Immediately prior to its formation, several key people within what was to become the Bradford Athletics Network (BAN) established a five-year Strategic Plan. This Strategy formed the heart of the submission to England Athletics, which was accepted in April 2009, and the Network was awarded £37,650 for its Year 1 activities. BAN’s formation meant its predecessor, the Bradford Athletic Development Group, became defunct. BAN started its work in September 2009; having agreed in the July to base its delivery around six inter-club Working Groups. There are no salaried staff working for BAN, so the Working Groups are fundamental and independent. However, representatives from the working groups, clubs and other BAN partners meet about three times a year for a Co-ordinating Group meeting. A representative from BAN is part of the West Yorkshire Management Group which brings the three networks and other strategic partners in the county together.
Year Two (October 2010 – September 2011) will build on these achievements, embed the co-operative structures, and make the activities work more smoothly. Meanwhile, work on a Social Enterprise (‘SportsShare’) will start preparations for the sustainable longer-term funding of BAN’s activities. BAN has received £37,100 for this year’s programme. The programme’s implementation is carried out by over forty volunteers spending around 3300 hours in the year, which would equate to exactly two full-time jobs. The work also leverages in-kind support from various partners worth about £57k. The value of the year’s programme is over £155k.
In Year One (September 2009 – September 2010) BAN has:
- Established six inter-club Working Groups with representatives from the majority of clubs on each group, as follows (and with one club or club-cluster being the lead partner and providing a chair):
- Infrastructure – Keighley & Craven AC – John Dennis (Keighley & Craven)
- Communications – Airedale Athletics – Quentin Lewis (Baildon Runners)
- Development & Recruitment – Airedale Athletics – Dave Armstrong (St Bede’s AC)
- Youth Programmes – Ilkley Harriers – Shirley Wood (Ilkley)
- Club Challenge, Training & Performance (Adult Endurance) – Airedale Athletics – Simon Forde (St Bede’s AC)
- Coaching & Elite Athlete Development – Bingley Harriers & AC – Colin Daniel (Bingley)
- Strategy & Social Enterprise – informal group involving John Dennis, Simon Forde & Claire Mabey
- Established a Co-ordinating Group which meets termly to oversee the progress of the Working Groups, check on budgetary items, and bring together external partners.
The Group elected three officers: John Waterhouse (Bingley; chair); Barney Lerner (AA & St Bede’s, secretary); Tony Kingham (Bradford GS AC, treasurer); with Simon Forde as Director of Strategy.
- Successfully completed a pilot project for a permanent training course at Cliffe Castle Park, Keighley; and agreed a 3-5 year strategy with the Council for the roll-out of such facilities. The course was opened in June 2010 by David Hemery CBE and Filbert Bayi (chair of the Tanzanian Olympic Committee).
- Assisted the delivery of several mass-participation races in the district (including the Bradford City Run, BigK 10k and the Epilepsy Action Bradford 10k).
- Held a high-profile Coaching and Benchmarking conference at Keighley in June 2010.
- Trained a team of club reporters to file twice-weekly columns for the local daily newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus.
- Agreed the form and structure for a BAN website, which would be developed shortly.
Development & Recruitment
- Built a database of over 1250+ unattached runners in the area, divided by postcode according to club catchments.
- Built a team of club recruitment officers to make personal contact with these unattached runners.
- Prepared series of leaflets aimed at unattached runners (with club contacts), distributed widely across the district and in workplaces.
- Created three area-based primary-school cross-country leagues catering for over 900 children; with up to five events in each league.
- Instituted accessible spring-time SportsHall galas.
- Instituted a fell-terrain league of ten events.
- Started U11 and U17 XC club-based races within the Peco League.
- Formed three new lunchtime and after-school clubs in disadvantaged areas of East and South Bradford.
- Co-funded track & field taster sessions, Saturday clubs, two talent squads at Ilkley (jumps) and Horsfall, Bradford (T&F).
- Created a three-tier pathway across all disciplines (schools -> club -> district/representative levels).
Club Challenge – Enhanced Training for Endurance Runners
- Created a five-strand taster programme of inter-club training and testing: with a team of top-quality coaches.
- Delivered 30 sessions across four topic areas: in off-road technique; strength & conditioning; running efficiency (gait analysis); speed-work for adult endurance running; and developed a quarterly testing and assessment programme (biomechanics, physical screening).
Coaching & Elite Athlete Development
- Purchased video-analysis equipment, and trained coaches in its use.
- Started discussions with coaches about requirements for athletes.