I can’t quite remember the year but it was sometime during my second term in Parliament when I received an irate phone call from a senior figure in the old National Federation of Anglers (NFA) demanding to know why sports like lacrosse and judo had received funding from the then Sports Council and angling had not. Fair point you may think but when I asked how much the NFA had applied for I was told we shouldn’t have to apply as there are 3 million anglers and on that basis funds should just be handed over automatically.
Therein lay the problem. Until angling in this country finally got its act together and formed a unified national body that was capable of speaking for the sport as a whole it was never going to be taken seriously by either government or funding agencies. It has been a long journey to achieve professionalism and unity but in January 2009 it was my pleasure to help launch the new national voice for angling that is the Angling Trust. Despite a rocky start the hard work and dedication of people like Mike Heylin, Jim Glasspool, Terry Fell, Dick Vincent, Mark Lloyd and many others has ensured that angling is now able to start punching something like it’s true weight both in terms of political influence and access to public funds.
In the last funding round the Angling Development Board, which has now merged into the Trust, was awarded £1.5 million to develop a national network of angling coaches, County Action Groups and Clubmark accredited angling clubs all with the aim of getting more people fishing. This week we learn that Sport England has, despite cutbacks in its own funding from central government, increased its funding for angling development to £1.8 million.
Sport England has asked the Angling Trust to focus particularly on growing the number of anglers who go fishing once a week, and on older and disabled anglers.
The Angling Trust will use Sport England’s funding to:
- Support angling clubs and fisheries through its Club Fish national development programme to offer participation programmes over the four year period
- Focus on older and disabled anglers through the Let’s Fish group angling programme, delivered by Angling Champions at partner fisheries.
- Establish a club and fishery competition framework at national, regional and county level to reward regular participation across all disciplines, age groups and abilities.
Sport England is also providing £138,000 to support up to 800 talented young anglers at regional and national level across the disciplines of game, coarse and sea angling. This investment will help reinforce the sport’s talent development programme which is still in its infancy.
Sport England’s Director of Sport, Lisa O’Keefe, said:
“The Angling Trust has a huge opportunity to increase the number of regular anglers and it is great to see that it has developed its knowledge and insight into their market to get more people fishing more often.”
The Angling Trust’s Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said:
“. This success reflects the fact that the Trust has set a new standard in professionalism and governance, and that our development team have achieved real progress over the past four years.”
Like I said. We’ve come a long way from the days when we thought all we had to do was shout and the money would fall out of the magic tree !
Join the Angling Trust today…www.anglingtrust.net or call 0844 7700616