Looking to the future

23rd January 2017

Looking to the future

A message from Keith Nicholls (Acting President, Volleyball England) and Janet Inman (Interim CEO, Volleyball England)

The last few months have been a challenging time for Volleyball England. Our central funding from Sport England, like all other NGBs, is being reviewed. Our governance is – rightly – being subjected to fierce scrutiny and a number of talented people have left, both from head office and our Board of directors.

All these changes and challenges have given us an ideal opportunity to take a close look at ourselves. We see this as a positive opportunity to change; to refresh and renew how Volleyball England operates - and we intend to seize this opportunity.

This means revisiting the guiding principles of what this organisation was formed to do – to serve our core market of volleyballers, whether you play Volleyball, Sitting Volleyball or Beach Volleyball and irrespective of the level you play at or the setting you play in. It means adopting long overdue reforms to our organisational governance and radically overhauling the programmes we support and how we support or deliver them.

Our duty of care to volleyball in this country should extend beyond the top tier of elite athletes and clubs. In developing our core market strategy, those employed at the national office in Loughborough will be assisting you, our volunteers, to grow the sport at all levels across the whole of England.

In the quest to drive up volleyball participation in recent years, we rather lost sight of who we were supposed to serve and support. We will now rectify this.

We want to engage and support all clubs, up and down the country, to raise the standard and profile of our sport. We want to connect with you, our most valuable resource, our volleyballing volunteers, to help you turn your ambitions into reality. And we want to work with Sport England to help them address the issue of an increasingly inactive population.

There is no hiding from the fact that our financial future is uncertain. We shall be working very hard in the coming weeks and months to reassure Sport England that volleyball in this country remains in safe hands.

Even if we do that, we already know that our central funding will be reduced, just as it has been – or will be – for most other sports. Sport England has new priorities and objectives and we need to be flexible enough to move with them and show the impact volleyball can make.

Whatever happens in terms of funding, our commitment to establish a better connection with the broader volleyballing community will remain. In time, we hope that a new and more productive working relationship will begin to emerge.

The one thing that binds us all together is a shared love of our sport. By better working together, and tapping into the incredible depth of talent within our volunteer network, we can take volleyball forward and put it where we all want it to be.

To do this, the relationship between all parts of the ‘volleyball family’ needs to be more of a two-way dialogue. We’ll have ideas on how to innovate in order to improve our sport. We’ll want to run them past you and to work collaboratively to turn them into reality. But we’ll also want to hear your ideas for the future and to engage everyone in the forward direction of our sport; working together on the development and sharing in the success.

Our resources are clearly finite so there is a limit to how much we’ll be able to do - but rest assured that we intend to listen. It all starts with a phone call or an email so do please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

Looking to the future