FSPA Chair's Report 2015 - Another Successful Year
2015 marked my fourth year as the Chairman of the Federation – and also a truly monumental year for Sport. Numerous champions retained their 2015 titles; Ireland kept possession of their Six Nations title on points from England after an extraordinary final day. Lewis Hamilton held onto his Formula One title and an enthralling 2015 Tour de France ended with Chris Froome (Team Sky) claiming his second win in three years.
In addition to this Greg Rutherford joined Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Jonathan Edwards when he became only the fifth British athlete to hold Olympic, Commonwealth, European and World crowns simultaneously. At the same Athletics World Championships in August, Jessica Ennis claimed a World Championship gold medal to go with her Olympic title just a year after the birth of her first baby.
2015 has been another successful year for FSPA member events, with good attendance and excellent feedback on the various free seminars (HR, Social Media, Export and Insolvency Law) and sports industry Think Tanks the Federation has hosted.
The FSPA has been working closely with Federation of European Sporting Goods (FESI) on many issues that affect the sporting goods industry.
The FSPA retained their UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) ‘Trade Challenge Partner’ Status. This enabled us to continue to represent the Sports and Play Industries on an International level. The FSPA’s export support for ISPO, EFFTEX and the PGA Merchandise Show was well received; we assisted 62 UK companies in gaining TAP export funding. A further 13 companies benefitted from exhibiting within an FSPA branded UK pavilion ISPO.
A number of new members were welcomed by the Federation in 2015. These companies and individuals have identified that being part of their trade association is an invaluable source of support and collective strength.
In 2015 ‘National Golf Month’ a campaign to encourage people to take up golf during May was funded by FSPA members the BGIA (British Golf Industry Association) through their Grow Golf Fund. National Golf Month was unique; it brought almost all the major partners in the golf industry (whether association, golfing facility or product brand) together to increase participation in golf. The campaign reached over 30,000 of the British public and encouraged over 19,000 to take part in golf.
The API (Association of Play Industries) appointed its first independent Chair in 2015. Mark Hardy joined with a remit to lead the association’s strategic direction. The API is confident that it will benefit enormously from his fresh thinking and independent approach.
The API is a founder member of the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) on a Fit and Healthy Childhood and specifically the ‘play’ working group. October 2015, saw the launch of the APPG’s Play report which (along with other advocates for play) the API contributed towards. Mark Hardy spoke on behalf of the play industry at its launch in the House of Lords.
Following questions raised surrounding the report; the API was invited along with Baroness Benjamin to meet Lord Prior from the Department of Health which gave the opportunity to talk directly about the benefits of play in general and specifically in addressing certain root causes of obesity. It was the API’s aim to again raise awareness of play to government and to urge a more proactive approach to policymaking in this area.
FSPA member SPE (Sports & Physical Education (PE) Association UK) had a change of name and a new website in 2015 because the previous 12 months had seen the member’s question what was the core of the Association and how they wanted to be represented to the outside world. It was agreed that the commonality between members was the ‘Education Market’ – moving away from fitness as implied in the previous name – SAFEA (Sports and Fitness Equipment Association). Their mission statement is now: “SPE is the lead trade association, established to represent organizations supplying and manufacturing sports equipment within the education and leisure industries”. Meetings have taken place with the Department of Education, Youth Sport Trust, Sport & Recreation Alliance and Sport England to look at ways SPE can work with them going forward.
In August 2015, the government put plans in place to develop a new strategy for sport following a decline in participation levels. They opened up a consultation and invited interested parties to share their views. The FSPA identified this as a unique opportunity for them to influence the government to create more accountability to drive improvement. We have suggested that they should make it clear who is responsible for delivering different elements of the strategy, what the milestones are and when the key steps will happen. The strategy must also include children from the age of 5, schools should be an important part and greater emphasis should be placed on play and physical activity.
The FSPA knows that sport has the power to change communities, to develop life skills (beyond specific sports skills) and to foster a habit through life. We look forward to playing our role in setting a fresh approach to growth in activity with Government support.
Looking Ahead to 2016
The FSPA Board set the overall course for the Federation to assist MD Jane Montgomery and her dedicated team in taking us forward; we look to do this by managing and supporting the very best interests of our members. The FSPA will continue to offer an informative and varied seminar programme for its members in the year ahead, along with providing a host of interesting guest speakers at our popular industry Think Tank events.
I would like to offer my sincere gratitude for the time and contribution of my fellow Board members, Jane Montgomery and her team and to reiterate that the Federation team is here to support you. It is worth reaffirming that this is your trade association, serving your company’s needs. I urge you to take full advantage of the cost saving membership benefits and services we offer and feedback any ideas from which you would benefit. We have a number of new opportunities with regards to member benefits in the pipeline for 2016 and we remain on a solid financial footing.
I very much look forward to working with you during the forthcoming year, and wish you all a positive and prosperous 2016.