New Horizons8th May 2022
Since announcing the closure of parts of the business and then my standing to be on the board of directors I have been repeatedly asked about my plans for the future, and how I see the remaining elements of the business evolving into the new future for Aim4sport.
With this in mind, I thought that maybe it could be a conversation best started by releasing some of my initial application to the national governing body when asking to be considered for the role on the board.
It is not appropriate to release the entire document for a variety of reasons but here are some extracts:
I believe passionately in the future of our sport and that I can be a valuable part of the process required to bring about the change needed to get us back on track to see renewed and continued success.
Whilst I appreciate that this would appear to be a focus steered towards the performance and development team and our elite athletes, I do believe that this change must encompass the sport as a whole. We must start at grassroots level and therefore clubs to allow us to engage with local communities to increase participation and engagement of beginners from all back and groups within the sport. With the right encouragement from the start, we should see archers develop to their potential and these will filter into the pathway or scores progression routes and into the performance arena. Therefore, ensuring that we see athletes competing for and pushing each other towards available squad places and this drive should see increased numbers competing within the selection process.
I am particularly interested in working to encourage new people into the sport from a variety of backgrounds to help archery reflect, more accurately, the diversity of the population. I do appreciate that, to facilitate this change it will involve making decisions that may be difficult and, at times, unpopular.
In the last 2-3 years, to enable me to widen my view and understanding of the wider picture of the sport I have been working collaboratively with Archery GB club ambassador, Helen Sharpe. This was because of many conversations sharing ideas and frustrations from within different areas of archery. This has helped us to effectively develop projects from ideas that will hopefully see increased engagement from both those already within the sport and those yet to try it.
In June 2021 I accepted Helen’s offer to be involved in her archery in education project. This has seen me help create and teach the workforce to bring archery into schools, home educated and alternative provision settings. We have been piloting this in Northamptonshire and are looking to begin rollout nationally with current interest in 9 additional counties.
I have helped find ways to work with a variety of needs for some of these children. Issues with socialising, self-discipline – children whose behaviours see them excluded from classroom sessions and in some cases school completely. Also, a range of disability issues such as wheelchair users, autism and a young girl recovering from a stroke.
Whilst we have had some success engaging local clubs and counties, we have found that, frustratingly, some clubs do not see inclusion and diversity as priorities, and it is with this in mind that I see that the work that we need to do must start at grassroots level.
Many thanks for taking the time to read what is surely a long post but hopefully it will create a flavour of the announcements that will be coming over the following weeks.