Angling Trust’s great strength is in its numbers. Our membership is not only the foundation of our political influence and the source of most of our income, but it is also the driving force behind the campaigns and policies of the organisation. As a membership organisation, it is vital that we are able to let our members know what we have been doing, what we plan to do and, most importantly, to find out what you want us to do at a regional and national level.
We need a structure that leads to action, not talking shops; that is relevant to our members’ interests; that lets volunteers know how they can help; and that allows us to engage at a regional level with decision makers. This structure has taken too long to be established and we are very keen to clear up any uncertainty now so that our members understand what meetings are available to them to share ideas and to find out what the Trust has been doing for them.
There are four key strands to our proposed structure: Marine Regions; Freshwater Regional Forums; County Angling Action Groups; Competitions.
The Angling Trust's Marine Regions are being based as closely as possible on the boundaries of the Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs). We are working towards each region having a Fisheries and Access committee and a competitions committee. We are in the process of setting up new groups where they don't exist and are currently looking for volunteers who would like to be involved in promoting and representing sea angling at a regional level. Representatives from these groups - plus co-opted members - form a national Conservation and Access group and a national Competitions group. Both groups and all our other marine representatives meet twice a year to discuss the Angling Trust's policy and focus on Sea Angling issues.
Freshwater Regional Forums
We are making good progress with the formation of a network of Freshwater Regions throughout the country. North West, Midlands, Thames, Eastern England and South West have all been established, and we are committed to getting regions set up in the South East, South, North East and Yorkshire in 2011. We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to chair and organise meetings in these Regions.
The Chairmen of each Region will be represented on a national Freshwater Committee which will advise the AT Board on issues relating to policy, with additional expert advice from a Freshwater Technical Advisory Panel which has already been established. Specialist angling groups with an interest in particular fish species meet up at a national level through the Specialist Angling Group, which is also represented on the Freshwater Committee.
Many clubs are represented at Regional Forums through their local fisheries consultative. If you run a consultative Angling Trust is happy to show meeting details for the future on its website, to encourage attendance by more anglers.
County Angling Action Groups
Our sister organisation, the Angling Development Board, is funded by Sport England to set up groups at a county level to secure funds to increase coarse, sea and game angling participation. In the past year, 23 of these groups have been set up, involving member clubs, fisheries and coaches who are interested in projects with this aim. These groups are focussed specifically on angling development.
Coarse angling is managed by a team who assist Sandra Drew, the Competitions and Events Manager, in the running of all our national and international competitions. Sea angling competitions are overseen and managed by the Marine Regions and the Marine Committee. Game angling competitions are managed by the Confederation of English Fly-Fishers and its constituent bodies. Our aim is to set up a national Competitions and Performance Committee to link all three disciplines into a single strategy and brand. This will help us secure sponsorship and if possible government funding to support competition angling at national and international level.
All our members are welcome at these meetings, details of which will be flagged up in our e-updates and posted on the Noticeboard section of our web site. It helps if you let the Secretary of the meeting know that you are planning to attend. If you don’t have the time or inclination to attend meetings, then please join our online discussions on the official Angling Trust Forum on our web site which has been kindly set up by Carl Hoyle, one of our volunteer members.