Beach sports - a blog from Exeter

At the Sport and Recreation Alliance, barely a day goes past without at least one member of staff at...

At the Sport and Recreation Alliance, barely a day goes past without at least one member of staff attending some sort of meeting. Whether it be taxation, compliance, safeguarding or access, we always make sure that the views of our members are being heard. Sometimes however, the amount of meetings we attend can mean we only ever hear about what one government department or another needs sport to do!

So we were fortunate to shake off the shackles of London and make our way down to sun soaked Exeter for a meeting at Surf Life Saving GB's offices. Over the years we have been fortunate enough to work with SLSGB on a number of projects. Most recently this included the Impact and Improvement Fund 2010/2011 which amongst others also supported projects with Surfing GB and The British Kitesurfing Association.

Each of these organisations individually recognised a need to work more closely with one another to promote efficiency savings and cross-organisation collaboration. We were only too delighted to help to facilitate such a meeting with all of the NGBs along with Cornwall CSP and see where we might support them.

It was quite clear within the first few minutes of the meeting that there is huge potential for coordinated work amongst these sports which utilise the physical environment of the beach in the delivery of their activity. Over the course of the meeting it became more apparent that everyone recognised that working collectively we are stronger and while there will always be difficulties, we may even achieve more by placing the needs and preferences of sports participants or consumers at the heart of our future plans.

This viewpoint was shared by all and was incredibly refreshing to hear that whilst NGBs may, on occasions, see one another as direct competition, we recognise that by working together we might make the sector stronger and more effective in battling indirect competition such as cinemas or shopping.

This collaborative approach is precisely the approach we [the Alliance] aim to achieve in representing the sector. Our meeting in Exeter was much more than just another 7 hour round trip, it reminded us that we work in a unique sector and that by working together, whether we view other sports as competitors or not, we give ourselves the best possible opportunity to achieve everyone's objectives.

We look forward to working with each of the NGBs and Cornwall CSP to see where this "Beach Sports Special Interest Group" may take us. If you're interested in knowing more or getting involved email Richard Norman.