In what seems to be a repeat of my opening paragraph from last year’s report, I stated that it was not my intention to offer my name to go forward for nomination as the Association's Chairman for another term. However circumstances have once again determined that I must.
In the past 12 months we have seen a successful transition in the role of Vice-Chairman and our new Administrator is now well established and supporting the Association well. The original succession plan for the Chairman's replacement had to be reconsidered and a new organisational structure is under construction for consideration in the near future. We also recently needed to find a replacement for our Honorary Secretary and it will of course take a while for the new postholder to find their feet.
I am actually writing this report while sitting in a tennis centre in Sheffield discussing disability sports matters with a multi-national group of tennis players (Sweden, Morocco and Greek to name but a few) who are competing in an International Tennis Federation event that one of our own players from Jersey is also taking part in. This tournament in particular has helped me realise how far JSAD have come since we started over 30 years ago. In this event we have some of the top ranked players in the world competing and the fact that Jersey is able to hold its own in such company is a great testament to the dedication of our members, coaching staff, fund raisers, sponsors and volunteers.
While on this particular trip away with JSAD I have also been able to visit the home training camp of the Sheffield Steelers Wheelchair Basketball Team in order to engage them with the proposal that they attend our 25th annual disability games this coming November. The Steelers visited Jersey for our first games and are more than willing to once again visit us to help in our silver jubilee celebrations of the games. Their head coach commented that JSAD should be congratulated for the ground breaking work we are doing in the promotion of this sport with particular reference to our Wheelchair Basketball Challenge and Outreach programmes.
Sitting here writing this report in International company I have just received a message advising me of yet another stunning set of performances by The Jersey Special Gym Club. We have most certainly come a long way in 30 years.
I have mentioned the above really to show that on any given weekend JSAD members are involved in some kind of sporting activity on or off Island and that activity needs to be supported and funded.
Of course it is the off Island success that catches the headlines - particularly achievement at an International level but in order to reach the standards necessary to do well at this level it is vital that good local facilities and coaching staff are available to support our members at the grass roots level. The sporting facilities we use locally across the board are becoming more expensive to hire and attracting volunteer coaching time is becoming more of a challenge so I think we need to keep a close eye on this and remind all that the success of our members on the high stage does not just happen.
All of our affiliated Clubs are reporting increased membership in the past 12 months which is of course a good thing. We need to keep pace with this increased membership number by recruiting more volunteers and coaching staff. Sadly it is true to say that we are placing at times too much load on some of our volunteers and coaches.
JSAD are now engaging with the new structures emerging in Jersey to support sport and we will be keeping a close eye on developments to ensure disability sport is properly represented in the new organisations, as we are in the existing ones.
The much talked about Jersey Charity Commission is still not set up but I do believe it will not be too long now before it is. This will present some challenges for JSAD and I believe we have the right team on the General Committee to meet the challenges and navigate JSAD safely through registration.
I am seeing a change in the way JSAD obtains funding. Many more charitable organisations in Jersey are employing part or full time fundraising administrators who have the time, during office hours, to chase down leads and fill in institutional organisations funding forms. We are keeping up but only just. For the time being we need to make sure we protect our existing revenue streams as best we can and encourage members to support our various fundraising initiatives during the year.
Last year our Honorary Treasurer advised that The Association needed to cut back effectively on some of our spending and it was decided to host a much scaled back annual games. This I think did the trick and I am pleased to say that the Games 2016 planning team are looking to host visiting teams once more to help us all celebrate the 25th year of the Jersey Games,.
I should like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members, sponsors, supporters, volunteers, coaching staff and the General Committee for the support given to JSAD and myself in the past year. We as an organisation are the envy of many because of our famous team work and dedication to delivering first class disability sports services and opportunities for our members at all levels of ability.
Thank you all and I look forward to working with you in the coming year.
For further details please contact:
Paul Patterson MBE