Nottingham Synchronized Skating Academy (NSSA) has become the first ice skating club in the UK to be accredited with Sport England’s Clubmark standard. The nationally recognised standard rewards community sports clubs around the UK who actively demonstrate higher standards of welfare, coaching and management. The official accreditation helps to ensure the UK’s club infrastructure is safer, stronger and more accessible to the British public.
NSSA set out to achieve Clubmark after their Welfare Officer became concerned that the club’s good practice wasn’t consistent, or being documented. The process took roughly 18 months, with NSSA beginning the process in October 2016. It was crucial the club had full support from the NSSA Committee to ensure the process could continue to move forward. With six squads in the club, it was additionally crucial that there were strong communication links between all club members, parents, team managers and the committee. The NSSA website significantly helped to support this process with documents being uploaded to the site and therefore accessible for all. NSSA liked the fact Clubmark provided a solid structure for them to follow, allowing them to prove they are a safe, reputable and effective club in the ice skating and sports community.
The club now has a two year development plan in place, focusing on key areas such as increasing membership, developing fundraising and sponsorship streams and launching two new teams for adults and seniors. NSSA wants to continue to progress on a national and international level both in term of skaters and coaching and believe Clubmark has helped them create a SMART strategy to continue to steadily progress forward in the coming years.
Looking forward, Nick Berry, NSSA Chair said, “I think we have really improved our practice and, as a result, the information for members is much better. I think Clubmark has to be a continuous process – we won’t have got everything right first time round but regular reviews will ensure our club continues to reflect best practice and should prompt on-going improvements for NSSA children and parents.”
Discussing the NSSA’s achievement further, Vice Chair, Maria Whiteley said, “We are really privileged and excited to be the first ice skating club in the country to have achieved Clubmark. It’s fantastic to see that other clubs are working on getting accreditation and wish them all the best – the journey has been well worth it for us and we would highly recommend it to others.”
Commenting on the news, NISA Interim CEO, Michelle Draper said, “We are delighted that NSSA has managed to achieve their Clubmark accreditation, a fantastic achievement. The accreditation is a fantastic tool from Sport England, allowing all sorts of sports clubs around the UK to develop by putting better procedures and practices in place. It is wonderful that ice skating finally has a club with Clubmark and we look forward to NSSA paving the way for other British clubs.”