Sizzling hot year for Somer AC!

Located near Bath, Somer AC has grown substantially since first starting in 1981, now welcoming over 200 members between their junior, youth, and senior sections. From winning South West Club of the Year to being awarded a Club Improvement Fund grant, the club had a stellar 2023 which lots more still to come this year!

We caught up with club chair Jason Nash to learn all about the achievements of 2023 and learn more about their ‘Somer Sizzler’!

Club of the Year

Being recognised for at the Regional Volunteer Awards was a real highlight of the last year for Jason, and to be presented by south west legend and Olympian, Jo Pavey, was the icing on the cake:

"It was a real surprise to win the award as we have considered ourselves to be a smaller club compared to larger and more established track-based clubs in our area."

Always putting members first, he added:

"We are keen for our members to benefit from a range of different coaching experiences and we were able to work alongside England Athletics and members of their coaching team to welcome Tom Craggs and Kerry Newell to come along and deliver brilliant sessions for us."

Sizzling success

After receiving expert coaching support from England Athletics, the club since went on to organise additional training for the ever-growing youth section which caters for athletes aged 12-18, preparing them for the unique Cheddar Omnium event in June. At this, athletes participate in four different races in one day followed by an overnight camp with the team. The social, inclusive aspect is such an important factor at Somer AC and from the success of the Cheddar Omnium, the concept of 'Somer Sizzlers' was born.

Four times per year, the club champions events where junior, youth and senior members can compete as one, typically across different distances. These Somer Sizzlers not only allow for a strong showing of black and gold at one event, but they also create a perfect environment for club members to support one another and then enjoy a social element once everyone has crossed the line.

Adopting Club Standards

Providing all of these fantastic opportunities to their members is important, but ensuring that the club create a safe and fun environment is key, and adopting Club Standards is the secret. At the start of the year, the committee worked through the requirements and reviewed what they had in place and what was needed. The club are now fully compliant, have worked to promote the benefits of Club Standards and recently attended the South West conference to encourage clubs to follow in their footsteps.

Read about Club Standards and the Somer AC case study

Speaking on the progress of Somer AC, Club Support Manager, Rich Ayling says:

"I’ve really enjoyed working with Jason and the rest of the team at Somer AC. I’ve attended two committee meetings and had regular dialogue with the club throughout 2023. A key part of my role is helping clubs become compliant with club standards and supporting them to take pro-active steps to become a well-managed club. They have been incredibly professional throughout the process, effectively utilising the resources on Club Hub and are now reaping the rewards. I’m really excited to see the club continue to push forward in 2024."

Support from the Club Improvement Fund

2023 was a year of transition for the club, and the Club Improvement Fund helped them to keep up their momentum. Receiving a grant of £500, the club were able to develop four new leaders to be able to offer enough sessions to meet the demand, now catering for couch to 5k, improver sessions and group runs.

Looking to the future

Somer AC has big plans for both junior and senior athletes in 2024. In partnership with England Athletics, the club are introducing funetics sessions for children and young people to try out and develop within athletics. funetics is a programme that provides fun athletics sessions to younger children to develop and practice running, jumping, and throwing all year round. funetics will add additional content to the sessions the club already deliver and give a pathway for athletes to stay in the sport from eight all the way through to Masters!

Find out more about funetics