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2021- The first #Unite Virtual Officials & Volunteers Conference

Sunday 7th March saw the staging of the first-ever virtual Welsh Athletics Officials & Volunteers Conference, under the banner of the #Unite Conference Series. This conference was the first in the series. It was great to see almost 100 volunteers and club officials registered for the afternoon. The opportunity to network, connect and learn through a virtual medium was well received by those in attendance from across Wales and even outside of Wales engaging throughout the afternoon sessions. The afternoon saw over 65 delegates in attendance, making it the biggest officials' conference held to date. 

The morning was opened by Mark Munro, UKA Director of Development. Providing an update on the ‘Athletics Unified strategy 2020-2032’ and the key priorities for the new officials' strategy. 

Followed by James Williams, CEO, talking through the past year about how we have led the way in unprecedented circumstances and our vision and direction for the sport in Wales. James also spoke about the strategy for the sport in Wales and how we must all play our part to achieve the sports vision.  

Rhiannon Linington-Payne, Head of Competition, updated on return to sport plans once T&F and Endurance competitions can recommence when Welsh Government restrictions allow.

Lynette Harries, President of Welsh Athletics, outlined new aims of the mentoring initiative: to extend the current mentor structure to clubs and regions, offer regular mentor training throughout all four regions as well as establishing mentors for Endurance in all four regions.

A strong feature of the day was the Athlete Centred Officiating session listening to young athlete views on a range of matters concerning keeping them involved in the sport. 

The second half of the afternoon was divided into multiple sessions to allow for personal choice of topic. With the Recruiting, Retaining, and Valuing volunteers, Seeding & Results workshop, and Event Adjudicator workshop. 

Eva Brewer & Barry Edwards facilitated a session on volunteer methods for recruitment, retention, and value in a club setting.  This was a beneficial learning session for club volunteers to reflect and return to the club setting with new ideas to support the process of volunteer development. 

Darran Williams covered four different areas of seeding and results in the technical workshop. To upskill new volunteers with the process of using the OpenTrack system.

Nigel Jones, delivered an informative session on ‘The Role of an Event Adjudicator’, what to expect in the process pre, during, and post-event.

The day finished with a popular session presentation by Sue Maughan & Geoff Wickens concentrating on progression through the UKA Track & Field Pathway from Level 1 -5. At the same time, a presentation on Officials/Volunteers well-being, delivered by Mental Health professional Georgia White, promoting positive mental health - the benefits linked with volunteering, the importance of mental well-being, and relaxation techniques. The session included real examples throughout and highlighted resources to visit for further support. 

Our appreciation and thanks go to the above for their support and contributions to making the day such a success. 

As ever, a huge thank you to everyone that attended our first virtual Officials & Volunteers & Conference, from far and wide: 

Ogmore Phoenix Runners, Crickhowell Running Club, Cornelly Striders,  Wolves & Bilston A.C, Welsh Masters, Cardiff Archers, Mendip AC, Cwmbran Harriers, Rugby Northampton AC, Swansea Harriers, Bridgend AC, Cardiff AC, Leamington C & A C, Jarrow & Hebburn AC, Neath Harriers, Wrexham AC, Eryri Harriers, Colwyn Bay AC, Buckley Runners, Just Run Penybont, Port Talbot Harriers, Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan Schools Athletics Association, North Wales Road Runners Club, Radley AC (England), Les Croupiers, Newport Harriers,  Carmarthen Harriers, Maldwyn Harriers, Brecon AC, Pontyclun AC, Nuneaton Harriers. 

Without our officials and volunteer communities’ athletics simply would not function and we would not be able to provide the brilliant events across Wales.

So, from us at Welsh Athletics thank you for the ongoing and enthusiastic support for Athletics and we hope to see you all very soon at an event.

Pre-recorded content is now available for the following virtual workshops: 

Presentation with Audio: 

  • The Role of an Event Adjudicator  - Nigel Jones (Race Organiser & UKA Level 4 Endurance Official)
  • VIDEO TO FOLLOW SHORTLY - Officials & Volunteer Mental Well-being - Georgia White (Mental Health Professional) 

Presentation only for UKA T&F Officials Pathway Level 1-5 by Sue Maughan (UKA Level 4 Field Judge) & Geoff Wickens (UKA Level 4 Timekeeper).