Cardiff AAC : Club Outreach Scheme
Cardiff AAC is one of Wales premier athletics clubs, where many athletes have gone on to have international honours, with Jake Heyward last year making the Olympic 1500m final. Aside from providing a friendly and fun club environment, Cardiff AC have been actively supporting athletics in the community and doing regular outreach work to help increase membership and opportunity to participate in the sport.
We spoke to Marie who has been helping to facilitate this.
“In January, I started with Welsh athletics supporting schools to gain access into Clubs and increase participation in competitions. However, my role started with constraints due to the covid and schools didn’t want children to mix with other children in different schools. This was a very challenging time, and I wanted a solution to overturn this barrier as I understand how important this is for children. However, after lots of thought, I managed to adapt the Cross-Country event by creating a timetable. The schools were very pleased with the new plan and were given a time slot to keep them separated. This resulted in 8 schools participating in the Easy area of Cardiff and 2 new members joined Cardiff club and I believe one in the East”.
The work carried out does not just take place during school terms, but there is a focus on providing opportunity during holiday seasons, where camps are delivered to children to help generate income for the club. When asked where this generated income is channelled back into, Marie highlights the local authority.
“After a lot of barriers with staff decreasing, the clubs are currently progressing at a steady pace and are moving in a positive direction. With a lot of support, we are now running the Quad kids’ events in June and July as this was going to be cancelled. The support I can offer will be to help organise and run the events. The event will give me the chance to view the children and identify potential athletes. Also, this allows the teachers to ask direct questions and gain advice”.
“I am also working closely with other Clubs, which we are in the process of joining together with Archers, Cardiff, and Rhymney to organise a competition which has never happened before. I believe formulating relationships can help share, support athletes and build new ideas together”.
“I believe it is key to have good communication with schools and parents to share what athletics can offer and allow children with different abilities and ages to try events. Especially if they are not a member of a club. I am always available to answer questions and help up skill the teachers in events during my time at the school. Recently, I completed a 5-week programme in the RCT which collated interest in the children to join a club, plus 2 students who worked close with me have now taken on the role in the school delivery of athletics on a weekly basis and are going to attend the next coaching assistant course”.
Marie believes it is important to help improve coaches confidence in events, whilst also enhancing their skillset. She therefore organises for experienced coach and tutors to give regular support and training to them in order to help provide ongoing access to all the resources and support necessary.
Ultimately, she would like to see teachers in primary schools gaining more experience and becoming qualified to help deliver a session in their settings.
“This should enable progression and enhance their skill set in preparation to events. Also. this can help identify potential in them at an early stage that can be shared with a variety of Clubs”.
Fundamentally, the priority in this moment is to get children active and increase participation.
“My priority at this moment in time is getting kids active and maintaining clubs’ memberships. I spend time speaking to parents and teachers so I can gain feedback to help support this. The feedback I have gained from parents have been positive that their child is engaging in athletics and their wellbeing has improved. Teachers are pleased that I can deliver to the children who have missed out in sport activities”.
If you want to find out more about the club, click here.