Since starting in 1984 St Helen’s Striders in the North West has gone from strength to strength. The club was originally intended as a running and drinking club for his ex-mining colleagues after the local mines were closed. However since then the club has grown substantially - supporting over 250 members from age 18 to 75 to take part in running.
To keep up their fantastic work and to welcome more members to try out running, the club recently applied for an England Athletics Club Improvement Fund grant which they gained approval for earlier in the year. We caught up with Richard Seville from the club about why they needed the grant, and what they have been using it for.
Applying for the Club Improvement Fund
So far, the England Athletics Club Improvement Fund has supported a staggering number of clubs throughout the country and keen to receive some support, St Helen’s Striders submitted their application.
“We applied as we saw the fund was available to affiliated clubs and we knew we had a couple of expensive projects coming up. We have been wanting to refresh our current website and also train up more run leaders in order to accommodate more members.”
How the grant will support the club and local community
The fantastic thing about running is just how easy it is to get involved with as one of the most accessible sports out there. This message is exactly what St Helen’s Striders is about, inspiring and enabling people to start running regardless of ability or experience. With the grant, the club have been able to train up six new leaders to ensure that they can continue their mission.
“The largest groups we have at the club are not the racing snakes but members who are running 10km between 45 minutes and 1 hour. We found that as new members started these groups were becoming too large and unmanageable The additional new run leaders allows us to double up on leaders for these sessions to keep everyone safe.
“Everyone in the community has always been welcome to join, and we recently had an enquiry from St Helen’s Central Primary Care Network who are looking to refer people to us as a method of social prescription.”
It is certainly a really exciting opportunity for the club as they explore the opportunity to support more people in the future alongside the NHS, especially those in need whether physically or mentally.
Hitting refresh on the club website
It isn’t only the increased capacity that the Club Improvement Fund has been able to support with, but also the website which got a much needed refresh.
“The website has had a fresh new look”, as Richard explained. “The older website although functional was getting outdated so we felt as though we needed to give it a refresh and keep up with a more modern look”.
The Club Improvement Fund has now reached capacity and is closed for this affiliation year. If you have recently applied, we will be in touch with you soon to progress your application.Find out about the fund, grants, and application process