Minutes held at The Elms Nottingham on 5thSeptember 2010.
Attending: Jamie Christie, John Handyside, David Jefferies, Nigel Jones, JesOughton, Jon Finch, Jo Oughton (minutes) , Steve Oxtoby, and Peter Schofield (Chair) .
The following items were discussed:
1. Calendar - IncreasingParticipation and retaining venues
PS reported that future BCU funding willbe linked to increasing the participation numbers, while maintaining thesuccess with the elite squad, and participation is counted mainly through racenumbers. It was also noted that any BCUaid towards achieving increasing race numbers would not come until the sport could be shown to be increasingparticipation.
The meeting noted the following measures to increase participation:
a. Better marketing.
JO reported that he and JC are currently working towards having a Marketingdatabase for Race organisers to input their race details and also have paddlersand parents register to be sent reminders for the races they are interestedin. Further development offering moresupport to race organisers could be added if this initial development issuccessful.
b. Masters category
The meeting noted that many mature paddlers could be encouraged to return toattending races if they could be guaranteed racing against suitable standardpaddlers. The meeting agreed tointroduce a new National Masters category into the existing structure, startingwith three designated races and an annual prize . The meeting noted that there were a largenumber of mature paddlers who train every week but are reluctant to attendraces where they compete against the elite and junior paddlers. The meeting noted that by placing the results in a separatecategory all parties could compete onequal terms and hopefully the paddlers will return to race.
c. Clearer structure of the divisions
The meeting noted that even experienced paddlers were sometimes unclear aboutthe structure of the divisions and National championships. It was agreed that a diagram explaining thestructure would help and it was agreed to make sure it wasaccessible on the web-site.
d. Flagship events
The meeting agreed that there should be threeflag-ship national events, -the AGM weekend, the Prize giving weekend, and theJunior selection race, where the National Championships can be decided. It wasagreed these should be marketed more positively.
2. Structure of racing
The meeting noted that some paddlerscherry pick events to gain points forthe National championships, rather than racing for the pleasure of competingand experiencing different rivers. Themeeting noted that Div B races need advertising to encourage all standards ofpaddlers to attend and then they will be worth attending just compete.
The meeting noted that increasing participation would encourage race organisersto continue running races and therefore retain venues. PS noted that race organisers have an average turnover within a club which meansthe sport cannot keep on relying on the established race organisers and shouldbe encouraging new clubs to get involved.
The meeting agreed the following developments:
a. To get the details of the nextyears races confirmed, in place and advertised on the web-site by the beginningof the year, this will allow paddlers and parents time to plan holidays.
b. Make more use of Bank holidays,half-terms and school holidays for races and development ..
c. Encourage more flexibility andtravel for the Tour d,Eccosse to cover more rivers and attract more people toattend.
d. Encourage team races beorganised at each race, by encouraging paddlers to bring a team and get adiscount in entries, and getting the team race started quickly after a race finishesto avoid athletes getting cold.
e. Using the summer to hold theDevelopment events, with longer eventsthat finish with a race being the suggested format.
f. Establish links with thecoaches running the safety courses tobenefit both parties with dual use of the river.
g. Approach other countries to runjoin events either in Bala or possibly Bourg ste Maurice.
h. Work round other disciplinescalendars to avoid clashes and allow cross-over with athletes from slalom andmarathon.
i. Arrange more races when other disciplinesare using the rivers to maintain a higher profile amongst paddlers, i.e. usethe lower Tryweryn when slalom use the top course.
j. Maintain the Winter Classic andsummer Sprint Series, but advertise themmore vigorously.
k. Use the early World Cup racesto allow the team to get experience before the World Championships.
l. Develop the Sprint seriesaround the artificial courses which have water over the summer, and hopefullyattract new users to compete hen advertised at the venues early enough.
m. Link in with the ICF proposalsto include WWR in a TV event to raise the profile of the sport.
n. Attend the Student BUC event tomake sure the students who compete realise that they can come to other racesnear their universities and try to retain interest.
o. Look for someone to manage thenext Student Games team.
3. Communication and Support
For Race organisers
a. T he meeting noted theneed to improve communication with Race organisers and paddlers -so attending arace can be made as simple as possible.
b. Organisers are to beencouraged not to charge late entry penalties but to rely on email or online entries and payment on the raceday.
c. Further developments tocentrally help out with providing prizes for Race organisers will be consideredin the future, with a selection of prizes and medals being offered.
d. Provision of a display poster to show the monthly races could besupplied to clubs to advertise races for efficiently, with emailed insets beingsupplied centrally. It was suggestedsome of the younger paddler be asked to look through available photographs tocreate a fresh approach.
a. Themeeting noted that the front page of the WWR web-site still looks too static for such a fast moving sport. PS agreed to discuss this issue further with NS and MC.
b. Further development ofthe online registration system for races needs to be made clearer via theweb-site, and organisers need to be made aware of the facility.
c. Shuttle bus provision
The meeting noted that the availability of the shuttle bus needs to beadvertised to all organisers and paddlers. The limiting factor is drivers mustbe over 25 and able to collect from Nottingham
For other disciplines
The meeting noted that WWR needs to re-establish broader links with otherdisciplines – starting at a local PDOlevel and working up to national level. Race organisers should be encouraged make contact with their local PDO’sto encourage participation and involvement. The meeting noted reluctance from the BCU in allowing PDO’s get involvedwith WWRacing. The meeting agreed therewas a need to broaden the political focus of the BCU towards increasing all canoeingparticipation. The meeting noted adegree of goodwill amongst individuals but a lack of enthusiasm to providingactual help but it should still be asked for.
JC noted that his father, Don, had volunteered to oversee the Marketingdatabase once it’s up and running and PS agreed to create a list of tasks forDon to help clarify the requirements.
The meeting noted that the next committeemeeting will be held after the Washburn race and minutes will be put online assoon as available.
PS reported that he had sent outcongratulations letters to the GB team and helpers in recognition of thetremendous results over the summer.
JO reported that the Irish WWR have invitedGB paddlers to attend their races and it was noted that they now have morepaddlers attending their races than attend the GB races.