Having done some work in schools on a small scale, taster sessions mostly, I went onto launch the archery in education project in May 2021 and I have been able to really focus on bringing archery to grassroots, to children who have not experienced our sport and what it has to offer.
In May 2021 I took a call from the local activity partnership, Northamptonshire Sport asking to help get 6 weeks of archery in to 6 secondary schools in Northamptonshire.
A total of 806 individuals tried archery through this project, in the first 9 months.
By 14 months (July 2022) from that call we had provided archery in 8 primary schools, 13 secondary schools, 3 colleges and children educated in out of school settings, across 3 counties and Integr8Archery had been created to continue with the archery in education project and my other grassroots work.
8 of those secondary schools have sustainable archery and continue to involve more new students in trying the sport, along with setting up satellite clubs within the schools for students and plans to open up to the local community.
To date (December 2023) we have trained 13 school staff and 5 parents to become AGB instructors and have also part funded 2 sessions coaches. Our next 3 instructor courses are currently in planning. I also have 4 AGB instructors who have realised that sustained sessions mean they wanted to improve their own knowledge to allow them to continue to provide the very best experience to those who regularly attend the sessions they deliver and have now become AGB sessions coaches. It is great to see coaches wish to stretch themselves for grassroots archery.
My aim remains that any grassroots group who work with Integr8archery has the opportunity to become self sustaining and have their own trained instructors to run their sessions and therefore reduce costs for their long term goals and I put in place coaches to mentor them to ensure we work together to develop the archers and achieve their objectives.
The out of school setting group (this includes home educated children and children educated in alternate placement settings) had 7 months of weekly sessions which had to be suspended has now seen them offered a space to shoot within our own archery club should they wish.
This project continues to astound me and how it grows with new primary, secondary schools and colleges making plans with us to start archery in their settings. It’s also amazing to see coaches introduced to the schools continue to work with them in the long term, some with and some separately from Integr8Archery, being part of those early introduction and planning stages and watching sustainable sessions continue is incredibly rewarding.
Three of our schools have moved from only elective after school groups to also going live with archery in PE curriculum and have now launched their school clubs under Integr8archery.
We are continuing to move out of county with coaches interested in taking the education project into their areas, watch the updates page to hear how things progress in this and the other projects, but I can now say that my work with Leicestershire, saw us plan work in numerous primary schools and some secondary schools and it has been fantastic to watch the coaches introduce so many schools to our sport. I also work with coaches delivering in 5 other counties, always a privilege to be asked to help in any way.
Along with the sustainable sessions the first year of Integr8Archery saw us take part in 3 school games events and provide 7 single day events to schools who wanted to provided a taste of archery but are not currently in the position to host sustainable sessions. 2023 saw this repeated and there are exciting plans in place for Integr8archery to be involved in School Games events in 2024, I love this events and it is certainly amongst the highlights every year.
If you are interested in keeping up with numbers for what is being achieved with this and other grassroots projects please take a look at the weekly blogs, week 26 and the 1st year are certainly great places to look for what we are achieving. Every 6 months will see a round up and numbers shared, always a good way to assess the efforts I am putting in, those numbers help me on the tough days.
Visit the news and updates page and enter numbers in the search facility and you will find what you might want about my stats.
I continue to thank anyone who helps and these projects do take help, so again this is my opportunity to thank Arran Coggan, Gayle Pink and Helen Smedley of Archery GB Along with 36 coaches from instructor to senior level, five clubs within Northamptonshire along with the Northamptonshire County Archery Society and my children – these have all provided an amazing workforce to keep everything moving with me, some have stepped away to other things but many remain with me to help when they can.
It continues to be exciting to see what I can achieve in this second year of Integr8Archery, with so many plans being made for schools and other community groups working with me, but so far it’s looking to be just as amazing as the first year proved to be. I am not going to lie, some days it’s hard work being on my own and running all of these projects, but it won’t take me long to find my energy when you message me to ask me for ideas on what we can achieve.