Brigid Simmonds stands down as Chair of the Alliance today, here she reflects on the previous 6 years.
It is now ten years since I joined the Board of the then CCPR – now the Sport and Recreation Alliance and as I come to the end of my six years as Chair, I can reflect on a great organisation to lead. My initial task was very clearly about focus – what do we do? Who do we represent?
I think now everyone is clear that our role is to support our members, particularly those who need help and advice and as a representative organisation, lobby Government on the myriad of issues which affect sport. Many of these issues are unintended consequences of legislation like the famous ‘Working at Heights EU Directive’ (which you’ll remember affected not only the window-cleaners and builders it aimed to protect, but also climbers, abseilers and others using heights to enjoy sport), but many have a real cost like the assertion that legislation did not allow for a community tariff for water rates! Our membership has grown from 270 to now 320 and that does not happen unless you represent your members well and we truly are the independent voice of sport and recreation to whom everyone can turn when they need to understand our views.
Successful organisations are all about people and the SRA is full of able, eloquent, hard working individuals who have a passion for sport and recreation and are determined to make a difference. After ten years on the national Lottery Panel, six years on the Board of Sport England and now six with the Alliance, it is time for another to take our work forward and Andy Reed is a worthy successor. I will not be leaving the Board for another year and no doubt will volunteer for other things. As we approach one of the greatest events to be held in the UK in my lifetime, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, I know I leave the Alliance more focussed, more central to helping our members promote sport and physical activity and closer to the ear of Government than ever before.