Welsh Athletics is committed to listening to its membership, and tackling the challenges that our clubs are facing. Throughout 2018, Welsh Athletics worked towards creating a new strategy for the Sport in Wales. Ensuring that the sport is the number one priority within the new strategy is key, but we must also be aware of the changing landscape of the sporting sector in Wales, and the new strategy and Vision for Sport Wales, plus the new UK Athletics strategy must also be considered within the new strategy. It is largely due to the delays of our key stakeholders, that our new strategy has yet to be launched.
We are aiming to launch the new strategy in May, with the key points being;
A clear Vision and Mission for the sport
- A one team approach – everyone working towards a common objective
- Clarity of purpose for everyone, including Regions, clubs, volunteers
- How we can support our clubs to overcome the challenges that they have highlighted
We aimed to engage with as many stakeholders as possible across Wales. To achieve this we:
- staged 14 open forums,
- ran an online questionnaire,
- hosted a series of club and 1:1 meetings.
Views were expressed aligned to the following areas:
- clubs, coaching, competition, junior athletes, volunteering, officials, facilities, and communication from the Governing Body.
Welsh Athletic conducted an extensive consultation with its membership in 2018, we saw close to 400 members engage with the process, and highlighted a consistent messaging as to the greatest challenges facing our clubs across Wales. Thirteen key points were highlighted for further consideration:
1) Recruit and develop coaches/leaders – aligning education and development – local delivery, short time commitments – technical eventsneed specific focus - the need for a designated person who leads on coaching
2) Professionalise Coaching – make it a desired vocation, challenge for improvement
3) Recruit and develop officials – reward and recognise officials – viewed as a major challenge for the sport going forward
4) Improve communication of key/inspiring messages – raise the profile of the sport – better use of ‘stars’ to inspire the next generation
5) Clarify the roles of the clubs/regions – make the club environment more welcoming
6) Reduce the admin burden for volunteers/clubs/parents – improve use of technology
7) Support clubs to modernise – improve the culture within clubs – make them more welcoming and engaging
8) Ensure that all key stakeholders (clubs, parents, coaches, WA) are aware of their role in developing athletes – will assist with increasing retention rates
9) Establish a Clear competition pathway
10) Work to Simplify the sport and keep it fun
11) Need to use the sport as a vehicle to deliver health benefits – physical activity and wellbeing
12) Create Champions to inspire the Nation – don’t focus just on mass market
13) Improving number and quality of facilities across Wales – access needs improving
14) The 3 C’s – coaching, competition, clubs – effective collaboration between them all
We will continue to engage with our membership to ensure that your views are heard and that our sport can continue to develop. It is important that we as a sport continue to innovate and ensure that the sport remain relevant at all ages. To support this, we will also aim to establish a series of young athlete forum’s so that we can engage the views of our junior athletes – with further information provided shortly.
In the meantime, we welcome the views of our membership – please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to discuss the new strategy.
James Williams, Head of Operations