Surrey clubs turn out for Shooting Futures forum

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Nearly 40 representatives from Surrey and surrounding small-bore rifle and pistol clubs gathered at the new Bookham Rifle Club clubhouse on Saturday 6th February for a forum entitled: Shooting Futures: Juniors, Instructors, Facilities and Funding, sponsored by the Surrey County Small Bore Rifle Association

The event was aimed at existing and budding instructors and coaches, club officials and other active members interested in developing their club membership and facilities in all disciplines, including air rifle and pistol, lightweight sport rifle, HFT and .22 rifle and pistol.

A panel discussion on issues affecting the recruitment and retention of junior and new members, and facilities development and funding followed thought provoking and informative presentations.

These were delivered by Liv Corbishley, Business and Marketing Manager from ActiveSurrey (the Sport England and partners funded County Sports Partnership), Nick Clark, an NSRA County Coach, English Small-bore Shooting Union Secretary and Chippenham RC committee member, David Sprigg a Bookham Rifle Club committee member and the Surrey LSR Captain and Roger Remington, Farncombe and Godalming Rifle Club Chairman. The meeting was chaired by Surrey chairman Peter Jones.

Nick Clark considered the challenges facing small-bore shooting sport and clubs, suggested approaches to structured induction, outlined the national performance pathways and regional squads and explained the NSRA instructor and coaching scheme.

Liv Corbishley followed with an overview of ActiveSurrey, covering the free support that clubs can obtain for funding applications, sources of information about funding bodies and organisations, elite sport funding, the potential benefits of Clubmark status and affordable workshops, including coaching, marketing and communication. Liv also highlighted the online Activity Finder and a specific funding stream called Sportivate, for courses aimed at encouraging participation in sport of 14-25 year olds.

David Sprigg provided inspiration from a club perspective, explaining the approach that the committee and members of Bookham RC had taken to the fundraising project that led to the building of its new £250,000 air range, clubhouse and 25 yard firing point. David also described the targeted paid-for Facebook advertising that resulted in some 100 juniors and others paying £10 per head to attend one and half open days in October 2015 and how the club recruited 30 new members as a result.

Roger Remington delivered another club development success story, recounting how Farncombe and Godalming RC fundraised for and completed its new 25 yard range about 4 years ago, its project to reach Clubmark status and its 100% record in funding applications for club developments. Roger also explained in some detail how the club approaches its induction and instruction for new members and its accent on obtaining NSRA qualifications and maintaining weekly continuity of instructors for new starters and those undergoing instruction. The club’s instruction and coaching scheme document was offered to delegates for comments and conversion for their own use.

A lively and fascinating panel session followed, during which the delegates and speakers discussed and commented on the issues of the day, including:

• The apparently large untapped demand for shooting in Surrey;
• The availability of public and other funding, particularly for projects focussing on juniors and disabled people;
• The benefits of new member initiatives being run to make it easy to join (photos, forms and payment methods on the day);
• The benefits of targeting mothers when advertising open days to juniors;
• The effectiveness of social media marketing using targeted paid-for Facebook tools;
• The efficiency and benefit of using of Eventbrite (in conjunction with Facebook advertising) to handle online open day bookings;
• The member retention benefits of taking in new starters as ‘cohorts’ and the social bonding and mutual support and encouragement they provide;
• The advantage of induction running through all available shooting disciplines, as a taster to encourage engagement for all interests;
• An apparent growth in the provision of or desire on the part of clubs to provide air gun facilities;
• The importance of club facilities and induction schemes being presentable and attractive to younger people and their parents;
• The inevitability of high attrition of junior members;
• The desirability of (and problems associated with) maintaining weekly continuity of instructors during induction and beyond;
• The potential benefit of charging for induction, instruction and coaching courses at a level that allows instructors to be paid;
• The difference between Scouts as a youth organisation focussed on junior development and shoot clubs, where members are largely there to shoot;
• Strong existing demand from Surrey clubs for RCO and club instructor combined courses in most disciplines and Youth Proficiency Scheme Tutor courses for some;
• A demand for templates or examples of structured induction and instruction and coaching materials;
• The potential for the NSRA Youth Proficiency Scheme (and hybrid alternative  hooting discipline courses) to be run for new juniors, possibly with funding from Sportivate;
• The importance of establishing the funds that can be raised by clubs internally before developing detailed plans, as the opposite leads to project stalling and most funding is provided on a matching basis;
• The sometimes surprising generosity of club members towards well organised development projects;
• The desirability of preparation for fundraising months in advance, including pursuit of Clubmark status (as you never know when a suitable funding scheme will come on stream);
• The availability of free help with fundraising from County Sports Partnerships such as ActiveSurrey;
• The importance of engaging specialist fundraisers to identify available funds and present effect bids (or knowing what you’re doing if you choose to do it yourself);
• The need, in some cases, for club culture to change before development can take place;
• The need for club committees to be efficient and organised to stand a chance of establishing and delivering development projects and effective induction, instruction and achieving increased member retention;
• Unanimous agreement that another similar Shooting Futures event should take place again, hopefully in September.

The meeting continued with a buffet lunch, allowing delegates to meet and to continue discussions on matters of common interest.

Peter Jones undertook to circulate notes and information from the meeting, including the presentation slides, details of the upcoming Youth Proficiency Scheme courses at Frylands Wood outdoor centre in Croydon and Farncombe and Godalming RC’s induction and instruction scheme.

Volunteers for the county’s Junior Captain vacancy and for the role of Coaching Coordinator stepped forward during lunch.

Thanks are due to the contributors, Liv Corbishley, Nick Clark, David Sprigg, and Roger Remington, Farncombe and Godalming RC for their induction and instruction programme, the committee and members of Bookham RC for use of their new clubhouse and Lina Jones and Jeanette Leivers for catering and cakes.

For more information, contact us via the contact form.