To help the engagement with the club committee, an individual committee member will provide an occasional personal view on significant events and initiatives in addition to publishing the meeting minutes routinely (http://www.bristolandwestac.org/about-us/club-policies/). We would welcome feedback on anything mentioned or any other issue club members have. Steve Grant, one of the newer members of the committee, has contributed the first of these updates.
The committee recently re-affirmed the club’s objective to be an athletic organisation for all and to support our members in enjoying their sport and being the best they can be (http://www.bristolandwestac.org/about-us/) which is something I can relate to in my own running.
We will continue to focus our investment on club facilities and the development of our coaching capability across all events as the most cost-effective and highest return approach in satisfying this objective, while also supporting individuals where we can. Some of the items I list below show what we have been doing in these respects.
We take some heart that our objectives are the right ones as our membership continues to grow across all athletic events, age groups and ability levels. As an indication of our growth, the age groups up to Under-20 have grown above an average of 30% per year since 2015 with high retention.
After a long and frustrating process, the investment in our Strength and Conditioning (S&C) facility at Whitehall is approved with the first building work being completed in the last days of September with fit-out to follow in the near future. We also gained permission to install a container for storage of club equipment that should now be in place releasing more room in the Whitehall shed and helping to enable the S&C area.
The clubhouse permission lags the S&C facility and we continue that long term discussion with our landlords. Our tenancy arrangements at Whitehall are complex and labyrinth like, with lots of interested parties but few with ultimate responsibility or decision making powers, or so it appears to me, hence the difficulties and long timelines that occur whenever we want to do anything.
A coaches’ meeting was held in early autumn to discuss a number of issues to move the club on and actions will follow on. A number of coaches have been attending further development courses of late and the series of ‘masterclass’ opportunities publicised on the club web-site are aimed at both coaches and athletes.
Also discussed at the Coaches’ meeting was how we communicate what training is available to prospective, new and existing athletes across all ages, genders and events. Alice Doggrell and Robbie Stewart have populated a monthly calendar with all the training sessions that is now the first page you see on the web-site (http://www.bristolandwestac.org/). This is a work-in-progress as we gather more information from the coaches to make sure it is fully populated. From a personal perspective, I found the long list of potential training sessions impressive but also initially daunting, but was soon able to focus down on the sessions relative to me. Alice and Robbie would welcome your feedback on what you think works well and what could be improved. Their contact details are provided at http://www.bristolandwestac.org/about-us/committee/.
We discussed increasing our training and competitive involvement in indoor events through the winter and have made this one of the club priorities for the Winter. The full list of Club competing priorities for the Winter were confirmed as the Regional and National Road 6 stage Relays; National Cross-Country Relays, Midland and National Cross-Country and Masters events; Track & Field (Indoor) – some of the Cardiff indoor meetings, Midlands and National championships and Masters events.
In addition to the club nominated priorities, we encourage and will consider supporting athlete led initiatives such as the four teams entered in the Cotswold Way Relay to great success and we have committed to supporting up to five teams next year. We have many contacts across the athletic networks so can often help identify suitable events if asked and, naturally, are always open to suggestions from athletes and coaches.
If you have any similar ideas or wish to raise any other matter, please bring them forward to a committee member (http://www.bristolandwestac.org/about-us/committee/).