England Athletics delivery from April 2017

England Athletics delivery from April 2017

England Athletics would like to update you on its planned delivery from April 2017. This work is directly aligned with the Strategic Plan for the period which was announced last year, and will be supported by the Sport England funding for the sport which was announced in February.

As previously stated our delivery for the period will focus on our three strategic priorities:

1.       To expand the capacity of the sport by supporting and developing its volunteers and other workforce

2.       To sustain and increase participation and performance levels in our sport

3.       To influence participation in the wider athletics market

Influenced by the resources available to us for the 2017-2021 delivery period, and informed by the need to focus clearly on the priorities detailed within our strategic plan, we have reduced the number of staff employed by England Athletics from 84 to 59.

We concluded this period of operational change during February and March and are now looking ahead to 1st April which marks the start of the 2017-18 delivery period (1st April  is also the start of our financial year).

We summarise how our resources will be deployed to deliver our strategic plan in the following sections.

Strategic Priority 1

To expand the capacity of the sport by supporting and developing its volunteers and other workforce

Club Volunteer Support

We recognise that volunteers are fundamental to the sport of athletics and running in England. It is their expertise and work that makes the sport available to so many people each week and enables people to have a positive experience that means they enjoy on-going participation in athletics and running. Therefore, supporting volunteers and others involved in the delivery of the sport will remain central to our work. Much of this work will be focussed on clubs and their volunteers.

Our team of education coordinators and training officer will continue their work of organising courses for coaches, officials, leaders and teachers.

With the London 2017 IAAF and World Para Athletics Championships on the horizon, our Volunteer Manager is already working in partnership with England Athletics staff, the team at London 2017 and other partners on how best to maximise the opportunities for clubs presented by the Games. This includes working with a number of staff who have roles specifically focussed on these opportunities around London 2017 including work around Team Personal Best and the Inspiration Programme.

Officials’ Development

Our Volunteer Manager will also lead on and be involved in other work to support and recognise the contribution of volunteers across the sport. Part of this work will be supported by the new position of Officials Development Officer who will lead our work to sustain and increase the number of volunteers working in our sport in this vitally important role. This will involve working with other organisations to recruit and develop officials. Without officials, we would not be able to offer competition to club athletes and runners of all abilities so the appointment of a full-time dedicated officials development officer is an important step.

Membership & Welfare Support

Our Membership Services team will continue in its current role to support and service the needs of our member clubs, registered athletes and runners. In addition to recent developments in online resources available to clubs, registered athletes and runners such as the new online change of clubs process and the functionality enabling clubs to take membership payments online, we will continue to develop the online functionality available to clubs and others involved in the sport.

Supporting clubs with regards their welfare structure and training will remain an important part of the work of England Athletics and will continue to be done in partnership with UKA.

We will continue to work to forge partnerships with sponsors and business partners that ultimately bring benefit to our member clubs, registered athletes and runners. We outline in our strategic plan, the intention to diversify our income beyond that provided by bodies such as Sport England and of course through our membership and road race license fees. Forging such partnerships with commercial bodies will, we believe, help us to invest more back into the sport and will bring additional benefit to our aspiring athletes, runners and hard wording volunteers. 

Strategic Priority 2

To sustain and increase participation and performance levels in our sport

Local Club Support

A new team of Club Support Managers will be in place across the country. Each Club Support Manager will have responsibility for the clubs and partnership working in their geographic area.

Their work will include:

  • Providing focused support for a number of key clubs in their geographical location on matters such as facility development, volunteer recruitment, retention, youth development, and fundraising
  • Working strategically with and through partners such as County Sports Partnerships and Local Authorities to benefit the clubs in their geographical patch
  • Setting up a number of focused conferences and workshops to help clubs to develop in the areas of leadership, volunteering and long term planning
  • Supporting and advising coaches in their area who work to support registered club athletes and runners, building on the work of the Local Coach Development Programme
  • Informing an expansion of the ClubRun scheme for off track clubs from the 2016-17 pilot and, also building on the successful Flying Coach programme, the development of the Track Nights coaching programme for track and field clubs (further information will follow on this programme and how clubs can apply to be a part of it)
  •  Liaising with the education coordinators / training officer to on the appropriate delivery of coursesin their geographical patch
  • Supporting and advising clubs in the establishing of links with local schools and community partners
  • Working to support and advise more clubs in setting up schemes and structures to reduce waiting lists such utilising programmes such as Athletics 365.

RunTogether for member clubs

The RunTogether programme and digital platform www.runtogether.co.uk will continue following its successful ‘soft’ launch last year and public launch at the start of 2017. We have already seen many affiliated “track” and “off track” clubs becoming involved in group-led RunTogether activity to both enhance their existing offering to runners and to extend their activities with beginners. We fully expect this success to continue with our member clubs at the forefront of helping people take their first steps into the sport and providing a useful resource for clubs in delivering their own activities for beginner and recreational runners.

Coach and Athlete Development

Coaching remains at the forefront of our work in developing club athletes and runners of all abilities. Our team of Coaching and Athlete Development Managers will work to provide resources, online support and development opportunities to the coaching family across the sport.

The work of the coach and athlete development team will be focussed on creating learning opportunities for coaches across all event groups to continue to access a range of support. As well as other activities there will be specific focus on encouraging the greater use of online resources through a new online based “coaches club” that we will develop during 2017. We will continue to organise national conferences, regional and local ‘cells’ (networks of coaches); we will work to develop a ‘support’ coach network (mentoring through the club volunteer sector); and in the major shift we will look to work with coaches and club athletes to embed development, provide a motivational athlete experience and specific information for coaches to work with. We will need to ensure that whilst the philosophy of a coach-led approach is retained, that this work is sustainable long term and with this in mind the production of online resource is important.

You can learn more about our planned work with coaches, club athletes and runners looking to progress to the British Athletics performance programmes here.

The Coach and Athlete Development team includes the education coordinators/ training officer who will continue to organise courses leading to the UKA coaching and leadership qualifications.

Competition & International Teams

There will continue to be national track and field championships arranged by England Athletics as well as road racing championships incorporated into partner events. England Athletics will also continue to work with, and support, partners around the provision of other events for clubs, club athletes and runners such as Area championships, the ESAA championships, English Cross Country Association and English Road Running Association events.

We will continue to provide international opportunities for club athletes and runners, including those based on selection through performances at national championships, the Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Youth Games and events such as the Manchester International and Nitro Athletics.

Strategic Priority 3

To influence participation in the wider athletics market

We will invest less direct resource in this area compared with Strategic priorities 1 and 2, but this work is extremely important to the sport as we will seek to influence participation to the benefit of our member clubs.

England Athletics will continue to work strategically with partners across the sport and particularly with those who have important roles to play in the promoting and delivery of the athletics and running to wider audiences outside the England Athletics club family.

We will not necessarily take responsibility for delivering activities in this space as we once did through programmes such as “activation” work in cities and communities but we will influence and help others to do this by offering insight, research and resources that they can utilise. This includes in areas such as schools and youth athletics by working with partners such as the Youth Sport Trust, Street Games, Local Authorities and ESAA, and in the provision of teacher training and resources.

We have referenced already RunTogether. Work to support the provision of road races, the associated good practices and race standards, and race licensing will continue in partnership with runbritain and the provision of the race organisers website.

Where appropriate we will also engage with participation marketing campaigns led by other organisations such as Sport England through their “This Girl Can” work and we will continue to collaborate closely with running bodies such as parkrun, Great Run Company and the London Marathon to help the sport to reach new people, support those already active within athletics and running within or outside of the affiliated sport, and to help athletics and running to develop.

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