The purpose of the network is to promote and enhance, via the member clubs and organisations, the sport of athletics in all of its facets (track and field, fell and off-road running, road running, cross country running, modified junior athletics formats, race walking and other endurance and mass participation events) for people of all ages and abilities in and around Bradford District.
Prior to starting Year 1, key people within the network established a five-year Strategic Plan. The network supersedes the now defunct Bradford Athletic Development Group. At the end of our first year the network has:
1) Established six inter-club Working Groups with representatives from the majority of clubs on each group, as follows (and with one club or club-cluster being the lead partner and providing a chair):
a. Infrastructure – Keighley & Craven AC – John Dennis (Keighley & Craven)
b. Communications – Airedale Athletics – Quentin Lewis (Baildon Runners)
c. Development & Recruitment – Airedale Athletics – Dave Armstrong (St Bede’s AC)
d. Youth Programmes – Ilkley Harriers – Shirley Wood (Ilkley)
e. Club Challenge, Training & Performance (Adult Endurance) – Airedale Athletics – Simon Forde (Saltaire Striders)
f. Coaching & Elite Athlete Development – Bingley Harriers & AC – Colin Daniel (Bingley)
g. Strategy & Social Enterprise – informal group involving John Dennis, Simon Forde & Claire Mabey
2) Established a Co-ordinating Group which meets termly to oversee the progress of the Working Groups, check on budgetary items, and bring together external partners. The Group elected three officers: John Waterhouse (Bingley; chair); Barney Lerner (AA & Saltaire, secretary); Tony Kingham (Bradford GS AC, treasurer); with Simon Forde as Director of Strategy.
a. Successfully completed a pilot project for a permanent training course at Cliffe Castle Park, Keighley; and agreed a 3-5 year strategy with the Council for the roll-out of such facilities
b. Assisted the delivery of several mass-participation races in the district
c. Held a high-profile Coaching and Benchmarking conference at Keighley.
a. Trained a team of club reporters to file twice-weekly columns for the local daily newspaper.
5) Development & Recruitment:
a. Built a database of 1250+ unattached runners in the area, divided by postcode according to club catchments
b. Built a team of club recruitment officers to make personal contact with these unattached runners
c. Series of leaflets aimed at unattached runners (with club contacts), distributed widely across the district.
6) Youth Programmes:
a. Created three area-based primary-school cross-country leagues catering for over 900 children; with up to five events in each league
b. Instituted accessible spring-time SportsHall galas
c. Instituted a fell-terrain league of ten events
d. Started U11 and U17 cross-country club-based races within the Peco League
e. Three new lunchtime and after-school clubs in disadvantaged areas of East and South Bradford
f. Co-funded track-and-field taster sessions, a Saturday club at Bingley, and two talent squads at Ilkley (jumps) and Horsfall, Bradford (T&F)
g. Created a three-tier pathway across all disciplines (schools -> club -> district/representative levels).
7) Adult Endurance Training & Performance:
a. Five-strand programme of inter-club training and testing: with a quarterly programme of testing
b. Four specialist courses in off-road technique; strength & conditioning; running efficiency (gait analysis); and speed-work for adult endurance running.
8) Coaching & Elite Athlete Development:
a. Purchased video-analysis equipment, and training coaches in its use
b. Starting discussions with coaches about requirements for athletes.
Year 2 will build on these achievements, embed the co-operative structures, and make the activities work smoothly. Meanwhile, work on a Social Enterprise will start working on sustainable longer-term funding.