Further update on the Poole Runners Under 18 section.

I should first start with a big thank you for the wide-ranging support shown by the vast majority of our membership during this difficult time for our club, recognising the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. I am only sorry that despite numerous current and previous committee members best endeavours matters came to a head last week.

I would like to clarify that the issues that brought about the recent demise of the under 18 committee, were not ongoing specific safeguarding concerns, but the collective failure of the under 18 committee to effectively implement and maintain due process and governance arrangements, that ensured our young people were appropriately supported and protected whilst in our care. Frustrations with these failings led to a complete breakdown in relationships, followed by resignations of key members and, as you are aware, the ultimate suspension of the committee as a whole.

This was an extremely tough, upsetting and disappointing culmination to an awful lot of hard work. But on reflection, I am entirely satisfied it was the right decision.

We are already working towards a new committee, on Thursday a proposal was sent to me to look through from a group of parents for a brand-new committee and a plan to move the Under 18s section forward with better structure and better communication between the committee and athletes/parents. I have read through it and it has my backing, the rest of the committee will see it over the weekend. We hope to have this up and running by the end of January at the latest.

In the short term, we were very concerned that with important races coming up athletes should not be without training, with that in mind, Sarah Swift has been working flat out with Team Dorset and other local clubs. She has gained agreement that our juniors can train with either/both of Poole Athletic Club or Wimborne Athletic Club. All fees for this will be covered by the club. Details of these sessions will be posted in a separate post.

We would like to thank Lindsay Hole, Mark Pauley and Ian Kennedy for their help and support in this matter, it shows the level of ‘togetherness’ in the running community.

Finally we welcome the return of Rupert Pepper, the founder of the junior section of Poole Runners. He will take the post of coaching co-ordinator on an interim basis. We see part of this job to be helping volunteers onto the coaching ladder and planning progression of coaches. This will ensure we have coaches who wish to progress their knowledge and have an understanding of all aspects of safeguarding.

If you are interested in helping with the new set up of the Under 18s or looking to get into coaching please make yourself known in the comments section of this post.

James Skipworth

Chairman, Poole Runners