Fortune Favours The Brave

Sport England’s new strategy, ‘Towards an Active Nation’ was announced at the end of last week, with a headline focus of getting more people active. Andy Parkinson, CEO of British Rowing, shares his thoughts on its impact on rowing.


So, what does Sport England’s new strategy mean to our sport, the hundreds of clubs or even your crew? Well, actually, quite a lot.

As with most National Governing Bodies (NGB), we work very closely with Sport England and UK Sport, to help inform how we lead, enable and inspire excellence in rowing at all levels.

Having read the new strategy, Towards an Active Nation, and having had the chance to contemplate and discuss internally the impact on rowing, there were four key things that stood out to me.

  1. We need to get the inactive, active. As well as continuing to support the many rowers who are out on the water already or on indoor rowing machines across the country, we need to get more people into our sport. Therefore we need to have the facilities, volunteers, race formats, rowing sessions and choice that can support more people, whoever they are, wherever they are.
  2. The customer will be at the heart of what we do. Giving people the opportunity to experience rowing on their terms, when, how and where, will allow more people to be involved in the sport in a more rewarding way.
  3. Look to innovation to unlock creative solutions. Rowing has a strong heritage, on which we need to continue to build. We have already started to build innovation in to our business and we need to accelerate this to ensure we will be more relevant and sustainable for the future.
  4. Use the power of digital to release our full potential. Technology offers a real opportunity to change how we deliver rowing. Data is a critical element of this, allowing us to better track the impact of our sport, to learn and evolve, and to present the sport in a contemporary and exciting way.

Ultimately, we want rowing to continue to thrive as a sport, indoor and on-water, and to be accessible and open to all. Which means we need to be bold, innovative and collaborative, language that is regularly used in Sport England’s strategy.

Now is the time to look to our future, working with Sport England and other key partners to achieve this. We are in good shape having agreed our Strategic Plan 2015-24 last year and we are currently developing our four-year operational plan that will provide a clear indication of what we believe we can deliver.

This is an exciting time for our sport. One where opportunity and rewards will favour the brave.

For more information about Sport England or to download a copy of Towards an Active Nation click here.

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