An update from the chairman

Dear Members

It has been a while since we last communicated as a Club / Committee and following a recent committee meeting I wanted to share with you an update on the current position, whilst also looking back over the last few months and looking forward to the future also.

As you are all acutely aware the world has been completely different with COVID-19 and everyday life dramatically changed almost overnight.

The club made an early announcement that following enforced restrictions to training, and to help out in our own way to our members financially, that we would be suspending membership costs for the coming months.

Given that most athletes, coaches and groups are now, or will be shortly (except our Hawks currently) able to be coached and trained in a safe and controlled environment at the track, then with effect from September we will be recommencing member subs.

Our normal renewal for Annual Membership is actually September, however, we have agreed as a committee that we will be extending this year’s membership with no additional costs to members, until 31st March 2021 – effectively 18 months membership for the price of 12.

The new Membership year will then commence from 1st April for all athletes with the expectation that this will run annually / for 12 months thereafter. This change of Annual Renewal is subject to approval at our AGM (to be advised) later in the year.

We hope that members understand and appreciate this gesture from the club and it helps and provides comfort in what could be difficult financial times.

As I alluded to earlier, we now have the benefit and use of a fantastic newly laid track facility at Leverhulme with the lines now being laid. This has cost the best part of several hundred thousand pounds to do and we are grateful to Bolton Council for funding this for the benefit of our athletes and the town in general.

The ability for our Members to be able to use the track facility again hasn’t been taken lightly, and a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to make sure that our plans and protocols were robust and professionally presented to Bolton Council to allow us access to the track facility from early July.

It’s tantamount to the planning and attention to detail that was put into our plans & protocols, that has allowed us access to the facility again, and a massive thanks to Dave Shaw & Les Hall that led on this.

We are one of only 2 Users currently being allowed to use the facility as a consequence of our due diligence, although this looked potentially compromised initially when there was unauthorised use of the facility by members. We have designated sessions / track use allocated to us as a club and we are not permitted to use the facility outside of these allocations.

We would like to thank members for adhering to club and essentially Government rules relating to the return to the track / training, and would appeal to all to continue doing so and maintaining social distancing and protocols at all times, otherwise the council could reverse this decision.

For those that aren’t aware, All athletes have to complete a risk assessment and this is submitted via their coach to the coaching coordinator and each week coaches need to provide the names and assessments sheets of each and every athlete to be allowed on the track at their particular session / time slots.

A massive thank you must also go to all coaches for providing remote / socially distanced sessions whilst in lockdown, and for their continued help and professionalism in difficult times.

Please remember that no one is paid at the club and individuals give up a lot of their personal time to help and provide athletics at the club as you and I know it.

In terms of looking forward, more socially distanced races and events are being arranged by various organisations, albeit that all of the league competitions for this year have been cancelled.

We have had to make the difficult decision also to cancel next years Bolton 5k & 10k races as there is still far too much uncertainty and considering the amount of time and planning involved to successfully hold these events, I”m afraid the difficult decision had to be made now.

In addition, as there has been little or no competitions this year we have also agreed, possibly rather obviously, that there will be no Annual Presentation Awards for 2020.

Whether there may be scope for an alternative club evening / celebration early next year instead, we will monitor the situation and advise accordingly.

We would hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be effectively managed and controlled by the Government/s around the World and we can hopefully get back to a more ‘normal’ life again in the not too distant future, but we are acutely aware that this has not gone away yet and is still very much an important consideration for our everyday lives.

Please therefore respect and protect your fellow athletes, family, friends, coaches and everyone at the club and stay safe.

Best regards,

Scott Whittle
Bolton United Harriers & AC

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