40. This package was delivered in the Kauto Star suite at the track and the price included entrance to the racecourse, a 2 course lunch, tea / coffee, a race card and table side tote – betting facilities, meaning members did not have to leave their seats to place bets. We hope to build on the success of this event in 2011 and based on positive feedback from members, it has again been included in the calendar and we look forward to increased numbers attending. AYR RACES, SCOTLAND On Saturday 18th September 2010, 30 NICSSA members attended the Scottish Gold Cup at Ayr Races. NICSSA offered its members a package for £30 which included travel from Belfast to Ayr Racecourse, entry to the racecourse and a complimentary race card. The sheer spectacle and colour of seeing racehorses and jockeys close up, the hustling activity that surrounds the betting, the lively excitement of the race itself, the sociability of a day out in the open air with family, friends and business associates, the opportunity yourself to win yourself a few pounds – you couldn‟t beat being there!