You may already be aware that almost 130 clubs have now committed to Northern Athletics by showing their willingness to be part of our new affiliation scheme. The need to determine our future by becoming financially independent has had to be our long term aim as a result of cuts in funding from England Athletics. We will continue a dialogue with our national governing body but unfortunately many within our sport are aware that central government is increasingly reducing funding for leisure activities and in particular grassroots competitive sport. We are planning ahead.
Those clubs that have already committed to us will continue to be part of our future post October 2018 and we hope that clubs yet to commit will indicate they will do so before the end of September. Once we have income from the scheme we will then be able to make decisions from a position of strength and stability. Those decisions will be assisted by input from those clubs that affiliate to us. Be part of us and then be part of the decision making. If the income is sufficient it will enable us to prioritise the way we operate in the interest of those clubs who choose to join us.
We hope more clubs will affiliate before October to enable your club athletes to compete in Northern events. Only in the last few weeks have we have had clubs e mail to say they have had club meetings confirming their affiliation in October.
We are having another successful summer of track and field championships. Our senior championships at Sportcity were followed by an exciting Northern Inter Counties event at Leigh with Yorkshire, Lancashire and the North East taking the top three spots. In between Sunderland hosted our 5K road championships. Our junior championships are about to take place at the new track in Liverpool and the entry list looks impressive. Before we know it we will be returning to Sportcity for our popular autumn road relays.
The first competition under the new affiliation scheme will be the cross country relays in late October in Sheffield and without drawing breath we will be into our indoor season. We also look forward to our cross country championships in January closely followed by our hosting of the National at Harewood House outside Leeds.
Again we want to assure all the clubs that affiliate this year that we will review our position over the course of the following six to twelve months. An opportunity to discuss and to receive input from our affiliated clubs will also be available over that time and initially at our Annual General Meeting in November. We remain committed to consulting the affiliated clubs as to the best way forward.
We are now in the process of creating a brand new and exciting website which will better publicise and enhance our activities. October 2018 will be the launch of a new era in our already long history and we hope you will be part of it.
Tony Wood
Northern Athletics