Christmas and New Year are fast approaching and we have been reflecting on 2015 and planning for 2016; improving on the good things we have done and learning from any mistakes. I believe the organisation has never been in a better place to unite with our membership and stakeholders and grasp the opportunity for continued growth and success.
The planning and co-ordination of the annual race calendar has been a key focus for our staff, regions and associations over the past few months, it is a critical pillar and the 2016 race season is looking in good shape. It’s already evident that our new Regional structure is starting to play its part and I look forward to seeing more activity and collaboration delivered as part of our emerging Regional Development Plans.
The Scottish Cycling performance programmes have gone from strength to strength this year and we have witnessed a number of great results from emerging home grown talent. We have put a number of new programmes in place that now provide a progressive pathway for our youngsters to reach GB standards. Gary Coltman at the helm of the Performance team has presented the pathway and vision of Scottish Cycling widely, engaging with British Cycling and preparing riders for that next step into world class performing athletes.
The new R.A.C.E. programme has helped youngsters in the various regions to improve their skills and help them move up in the ranks. This programme is designed to drive Youth and Junior development. The programme is led by volunteers, with input, direction and support from the Scottish Cycling performance and development teams.
We have seen fantastic new competition and training facilities being built across the country that are already providing a huge legacy in terms of participation and improving performance. There are more new facilities in the pipeline and I’m confident they will accelerate our growth and talent development opportunities for generations to come.
There has been a number of changes within our Board at Scottish Cycling in 2015. We were saddened to have lost someone with the caliber of John Davies from our Board through tragic circumstances. Our chair Sean Murphy also had to step down for personal reasons and Richard Davison's term came to an end this year. I would like to welcome Andrea Lockhart who was appointed at the AGM, and again a welcome return to Kathy Gilchrist and Tom Bishop who will continue for another term. I am also delighted to report that the Board has co-opted Martin Cooke. Our new members will bring considerable experience and skills to the Board.
Turning to the staff we said farewell to Janette Hazlett (National Events Officer), Donald Hall (RDO North) and Jennifer Pearson (Communications Officer). I'd like to take this opportunity to wish them well and thank them for all their dedication, support and hard work over the last few years. New faces on the staff team in 2016 were Gillian Lambie (Communications Officer), Sarah Macintyre (National Events Officer – Road & Track), Ashley Chesham (Education & Training Co-ordinator), and James Bracher (RDO North) – welcome aboard!
Looking ahead, we are excited to start putting our events strategy into action, there is now a need for discipline specific plans to set the priorities and direction of Scottish Cycling now that we have established a strong regional structure.
We will continue our Governance review journey into 2016; we want to discuss what the future should look like, how disciplines are managed and specifically the relationships between Associations, our member clubs and Scottish Cycling. We have made a commitment to look at the levy system as part of this and look forward to working with you and sharing our recommendations of consideration with our membership. Our partnership with British Cycling is in a better place than ever before, and we are committed to working as an integral part of British Cycling to ensure the sport in Scotland reaps the benefits and contributes to growing the sport and ensuring medal success. We hope to secure new investment by collaborating on a new commercial strategy and I hope to be able to make a positive announcement during 2016.
We must continue to grow and create a strong voice and profile for the sport, however this cannot be done without the help of our members, clubs, volunteers, event organisers and everybody else who has an interest in the future of cycle sport.
We want to thank you for your previous and continued support and enthusiasm – ride safely and remember to take time out and put your feet up. If you do find a spare 15 minutes you may wish to read and share our 2015 Annual Report and reflect on what we can improve in 2016. For now, have a great Christmas and New Year and get ready for 2016.