For White Horse Harriers AC, community is at the heart of their club. Throughout the last seven months they have been working really hard to expand the club and improve their inclusivity, giving opportunities for everyone in Wantage and Grove, Oxfordshire to get involved in running.
After attending the winter Run Leader Development Day in Bristol, the White Horse Harriers Run Leaders were inspired, and have since been awarded a grant from England Athletics to help with their current and upcoming projects.
We recently visited the club to find out more about how they are impacting the community, and how they intend to improve the club and use the grant.
The support of the England Athletics grant
White Horse Harriers AC have certainly hit the ground running, making maximum community impact with their England Athletics grant. Alan discussed their three current focus points:
“We were very grateful to receive a grant from England Athletics. One of the local SEN Schools got in touch a short while ago asking if we could run a programme to help the children complete their very first parkrun. The students loved taking part and after we had finished the 8-week course, the school went back to the governors to ask if we could make this a permanent fixture. There’s no reason why someone in a wheelchair, with learning difficulties or mobility issues can’t do a 5k, it’s just a question of taking a different approach. We will firstly be using a portion of the money to fund a coaching course focused on those with disabilities to continue to support this programme.
“During the Run Leader Development Day, we were led through a Guide Running workshop which inspired us as Run Leaders. We have approached some local blind associations and working together we are keen to support some people through the England Athletics Sight Loss Awareness workshop, to become certified Guide Runners. We have noticed that it can be easier for visually impaired runners to source a guide for a one-off race, but we want to ensure that there can be a guide available for runners at each of our Thursday club nights.
“Our final segment of the funding will be supporting the local secondary school to encourage some of their students with behavioural difficulties to give running a go which England Athletics have been really supportive of. “Working with the local authorities and people has not only increased the reach of the club, but it has truly embedded us more tightly within the wonderful local community.”
White Horse Harriers AC are a great example of a club that are effectively supporting the community by providing new opportunities for people to get involved in running. If your club have been doing some fantastic work like White Horse Harriers AC have, then you may want to consider submitting a nomination in the regional volunteer awards. The contribution to running and community project of the year categories provide clubs, groups, and associated partners an opportunity to highlight the benefit their projects and initiatives have on the community. Full details about the awards can be found here.
Club Improvement Fund
The Club Improvement Fund is currently accepting applications from all England Athletics affiliated clubs. If you would like some financial support to build on your club’s projects and you can demonstrate how an application would help to recruit/retain members, engage the local community and/or you have a pathway that allows members to fulfil their potential then we would encourage you to apply.
This year we have already received applications focusing on coach development, improving club websites, and developing links with the community. You can apply for grants of up to £500, and further information can be found here.