SMISA member Jim Crawford helps organise a team of volunteers who do great work to help keep the SMISA Stadium looking at its best. They are looking for new recruits. Could you join them? Read on as Jim explains more about how the group came about and what they do....
The title of 'St Mirren Volunteer Squad' may not mean much to many St Mirren supporters and the volunteers themselves do not lend it any credence but it is a way of defining what we are.
Over the years there have been many other voluntary groups set up to help the club in any way possible. The forerunner to the present day volunteers were a group called FOSMA, Friends of St Mirren Association who were originally local businessmen that assisted in the upkeep of the stadium by using their skills and workforce. This is a tradition that the present volunteers hope to maintain.
To date, our input has been limited to general cleaning. Prior to a new season starting, the club would organise a professional cleaning company to come in close season and clean all the seats and surrounding areas.
This was a major expense to the club and cut into the playing budget. The present day volunteers saw this as an unnecessary cost and agreed with the club that they would work in conjunction with Tommy the groundsman to take over the task of preparing our stadium to meet the criteria that would enhance the matchday experience.
As the season progressed we then volunteered to come in the week after each home match to help with the clean up of all the litter left behind. When a major storm forced damage onto the Dome behind the stadium it had to be deflated in order to be repaired.
Unfortunately, this took time and as a result debris and the weather conditions caused a heavy accumulation of water to lie on the surface and make it impossible to inflate again. The volunteers met up in appalling conditions and squeegeed the water aside and scrubbed the verdigris off the fabric to bring it back to its original condition.
Although we are blessed with a modern stadium some areas have needed attention in order to maintain its original appearance. One such area was the metal perimeter fence that surrounds the stadium. Over the years this had become in desperate need of a good clean and again the volunteers offered to come in and scrub the fence.
With most of the requirements met at the stadium the volunteers moved onto our excellent training facility at Ralston where it was recognised that the grilles covering the windows of the buildings prevented them from being cleaned.
With the removal of the wire grilles the volunteers set about bringing the glass up to an acceptable standard. Next, we were tasked with helping to brighten up the interior by painting the entrance and passageways of the changing room and reception area. This was a task that proved a challenge for most of us as apart from domestic painting we had limited ability to fulfil the job to a reasonable standard.
This is where we need to tap into the skills and crafts of our support. Now that we supporters are in control of our club it has become more important than ever that we can assist our club in any way that we can. Remember, what we do frees up the budget that could transform the team that we put out on the park.
Therefore, we would like to identify those members who feel they have a skill that would benefit in the running of the club I.e. joiners, electricians, plumbers, painters etc. It does not mean that there would be a requirement on a regular basis but if and when the occasion arose the club could tap into our volunteer squad.
There is a realisation that now more than ever we are a stand alone club, there is no sugar daddy out there, we must rely on the community to pull together and help OUR club in any way we can. If you feel you can contribute in any way to becoming a volunteer please contact me by email - [email protected]