The North of Tyne Athletics Network (NOTAN) is pleased to announce a new structure within their network, with the appointment of not only a new network coordinator; Victoria Spence, but also a volunteer coordinator; Alasdair Wilson and a coach coordinator; John Renney. NOTAN are looking to strengthen its team to ensure the best provisions are made to carry out each area of its aims for year 2.
With Victoria Spence in post as the network co-ordinator, NOTAN hope to increase the awareness of the network, ensuring the needs of both the athletes and coaches in the clubs are met. She will be working with both Tyne and Wear Sport and the Tony Blair Sports foundation to develop courses in the area such as an integrated coach education programme with a coach mentor scheme, and a new volunteer recognition scheme. Not only this but Victoria is developing a junior summer athletics grand prix over four dates; 17th July, 31st July, 14th August and 4th September. These events will be open to all children aged 7-13 years. Victoria tells us a bit about her background:
“I have been involved in athletics ever since I was 12 years old at school, where I was soon known to be very sporty, getting into anything to do with sport that I could. Through a six week taster down at my local Grantham Athletics Club I got hooked into athletics and joined the club. Ever since then athletics has become my main sport. I started developing this interest into coaching, starting with completing my community sports leader award by coaching at different primary schools in Grantham, Lincolnshire. From this my interests developed from helping coach at a local disability sports club and gaining my sports ability+ award, to becoming a young sporting ambassador for the area in which I started coaching in more primary schools in the area to help improve the provisions and talent for the next generation of athletes.
By this point I knew my future had to be within sport, so I decided to take up a Sport Development with Coaching degree at Northumbria University which developed my interest further. Here I completed my level 1 athletics and took up interest through different areas in sport in which I completed an Events Internship with the university. In my second year I completed a six week placement at North Shields Poly Athletics club where I met Tommy Brannon. Through this I helped with the club development and coaching for the club. I have developed my interest with the club and with NOTAN ever since this placement where I still coach at the club one night a week and through NOTAN and the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, I have been able to complete my Athletics Coach award. Over time I have helped produce questionnaires for the network as well as completing coaching audits and helping out with various tasks when I can. Which brings me to now; where I have recently finished my degree and have taken on the new post as the network co-ordinator. This will enable me to develop my work with the network where I will be able to gain more experience and will look forward to knew and exiting challenges to try and develop athletics in the North of Tyne”.
The network is looking to develop the volunteers from a range of sources such as Northumbria University and Tyne Met College, with the help of their partner, the Tony Blair Sports Foundation. Through this Alasdair is linking with these volunteers and helping to develop their experience and help at various events with the network as well as coaching within the clubs. Alasdair tells us about his experience:
“ I am an enthusiastic masters competitor in cross country skiing and orienteering, as well as an active member of Claremont Road Runners on both road and country having joined it in the boom years of the early eighties when the Great North Run and the London Marathon were just taking off. I am a self-coached athlete with wide reading around current research and continue to achieve good age group results on the basis of cross training using cycling, running, roller skiing and strength and power training. I have started in the last three years to turn my hand to coaching others, first as a level 1 coach in Nordic skiing but now becoming qualified in athletics. He believes there is a lot of cross-over between the different disciplines and ideas from one can benefit the others.
From committee roles and event planning in my local orienteering and nordic skiing clubs, I have begun to bring that experience of the organisational side of sport to bear on the role of volunteer coordinator for the North of Tyne Athletics Network (NOTAN). At the same time I have agreed to take over the role of secretary for the Network since David Beaney who has held the role since the beginning of NOTAN has had to step down due to extended University commitments.
The coming year will be a challenge to encourage new volunteers to the sport and established club members to become involved in coaching, event organisation and committee work whether that is a formal role or just helping serve drinks at the finish of a race, or something in between.”.
Finally, with the employment of the coach coordinator, NOTAN are expanding the current coaching structures from not only the four main clubs in the network (Claremont Road Runners, Heaton Harriers, North Shields Poly and Wallsend Harriers), but into 5 different schools in the Norham area. John has already developed this at Rockliffe school over the last year, expanding the opportunities available for the children, as he explains:
“I have been an athletics coach at North Shields Poly since January 2009, where I coach endurance running to a group of teenage athletes. In November 2010 I took athletics into Rockcliffe Primary School where I wanted to experience what it would be like to teach my sport to key stage 2 children. I found it hugely rewarding. I’ve delivered almost 20 sessions at Rockcliffe and have also recently taken some children to a track and field athletics competition.
Having been involved in athletics for over 30 years, mostly as a competitor, I am passionate about delivering athletics to young children in North Tyneside. I am looking forward to being part of the coaching team to visit other schools in the area”.
For more information on NOTAN or the upcoming events contact Victoria Spence at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07807039541.