Here at British Ice Skating we have been putting our heads together to work out how best we can support our members at this extremely difficult time. We have been working on the delivery of off-ice training that can be done at home, sharing stories of how inspirational individuals are best coping with the restrictions, and of course we are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that when normal service is resumed, we can be as efficient as possible.
In the stark reality of what the coming weeks and months may hold, one of our greatest concerns is around our coaches, who, while not employed by British Ice Skating, are indeed qualified through, and licensed, by BIS. They are at the forefront of ice skating and usually the first people new skaters come in to contact with and are the workforce on the ground, and without the facility to coach, their livelihoods are immediately and starkly impacted and thrown into jeopardy. Even in light of significant government action, the impact on the self employed is still, at this point an area of limited support being provided.
We are therefore creating a BIS Coach Crisis Fund, which will take the form of a lump sum contribution from British Ice Skating, as well as being open to donations through a crowd-funding initiative. As the National Governing Body, we have the power to reach out to many people and we consider this reach can be best put to use at this moment in time by appealing for contributions to help us support our coaches.
British Ice Skating are contributing £15,000 immediately, and hope that with the support of the wider membership, that amount can swell to be able to assist people in a time of great need. We are realistic enough to know that we alone cannot support everybody, and that the unknown duration of the current measures make it incredibly hard to plan and budget. The intention of this fund is to make small grants available to those individuals most in need to help them through the toughest of times – to buy food, make payments they cannot defer on, and to ensure they have the best chance to stay healthy themselves. Quite how many people we will be able to support depends on wider contributions, and we reiterate that this is for those in crisis. We sincerely hope the government will increase both their support and the communication of their intentions, and over the coming days we will be reviewing the government announcements, identifying options and signposting coaches to information available. We are active in discussions with our stakeholder partners to identify ways that we can better support you. We will do our bit by keeping members updated on such strategy and any further support mechanisms.
The application form for the BIS Coach Crisis Fund will be online by Tuesday 31st March 2020 with our initial criteria, and a special group will be set up to administer and review these applications, made up of Board members and senior management and absolutely confidential. With respect to your fellow coaching colleagues and in order to allow us to offer help as quickly as possible to those who need it, please only apply for the grant if you feel it is completely necessary.
The £15,000 Contribution from British Ice Skating will be held in the payment account, this will be added to the total raised and In the unlikely event of money left at the end of this, crowdfunding money will be ring-fenced for coach development.
The crowdfunding page is available at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/british-ice-skating-coach-crisis-fund
Michelle Draper - CEO
David Hartley - President and Acting Chair