GRASSCROFT’S Alicia Scholes has been furloughed after Manchester Thunder, the reigning Vitality Netball Superleague champions, put measures in place to ensure they have a strong, stable future amid the coronavirus crisis.
England Under-21 international Alicia, who plays centre or wing attack, is one of 17 players and coaching staff to have been furloughed through the government scheme to support businesses through the current unprecedented period.
This will ensure Thunder can continue to keep its on and off court team together and, once the restrictions on social distancing are lifted, can resume their work.
For the franchise as a business, it means 80 per cent of the salary bill will be paid by the government.
The club is committed to top up the remaining 20 per cent so players and coaches continue to receive what they usually would.
Managing Director Debbie Hallas, who is based in Saddleworth, said: “These are unprecedented times and we want to ensure we do everything we can to ensure that Manchester Thunder has a strong future once the national emergency measures are lifted and life, for us all, returns to some sense of normality.
“We have been part of the Superleague for its entire existence and know that, though there are no easy decisions, this is the right one for all of us. While we are a business, we are primarily a family – and we look after each other – which is why we are also making the commitment to ensure our furloughed players and coaches will receive the same as they always have, with Thunder topping up the government’s business support.”
The franchise wants to ensure it is in a strong position to resume operations once the national emergency comes to an end, ensuring that players and coaches have the opportunity to compete, and fans have the opportunity to cheer them on.
Debbie added: “Manchester Thunder, like all Superleague franchises, are a crucial part of our sport – where talent is identified, skills developed, and the next generation of international stars emerge.
“At a time of so much uncertainty, and after an exciting start to the current season, I am determined to ensure we protect ourselves for the future.”