Hello and welcome to the second edition of 'Inside Track' - the new blog from the England Athletics Board.
Each month we’ll bring you news concerning athletics and running as well as offer our fresh insight on the latest industry trends and developments affecting the sport we all love. We’ll also be using this blog as an opportunity to delve more deeply into certain topics from time to time as well as explain how we are working with our key stakeholders.
UK Members Council update
In last month’s ‘Inside Track’ we said we’d keep you posted on any developments around the UK Members Council [UKMC]. Some of you may recall that one of the key recommendations to come out of the Dame Sue Street Review of UK Athletics [UKA] published in May 2020 was the need to rethink the sport’s leadership and governance structure so that the stakeholders can better drive the sport forward, as one, and be as inclusive and representative as possible.
From an England Athletics’ perspective, the key point for us during discussions with UKA and the other Home Country Athletics Federations has been the need for grassroots athletics to have a more meaningful say in the way our sport is run, in the best interests of our members.
We are pleased to update you that the future make-up and role of UKMC will be subject to a wider consultation process that will be managed by UKA in the new year. As a Board we welcome the opportunity for our members to voice their opinion on this important matter.
In other news, a series of amendments to UKA’s articles will be discussed at its upcoming Annual General Meeting on December 11. This will include several changes affecting the composition of the UKA Board. Most importantly for England Athletics, as reported last month, the UKA Board will now include a director from each Home Country Federation who will be nominated and selected from the respective Home Country Boards.
Similar to the need for a strong representative governance structure at UK level, we as the England Athletics Board continue to champion the importance of our regional councils being as representative of the wider sport and our member clubs as possible. Over the coming weeks and months as the regional council election process gathers momentum, we would urge anyone who has a passion and enthusiasm for athletics and running at a local level to consider putting themselves forward for regional councillor. It’s a unique and rewarding role with the opportunity to help positively shape the sport, both now and in the future.
In other news…
This month we look forward to appointing a Board Observer who will use their knowledge and insight of athletics, as an athlete, coach or official to offer guidance to the Board. This role was previously filled by former international athlete and now coach Lorna Boothe. Several excellent candidates have applied, and the successful person will join their first Board meeting in January.
Following a 12-month development process we hope to approve the new England Athletics strategic plan in January. This will provide a clear direction for the organisation and partners from 2021 onwards as we look to build on current successes, address areas of weakness and respond to the immediate challenges caused by COVID-19.
We continue to look at how we can innovate and reach new markets to help diversify income streams to re-invest back into the core of the sport. Low-cost piloting of a concept aimed at providing digital training advice to recreational runners, will continue ahead of April 2021.
Competition will remain an important topic of conversation over the coming weeks and months with National Council and others. We will assess what delivery will be possible over the winter and for 2021 and how best to channel future investment to meet the needs of our member clubs and registered athletes.
Celebrating grassroots heroes
Our 2020 Regional Volunteer Awards end this Friday and what an inspirational series of events we’ve seen so far – seven virtual celebrations, with two remaining, of all that is great about athletics and running at the grassroots. Our thanks, firstly, go to all those who’ve played a part in organising this year’s Awards. And to all the winners, huge congratulations! We are indebted to your passion, determination and commitment as the lifeblood of the sport. For those of you wanting to watch the remaining two Awards evenings online, or to catch up on any you may have missed, please click here for details including links for live broadcasts. We wish all the regional winners every success ahead of them being put forward to an external panel that will select the finalists for the chance to win one of our prestigious National Volunteer Awards.
Board ‘shout out’
As well as recognising the amazing Regional Volunteer Award winners at this time of the year, we wanted this Board blog to be an opportunity each month for anyone wishing to say a more informal thank you to someone within the athletics and running family for going that extra mile. We are delighted, therefore, to give a ‘shout out’ to Ruth Aaron from Bracknell AC, who was nominated by the club’s chair for her “enormous contribution in our efforts to return to the track in a COVID-secure way”. The nomination detailed how Ruth led discussions with the venue operators around protocols, arrangements, signage and paperwork as well as overseeing bookings and access to the facility whilst also ensuring all the coaches completed an online COVID-19 awareness course. As a Board, we applaud Ruth not only for her ongoing commitment to her club, but also her resilience and dedication to ensure that club members who wished to do so could return to athletics in as safe an environment as was possible, despite the unique challenges presented by their facility's location.
Send us your suggestions for an England Athletics Board ‘shout out’ next month via firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions and concerns
We want ‘Inside Track’ to be used by you, the members, as an opportunity to contact us, whether you’re an athlete, runner, coach, leader, official, volunteer, competition provider, facility provider parent, carer or just someone who cares passionately about athletics and running. If you have a question or concern which you’d like to put to the England Athletics Board you can do so via: email@example.com
So, bookmark this page, share it with a friend, colleague or fellow member and please get in touch.
As this will be our last Board blog of 2020, we’d like to wish everyone a safe, peaceful and enjoyable festive end to the year and look forward to 2021!
Your England Athletics Board