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Coronavirus: Durham, Kent offer up use of facilities to NHS and local councils

Durham has closed its doors to the public but has made the offer in a bid to assist key local services.

Durham have offered up the Riverside Stadium for use by the NHS and the local council in a bid to support the community’s battle against coronavirus.

The county has closed its doors to the public as well as non-essential staff in line with Government advice but made the offer in a bid to assist key local services.

Chief executive Tim Bostock said: “Throughout this ongoing situation the senior leadership team at the club have been meeting on a daily basis and reviewing our operational practices.

The Riverside Stadium was a host venue at the 2019 World Cup.
The Riverside Stadium was a host venue at the 2019 World Cup (Nigel French/PA)

“All decisions have been taken with the health and safety of our customers and staff in mind.

“Most staff have been working from home since last week and we have now taken the decision to close Emirates Riverside entirely to minimise any risks to staff and customers. This decision will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.”

A statement added: “Durham Cricket have offered the use of Emirates Riverside to the local council and NHS should it be of use as well as the support of their staff who may be of assistance.”

Kent have also been assessing ways in which they can use the facilities at Canterbury to help with the ongoing health crisis.

While all commercial activity has ceased at the Spitfire Ground, meeting space has been made available to the NHS, East Kent Hospital and local councils.

In addition food from the club’s conference partners Sodexo has been donated to the nearby St Mary’s Soup Kitchen, with head chef Nigel Bell volunteering two days a week to assist.

“Whilst the club’s usual activities have been suspended and offices closed to the general public, Kent Cricket is committed to supporting the community and Government agencies whenever and wherever possible,” read a statement.

“We are continuing to identify areas where our staff, venues and resources can make a positive difference to our wider community in these challenging times.”

Kent went on to outline the measures they were taking to preserve their financial security during the current period.

An internal task force is meeting via video conference on a daily basis and has come to a series of decisions. Executive directors have agreed to a 20 per cent pay cut, the terms of a loan with Canterbury City Council are under discussion and all non-contractual capital expenditure has been ceased.

“We are pursuing all options vigorously and risk mitigation measures are already being identified and, where appropriate, being put in place,” said chief executive Simon Storey.

“We believe that everyone in the cricket family across the UK is approaching this crisis with a desire to act in the best interests of the game’s stakeholders, at all levels. The situation continues to move extremely rapidly and although we face an incredibly difficult and complex set of challenges, we remain optimistic that with support of our key partners and stakeholders, we can navigate a route through this crisis.”

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