Horsham Arun has a significant obligation to its members and to the welfare and the development of the game.
Over the past years, the club has continued to go from strength to strength, with a new and enthusiastic management committee and members who have the whole welfare of badminton as a common goal.
Forward Looking Plan
Horsham Arun is taking a more significant role in the community in response to a requirement to develop the game further. It aims to encourage more people to enjoy the game's delights. From junior players through to seniors and beginners to elite, as well as those with disabilities, Horsham Arun wants to explore ways of increasing the general health of its participants and the game.
The are a number of keys facets to the plan which need a phased and managed approach. And, with such a wide scope, it is essential that the plan is developed carefully and in a sustainable way.
There are five phases to the plan covering the following areas:
- Development of badminton in the community
- Development of badminton in schools
- Development of a junior academy
- Creation of a badminton centre of excellence in North Sussex
- Development of badminton for those with disabilities
Each of these phases is outlined in more detail below.
1. Development of Badminton in the Community
Badminton can serve in multiple ways as a catalyst to developing a healthier lifestyle for all players. It is a sport that suits players of all standards and abilities, and the costs of equipment and facilities are very reasonable.
The size and scale of the Sussex county means that it has been difficult for the county body to create a single development plan, or a central resource that enables people who access the sport, to develop their playing any further.
In the first instance, Horsham Arun is implementing a local plan with Horsham District Council and DC Leisure to ensure that potential participants know about and have easy access to facilities throughout the local area. This includes casual use, beginners through to club play and beyond.
2. Development of Badminton in Schools
As schools reduce the amount of general sport and extra curricular activities, many children are left without a core sport, particulary if they are not interested in football, netball or hockey. In other counties, badminton is seen by parents and children alike as a way of developing additional skills in an exciting sport.
To be able to successfully embrace and communicate this to children throughout the county, Horsham Arun is developing a plan to take badminton to the schools in the form of demonstrations, exhibitions and coaching sessions, all supported with information about the local playing facilities and junior clubs.
3. Development of a Junior Academy
There are a number of very successful junior academies within the UK. These are commercial enterprises that are aimed at bringing badminton to young players and developing them to their full potential. In some instances this is within the BADMINTON England structure, and for others it falls outside.In all instances the purpose is to develop players.
The academy at Milton Keynes has upwards of 90 juniors who play at least twice a week. Horsham Arun is taking a commercial participation in a venture like this, recruiting and funding coaches and development staff and using some of the commercial gains for the benefit of the club, and the development of the game throughout the county.
4. Creation of a Centre of Excellence
Sussex only has one centre of excellence for badminton and this is based at Portslade Sports Centre, just west of Brighton. Using the exceptional facilities at Broadbridge Heath and the ability to open up the indoor athletics area for another court, Horsham Arun is in a position to develop a plan to create a centre of excellence for this part of the county.
The knock-on benefits would be tremendous for both players and club alike. Firstly it would attract funding from a central level, secondly, events could be held to help players train and develop. Thirdly, it could be opened up to showcase badminton being played at a high level (e.g. county matches, etc.), bringing the game to more people.
5. Development of Badminton for those with Disabilities
In line with the Disabilities Discrimination Act and the desire of the English Federation of Disability Sport, Horsham Arun along with DC Leisure, is well positioned to make facilities available for badminton to be enjoyed by all.
The Horsham region is well placed and served by specialist schools that will benefit from a program that includes badminton under its fitness initiative.
Whats in it for HABC
There are both commercial and practical implications for developing the club.
Firstly, there is commercial interest in developing the clubs activities further. Investment is needed to develop additional facilities for all members, in terms of equipment, team play and club coaching. Secondly, in playing a greater part in the general community, Horsham Arun should attract additional members so enhancing the growth and development in the club and offering increased opportunities for participation in the sport.
In terms of the practical implications, badminton has been in decline since the 1970s, with fewer and fewer people taking up the sport. The majority of members in the Sussex region alone, tend to be in the 39-60 age category.
For badminton to have a sustained future and to continue to bring Olympic and World successes, it needs to be developed for as many people as possible. With the limited resources of the governing bodies, both locally and nationally, the larger clubs need to take an active interest.
Horsham Arun wants to play a major part in the growth and development of badminton in this area. Ultimately, this club wishes to be a driving force in improving and inspiring players locally and throughout the county.