Chairman’s Report

At our AGM, I will have completed six years in the chair and this report gives me the opportunity to share with you my reflections on our activities last year and what lies ahead.

Voluntary organisations like ours would not work without a dedicated team – and we have a really good team, all of whom have different responsibilities and bring results to our meetings which collectively make up a sound council… our trustees meet on a regular basis to review ongoing projects and opportunities and we hold four or five ‘executive’ meetings during the year, which include the other team members as well as representatives from Borough and Town councils and our friends from Active Surrey. I like to move these meetings around to different sports clubs’ locations, so we can meet them, and they can meet us – if we haven’t visited you yet – let me know and we will schedule you in.

This time, we are delighted to be with our friends at Guildford Hockey Club and thank them for their hospitality.

Sport Godalming is a well-respected and well-run outfit, involving itself in our local community with a cross-section of sportsmen and women as part of our team. We counsel and lobby for our members and provide information as well as grants, both large and small, to help athletes in their pursuits of sporting excellence.

So, a snapshot of the last year from both a personal and team perspective…

The trustees and I enjoyed a convivial evening with our former colleague Ray Cotton back in January on his 90th birthday – Ray now lives in Frome and is still very active and member of the local sports club – he had a new knee in the autumn and keeps in touch with us regularly.

Our AGM in March was hosted by Farncombe Wanderers Cricket Club. The accounts were adopted, the trustees were re-elected as were the committee. This was followed by an ‘Open Meeting’ where presentations to six successful applicants in our ‘Go for Gold – The Road to Tokyo’ programme, which also encompasses ‘Elite’ awards, were made – these went to Claudia Lance Jones (Cross Country/Middle Distance Running), Anna Litvinenko (Ice Skating), Jamie Oakley (Triathlon), Isabella Frewer (Lacrosse), Yasmina Hasan (Bowls) and Jamie Mansfield (Judo).

There followed presentations from Peter Hirons, Farncombe Youth Football, Chris Alder, Guildford Rugby Club and Dave Walter, Surrey Trust League (cricket) on the subject of drop out of sport of young people aged between 15 to 25.  The messages from these presentations were that you needed a link between the juniors and the seniors, role models, remember everyone is equal and to involve people in the games.

On these occasions, we also welcome our Borough and Town Mayors, which make these events special, so we were delighted to host the Mayor of Waverley, Councillor Simon Inchbald and the Deputy Mayor of Godalming, both of whom spoke warmly about our organisation.

We set great store in our relationship with both our Borough and Town Councils and are grateful to them for their funding, which is essential and enables us to carry out our activities.

The Godalming Run, now in its seventh year, attracted some 674-people running in three distance races around the town and countryside on a Sunday in May – numbers were down this year due to circumstances beyond our control, but we are hopeful to build those up again in 2019.

Our thanks also go to the Charterhouse Club and to the Town Council, without whom this event wouldn’t happen – to Waverley Harriers for their continued support and to Alton Sports, who provided the prizes and Trade Direct Insurance for their sponsorship.

We hold the ‘purse strings’ for the Surrey Para Games and enjoyed a morning at the Charterhouse club in July to support these youngsters in a variety of sports.

The three sports councils in the borough are very close on many issues and each year I am invited to Sport Haslemere and Farnham Sports Council’s awards evenings – these happen in late September and early October respectively and are always excellent occasions… In passing, a big thank you to both Peter Lawrence (Haslemere chairman) and David Gill (Farnham chairman) for adjudicating both our ‘Go for Gold’ applicants and also our sports awards nominations – our friend Don Wilmott makes up the third person on that panel with Anne Gray joining the sports awards panel this time.

Our annual sports awards for 2018 was held in the Wilfrid Noyce Centre in October to ‘showcase’ the cream of Godalming (and surrounds) athletes. This ‘played’ to a packed house and there were some amazing stories that came out of the presentations – we were also delighted to have Ken Schofield CBE, former Executive Director of the European Golf Tour and President elect of Surrey County Cricket Club, as our guest speaker – and again to welcome our local Mayors.

Our website records the evening together with a full list of winners and I should also mention our award sponsors – Waverley (Sports Team of the Year) Trade Direct (Youth Sports Personality of the Year) Active Surrey (Coach of the Year) Surrey Playing Fields (Young Volunteer of the Year) Charterhouse Club (Sports Personality of the Year) and Specsavers (Sport Development) – our thanks to all of them.

This year we were delighted that three of our award winners were recognised at the Active Surrey Sports Awards in November with the Guildford Ladies Hockey 1st XI (our sports team of the year) also winning their sports team of the year award, sponsored by Specsavers – The Meath Swimming Club Volunteers were first runners up in the Active Surrey Disability sports award sponsored by Surrey County Council Chairman’s office and Barry Dawkins was first runner up in the Active Surrey Outstanding achievement award sponsored by BBC Surrey – so a BIG well done to them all.

Sponsorship is always important to support the various activities that all sports councils are involved with and we are always on the lookout for such partnerships – we are very grateful to Trade Direct Insurance for their support for the Godalming Run and for supporting a category in our Sports Awards.

At this year’s AGM we will be giving annual grants to successful ‘Go for Gold’ candidates to help them to live their dream – at the other end of the spectrum, our small grants programme continues to attract and if that small donation can be the trigger that makes the difference between pursuing that persons ambitions to achieve… or not, then we feel that it is a very worthwhile cause.

As your chairman, I attend the Surrey Sports Councils Forum, which meets occasionally and is an opportunity to see how other sports councils operate – share best practice & joint working opportunities and of course ideas… your trustees also meet with Waverley’s leisure team to discuss on-going issues.

So, what does 2019 hold for us – well more of the same I hope – we have a close working relationship with the other sports council’s in the borough and have made overtures to sports personnel in Cranleigh to see if we could assist with the setting up of a sports council there – at time of writing our efforts have fallen on stony ground…

I would still like to see a united Broadwater Park ‘village’ with all the sports users talking and working together and maybe that door could still be opened with the advent of the proposed ‘Godalming Park Run’ which was shelved – surely this must happen as it makes sense for the good people of Godalming to get good exercise in the fresh air rather than (for instance) sweating on a static bike in the gym…! Sport Godalming is right behind this initiative and we hope it might happen in 2019…

I would also like to have more sports clubs be part of our ‘umbrella’ and more sports clubs represented on our executive and finally, to have more School’s involvement in our Sports awards – so work in progress….

One real success in 2018 was the second of our ‘schools challenge’ programme,  our thanks especially to Kerry Fowler at Broadwater School for her enthusiasm and drive engaging four schools – Broadwater, Glebelands, Rodborough and Woolmer Hill – we were pleased to be able to support these sports – this time Handball, Netball, Rounders & Softball, each played at a different participating school – in these days of school league tables and their focus, it is good that an initiative like this can work and involve so many youngsters. We give each participant a medal and each winning school per event a cup – yes, we DO encourage competition – is that PC…?

Finally, to our website… we have a new website… much has been written about this over the past months, so I won’t bore you with detail suffice to say that the three sports councils together have engineered this with matching grants thru’ Waverley, under one hosting umbrella and through the good offices of Suzanne Hodnett – a freelance web designer and developer.

But the important thing is that we have all retained our separate identities – our previous website was great, but it got so cluttered with ‘stuff’ that we really needed a fresh design and now we have it – we hope that our member clubs will also link into this in time.

Is that enough – well maybe for now it is – I suppose a final goal would be see youngsters come out from behind their computers and engage with all the sporting opportunities that our clubs can offer – even just a couple of hours a week – it would make such a difference to their lifestyles…

Enjoy your sport.

Simon Crowther – Chairman
January 2019