In early 2013, the Board setup the Volunteer Needs Work Group to look at the attitude and motivations of volunteers in orienteering. The aim of the ‘task and finish group’ was to assess the needs of volunteers and to review how British Orienteering could best provide support to clubs, associations and individual volunteers.
The Board were concerned about the burden placed upon volunteers and the perceived increase in requirements for those giving up their time to help stage activities, events and hold roles on club and association committees. Long-term concerns, centered on the perceived lack of volunteers to actually fill roles and a perceived lack of succession planning done by clubs and associations. The causes for this concern came from the personal experiences and anecdotes of directors, from feedback received from several Club and Association conferences and feedback from those volunteers staging, in particular, major events.
The Volunteer Needs Work Group had a face to face meeting in January 2013 to enable members of the group to meet and agree the way forward. The group decided to focus on three key areas;
- Clubs and volunteering (by using an online club survey and follow up telephone interviews)
- Volunteers, needs and motivations (by using an online members survey)
- Young volunteers (by using an online young person’s survey)
Many thanks to all those people who completed the online surveys. The response rate was very good and the raw data provided very interesting reading and analysis. The analysis was completed and, using this information, the final work group report was put together. The report was presented to the Board and set out a number of recommendations.
The report, including the recommendations, is 5 pages long, with a number of appendices outlining the analysis and the overall results. The report makes for really interesting reading and we hope will be relevant to most orienteers. We hope as many people as possible will have a read of the report and feedback any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The recommendations are currently being translated into an action plan ready for implementation.
British Orienteering Funding 2013-17
Throughout the period 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2013 British Orienteering has been delivering in England an increasing participation programme funded by Sport England. A submission to Sport England has now been made to gain funding for the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017. Any funding that is released to British Orienteering can be used only in England, although all of the benefits from delivery of funded programmes either as good practice or from the infrastructure that the funding supports will be UK wide.
British Orienteering is funded through membership fees, levy fees and income generated from the major events which is anticipated to be around £220,000 in 2013. The Board is currently considering the 2013 budget priorities and faces some significant challenges. There will be no funding from UK Sport for the Performance Programme (World Orienteering Championships preparation and programme) in 2013 consequently there is already a £67,500 shortfall based on the 2012 budget. Without government and lottery funding British Orienteering could not afford a National Office and would consist of around 2.5 full time equivalent members of staff.
The Sport England submission considers how to increase participation in orienteering, how to retain participation and how to deliver a nationally managed Talent Identification and Development Programme. The first two are certainly objectives that most orienteers see as the focus for our work; this came across strongly from our consultations first in 2007/9 and also in our more recent work.
What are the implications of the submission for orienteers, clubs and associations?
If the submission is fully endorsed and fully funded by Sport England there will be several impacts:
- To orienteers, there will continue to be the events and competitions as there are currently and the impact of the submission on these will be to disseminate good practice.
- To orienteers, there should be more opportunities to orienteer locally and frequently.
- To clubs, there will be less pressure from us to help increase the number of new participants and more support from us to deliver activities and events that meet the needs of club members.
- We will continue to support clubs in delivering activity sessions and club nights; these remain a part of our ‘local, frequent’ message.
- British Orienteering will take more of a lead in trying to generate new participants and feed them into activities, events and competitions.
- Building on the success of staging local, frequent activities and club nights under the Community O banner, we will be working with partners to deliver more orienteering opportunities locally and frequently. Partners will include clubs that wish to be involved, local authorities and other organisations.
- The talent pathway will be nationally managed and tightly defined; the regional squads will be able to focus on a wider group of orienteers and work to maintain participants’ enjoyment of orienteering.
It is clear from discussions with Sport England that the Government and Sport England see a great future for orienteering and are sold on the benefits of orienteering and the diversity of people that might be encouraged to participate in orienteering. All great news! However Government/Sport England have to be convinced that British Orienteering is able to deliver programmes that meet their needs in attracting a wide participation base. The Programmes put forward in the submission have been developed with specific target groups in mind.
There are implications of the submission for staff which you should be aware:
- Most staff members do not know if they will have a role after 31 March 2013.
- It is clear that we must demonstrate success in delivering any agreed programmes during the first year, both to protect the funding and to begin to attract increased funding. (Sport England will be holding back some funds which they can use to ‘reward’ those programmes that are succeeding.) This in turn means that we may have to prioritise the roll out of programmes to those areas where we have the strongest opportunity to achieve. In turn this will mean that we are unlikely to continue to operate funded programmes in some parts of England both because we will not have the funding to do so and because we are being encouraged to focus our resource to achieve success rather than spreading our resource thinly.
So in short we do not know how Sport England will respond to our submission; what we deliver and how we deliver will largely be determined by the level of funding gained. In a worst case scenario British Orienteering could be in a position of depending entirely on our self-generated income; in a best case scenario it is likely that there will be focus in our delivery of the programmes and a restructuring of our staff to meet the level of funding and delivery of agreed programmes.
A more detailed article about the submission can be found in the Summer 2012 edition of Focus magazine.
Firstly, can we thank again the 54 clubs that provided significant input into the development of the Whole Sport Plan 2009/13. It was thanks to their input that we were able to feel confident that the plan did meet the needs of our clubs and members. The Board is now working to develop the Whole Sport Plan 2013/17 and sees this work as of critical importance to the on-going development of the sport in the UK.
The initial consultation with members has taken place (via an online survey) and seems to support the continued use of our vision ‘more people, more places, more podiums’. The consultation does raise a significant number of issues for discussion and we would like to hear the views of members, clubs and associations on these issues. It is worth noting a few points prior to the discussion however:
From the themes identified in the Whole Sport Plan (WSP) online survey, we have developed a number of discussion questions to be considered by individuals, clubs and associations alike. We have asked that these questions be considered and discussed within clubs and associations, and views fed into the Association and Club conference (15thOctober 2011) by delegates attending.
We also welcome feedback from individuals on the discussion questions.
The discussion questions, themes identified from the WSP 13-17 online survey and the raw data have been compiled and can be found in the document WSP 2013-2017 consultation papers.
We welcome feedback from all interested parties. Please feedback, using the discussion questions as a basis, to the following email address email@example.com.
Look forward to hearing your input on the issues.
Previous WSP 2009-13 Documents can be found here.
Mike Hamilton, Chief Executive