Paul Owen OBE

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Paul Owen OBE

Post by SWPaddler » Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:30 pm

Paul William Owen. Formerly chief executive, British Canoe Union. For services to canoeing. (Wargrave, Berkshire)

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by cp » Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:43 pm

Just shows what a joke the honours system is. Quite frightening really.
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by morsey » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:36 am

Within the context of canoe sport (Olympic sprint and slalom) you would have to recognise the provision and delivery of world class facilities and development of athletes. London games at Lea Valley (why did they change the valley name!?) would have to be classed as a success, Slalom C2 pinned itself firmly on the map of quirky sports that somehow get you shouting at the television! And, Ed McKeever went superfast for two hundred metres without any bumps in the way.

So yes in that respect, pat on the back, from the toffs, fairly awarded.


The real stalwarts of the honours lists are, imo, always those who's actions speak volumes:
http://www.itv.com/news/west/2015-12-31 ... ours-list/

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Simon Westgarth » Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:11 pm

What is more interesting is that I understand he may of jumped from the position of CEO before he was pushed out, and perhaps such a recommendation of an honour was in the mix somewhere......politics has many faces and we're unlikely to know the truth.

Still under Paul's long stewardship, the BCU has had both medal and substantive governing body successes.

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Adrian Cooper » Sun Jan 03, 2016 6:58 pm

Any success the BCU has contributed towards relates only to the olympic disciplines. Success in other areas notably freestyle was achieved almost entirely from the commitment of the competitors, support from the BCU has been pathetic. I feel sure Mr Owen would agree?

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Dave Manby » Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:55 pm

Paul Owen got the OBE for services to sport no doubt. Whilst he was in the hot seat we won Olympic medals, world championship medals and European medals. Tht is how success is measured and that is how funding happens - whether you agree with this or not it is the way of the country. The biggest problem with the BCU has always been its underfunding. The general paddler does not join so the BCU has no money so they can't employ enough people to do the work the general paddler wants doing. As a result fewer and fewer people join and the downward spiral continues so everything gets cut to the basics. Medals means the BCU gets money. 10,000 new paddlers does not mean the BCU gets money. (10,000 new members would mean that the BCU gets money).

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Strad » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:44 pm

morsey wrote:
The real stalwarts of the honours lists are, imo, always those who's actions speak volumes:
http://www.itv.com/news/west/2015-12-31 ... ours-list/
Agreed, my sister in law received an OBE after the London Olympic games - she worked her back side off during several years of preparation and during the period of the games themselves, so I thought she deserved it.
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by MikeB » Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:27 pm

The fundamental problem is that people like us, ordinary paddlers, think the BCU (and by definition therefore the other satellite / subsidiary orgs) exist for our benefit.

The reality is that they don't. They exist to govern, and facilitate medals and glory - and the glory isn't just for the athletes who do the winning.

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:58 pm

Agreed; many people think that the BCU is still what it originally set out to be, an organisation working for its membership. It now considers itself a governing body for the sport whereas the majority of paddlers and likely its members do not require governing. This mis-match is the primary reason for its lack of members.

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Franky » Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:57 pm

Dave Manby wrote:The biggest problem with the BCU has always been its underfunding. The general paddler does not join so the BCU has no money so they can't employ enough people to do the work the general paddler wants doing.
Almost all clubs are affiliated to the BCU, so I assume that means they pay a subscription on behalf of their members... Or is that not how affiliation works?

As I understand it, if a club is affiliated to the BCU, then official club trips are licensed on navigable waterways without the participants having to pay for licences individually.

Individual membership of the BCU gives you an official licence to paddle navigable waterways.

The definition of "navigable waterway" is of course contested between paddlers and sections of the angling lobby. I'm not sure, but possibly the requirement for any kind of licence to paddle is contested too.

ALSO... What exactly is "the work the general paddler wants doing"?

If one compares the BCU with a not dissimilar organisation, the Ramblers' Association, one might assume that BCU members would like rivers kept clear of obstructions, and campaigns to support paddlers' legal claim to access.

"Work the general paddler wants doing" doesn't seem to cover much more than that, and therefore I'd have thought that the BCU's operations were fairly low-maintenance, especially given the number of club members who would undoubtedly lend support to them voluntarily.
As a result fewer and fewer people join and the downward spiral continues so everything gets cut to the basics. Medals means the BCU gets money. 10,000 new paddlers does not mean the BCU gets money. (10,000 new members would mean that the BCU gets money).
So assuming the BCU is now getting more money, what's that money being ploughed into? New logos, bulldog outfits and training and coaching facilities, as far as one can tell - i.e. investment in winning more medals. Not the "work the general paddler wants doing".

Aside from that, the BCU is subsidised. I don't know what proportion of its income is supplied by membership, but I'm not sure that what we are seeing is an organisation whose activities are "cut to the basics". Rather, they are being channelled into the competitive side of the activity as opposed to the recreational side.

Incidentally, I am a BCU member, because I want to paddle navigable rivers without fuss. (Canoe Focus used to be worth reading, too, before it became all but devoted to slalom kayaking.)

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by DaveBland » Tue Jan 05, 2016 6:20 pm

Agree with the majority of all the above on the role of the BCU.

The solution seems quite simple if they had their heads screwed on...
Split the organization into two 'divisions' – "BCU Recreation" and "BCU Competitive", each with a different remit. The Competitive division, can focus on Olympic excellence [as the organization does now] and can receive all the associated funding. The Recreation division can genuinely represent the everyday paddler and be membership funded. This would increase membership, and if say 10% of membership revenue from the Recreation division went to support the Competitive division, it would provide them with additional funding. Win, Win.

As it is they are too blinded by sporting glory to recognize the tens of thousands of potential members that could be tapped for membership if they only got off their arses and made an effort to represent them.
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by davebrads » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:59 pm

I am writing as a competitor and coach (or at least I used to) at what you would call the grass roots of slalom.

As far as I am aware the only service the BCU provides for our sport is as a conduit for funding, and all this goes to the elite coaches and squad. A very small amount is trickled down to the grass roots, and that is only as a result of pressure from Sport England - otherwise the team coaches want to hang on to as much of the money as possible for themselves. You can't blame them really, after all it is their livelihood, but it's not right or good for the sport. The slalom committee (which is run by volunteers) has to beg for a share of the membership fees from the BCU, despite the fact that few slalom paddlers would join the BCU if they didn't have to in order to race.

Over the years the BCU has singularly failed to support slalom in any way. They oversaw the building of artificial slalom courses around the country, then allowed them to be appropriated for other purposes. If I take a group of paddlers over to HPP at the weekend we don't get to train on gates, because the punters in the rafts might get hit by a pole. Teesside is just a joke, and the "Olympic Legacy" at Lea valley offers little chance for slalom paddlers outside the London area to use the facility.

For many years all the coaching support was based in Nottingham, though that is now slowly being wound down in favour of Lea Valley. Little has been available to paddlers outside the Nottingham area, despite this the majority of our most successful slalom paddlers have come from outside this region, on the whole supported by volunteer coaches and parents.

Contrast this with British Cycling. Prior to the Commonwealth Games in 2002 they had nothing for track cyclists, and we also produced few significant road racing cyclists for the whole of the previous century. British Cycling took over the velodrome and started a program aimed at the grass roots to produce world class cyclists. They didn't offer to ferry punters around the track in golf buggies or anything stupid like that, though anyone can sign up to have a ride on the track. Their success has been tremendous, and a result of good planning, not total luck as it has been for canoe slalom.

It sickens me to the stomach that Paul Owen has got any kind of recognition for the shocking way he has run my sport. And don't get me started on how pathetic they are for the recreational paddler.
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by neilfarmer » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:15 pm

DaveBland wrote:Agree with the majority of all the above on the role of the BCU.

The solution seems quite simple if they had their heads screwed on...
Split the organization into two 'divisions' – "BCU Recreation" and "BCU Competitive", each with a different remit. The Competitive division, can focus on Olympic excellence [as the organization does now] and can receive all the associated funding. The Recreation division can genuinely represent the everyday paddler and be membership funded. This would increase membership, and if say 10% of membership revenue from the Recreation division went to support the Competitive division, it would provide them with additional funding. Win, Win.

As it is they are too blinded by sporting glory to recognize the tens of thousands of potential members that could be tapped for membership if they only got off their arses and made an effort to represent them.
I rarely comment on threads like this and I am a director of the SCA, so only fair to declare that.

I don't think that the above would attract "lots of members" at all. Paddlers that paddled with me were not members of the SCA and did not see the point of joining either, even when faced with the work the SCA had done for them (access legislation, Braan campaign, guidebook, wheresthewater site, etc, etc, etc). Their answer was "they [SCA] will do it anyway so I can save my money".
In the overall scheme of things, membership subscriptions will not make a well funded organisation.
Probably why the many people that have intended to set up a "recreational NGB" have not done so.
Where would coaching fit into the above structure as well, who would pay for that and the structure behind it.
Unfortunately never quite as simple as it seems and many of the decisions that the board will be making may have other reasoning behind them.
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by neilfarmer » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:25 pm

davebrads wrote:I am writing as a competitor and coach (or at least I used to) at what you would call the grass roots of slalom.

As far as I am aware the only service the BCU provides for our sport is as a conduit for funding, and all this goes to the elite coaches and squad. A very small amount is trickled down to the grass roots, and that is only as a result of pressure from Sport England - otherwise the team coaches want to hang on to as much of the money as possible for themselves. You can't blame them really, after all it is their livelihood, but it's not right or good for the sport. The slalom committee (which is run by volunteers) has to beg for a share of the membership fees from the BCU, despite the fact that few slalom paddlers would join the BCU if they didn't have to in order to race.

Over the years the BCU has singularly failed to support slalom in any way. They oversaw the building of artificial slalom courses around the country, then allowed them to be appropriated for other purposes. If I take a group of paddlers over to HPP at the weekend we don't get to train on gates, because the punters in the rafts might get hit by a pole. Teesside is just a joke, and the "Olympic Legacy" at Lea valley offers little chance for slalom paddlers outside the London area to use the facility.

For many years all the coaching support was based in Nottingham, though that is now slowly being wound down in favour of Lea Valley. Little has been available to paddlers outside the Nottingham area, despite this the majority of our most successful slalom paddlers have come from outside this region, on the whole supported by volunteer coaches and parents.

Contrast this with British Cycling. Prior to the Commonwealth Games in 2002 they had nothing for track cyclists, and we also produced few significant road racing cyclists for the whole of the previous century. British Cycling took over the velodrome and started a program aimed at the grass roots to produce world class cyclists. They didn't offer to ferry punters around the track in golf buggies or anything stupid like that, though anyone can sign up to have a ride on the track. Their success has been tremendous, and a result of good planning, not total luck as it has been for canoe slalom.

It sickens me to the stomach that Paul Owen has got any kind of recognition for the shocking way he has run my sport. And don't get me started on how pathetic they are for the recreational paddler.
I am not sure of the position in CE or BC, but as far as I am aware at the moment, all performance money *must* be spent on the small group of "elite athletes" at the top of the tree. Certainly no 'trickle down'. If the BCU spent it on "grass roots", I imagine SportEngland would not be happy and future funding would be at significant risk.

wrt Slalom/Artificial WhiteWater Courses, I think the BCU/BC are right to be cautious. Did Nottingham (I am certainly not sure on the facts here, but have some memories) not almost bring down the BCU? Did the Treweryn not cause CW significant problems? BritishCycling have done very well and maybe lessons could be learned, but the average paddler just does not seem to be willing to pay the money required to keep Artificial Courses going, hence the rafting money generation. Very sad but seems to be true.

The real problem about the focusing of performance coaches in one (or two) areas is that there are just not enough to go around and not enough money to pay for them. Canoeing/Kayaking is not a government priority (not even a guaranteed spot at every olympic/commonwealth games I think). With few coaches, the paddlers have to travel to them, hence the Scottish Paddlers are all bases in Nottingham....

Perhaps things will change in the future, lets hope so. Perhaps it is time to ensure that a recreational paddler (or someone with that focus) gets onto the BC board. Certainly possible.
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by davebrads » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:32 am

neilfarmer wrote: I am not sure of the position in CE or BC, but as far as I am aware at the moment, all performance money *must* be spent on the small group of "elite athletes" at the top of the tree. Certainly no 'trickle down'. If the BCU spent it on "grass roots", I imagine SportEngland would not be happy and future funding would be at significant risk.
That doesn't appear to be the case - see this document https://public.sportengland.org/b2benga ... 0FINAL.pdf
neilfarmer wrote:wrt Slalom/Artificial WhiteWater Courses, I think the BCU/BC are right to be cautious. Did Nottingham (I am certainly not sure on the facts here, but have some memories) not almost bring down the BCU? Did the Treweryn not cause CW significant problems? BritishCycling have done very well and maybe lessons could be learned, but the average paddler just does not seem to be willing to pay the money required to keep Artificial Courses going, hence the rafting money generation. Very sad but seems to be true.
HPP was expensive for the BCU, funding wasn't so easy to come by in those days. That's why they appealed for donations from their members (to which I contributed). It's now just another reason for my disenchantment with the BCU that I can't use the facility for the purpose that I was told I was contributing to. I wouldn't have supported a rafting course! The average paddler may not want to contribute to keep artificial courses open (though the success of the Lea Valley legacy course might suggest otherwise), but slalomist's will. Much of the cost of running HPP is to maintain the staff and facilities required for rafting, take that away and the costs will reduce significantly.
neilfarmer wrote:The real problem about the focusing of performance coaches in one (or two) areas is that there are just not enough to go around and not enough money to pay for them. Canoeing/Kayaking is not a government priority (not even a guaranteed spot at every olympic/commonwealth games I think). With few coaches, the paddlers have to travel to them, hence the Scottish Paddlers are all bases in Nottingham....
I am not talking about the elite paddlers, but the grass roots. Fiona Pennie and David Florence had to get close to elite level somehow before they could consider moving to Nottingham, and that was through the help of unpaid volunteers. Canoe Slalom is not in the Commonwealth Games, but it is guaranteed at Olympics thanks to the efforts of Richard Fox.
neilfarmer wrote:Perhaps things will change in the future, lets hope so. Perhaps it is time to ensure that a recreational paddler (or someone with that focus) gets onto the BC board. Certainly possible.
I believe that the poor support that my sport receives is due to the disparate nature of the governing body. If you read the document I linked to it states that the grass roots funding is going into the U Canoe initiative. As far as I am aware this initiative is almost completely ignored by the competitive disciplines because it doesn't fit their needs, so as far as ensuring continued success in the future it is almost totally worthless.
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:42 am

Franky wrote:Almost all clubs are affiliated to the BCU, so I assume that means they pay a subscription on behalf of their members... Or is that not how affiliation works?
Yes, the affiliation fee includes a 'per capita' payment but this is very small and covers the cost of insurance.
As I understand it, if a club is affiliated to the BCU, then official club trips are licensed on navigable waterways without the participants having to pay for licences individually.
No, the licences need to purchased separately for each club boat intended to be paddled on regulated waterways.
If one compares the BCU with a not dissimilar organisation, the Ramblers' Association, one might assume that BCU members would like rivers kept clear of obstructions, and campaigns to support paddlers' legal claim to access.


I'm not sure the Ramblers' Association is comparable, it is not, and doesn't hold itself out to be, a governing body but very much works for the benefit of its membership.
Aside from that, the BCU is subsidised. I don't know what proportion of its income is supplied by membership, but I'm not sure that what we are seeing is an organisation whose activities are "cut to the basics". Rather, they are being channelled into the competitive side of the activity as opposed to the recreational side.
Much of the government grant money is hypothecated to the Olympic disciplines and cannot be channelled elsewhere. You will see from other comments that money for grass roots sport is highly restricted. For the freestyle Worlds, GB competitors had to pay for their flights, accommodation and even team strip such as T-shirts, the committee keep their costs to an absolute minimum so that they can at least afford to pay entry fees to the event.

As said above, government money for grass roots is being aimed at Ucanoe initiatives which see to introduce members of the public to the sport but this might be for just a one-off session, the statistics recognise these as measurable sporting activities.

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by davebrads » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:53 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:I'm not sure the Ramblers' Association is comparable, it is not, and doesn't hold itself out to be, a governing body but very much works for the benefit of its membership.
Agreed. Being more of a cyclist than a rambler my comparison is drawn with the Cyclists Touring Club and British Cycling. The CTC has always represented touring cyclists, and has campaigned on that front for many years and on the whole provides a pretty good service - it has to otherwise recreational cyclists have no reason to join. BC used to be the racing cyclists' organisation, at least it was when I was younger, but it seems to have undergone a bit of a transformation - it now offers a "Race" membership and a "Ride" membership. Reading between the lines this is as a result of the Sport England funding initiative which is pressing funded sporting bodies to increase participation. Obviously in some sports that can only mean increasing the numbers of people actually competing - I've never heard of a recreational rugby player. But for British Cycling and the BCU the path of least resistance is to increase the number of recreational participants and so British Cycling has been pushed into what was the CTC's territory. I would expect that to be a big mistake after my experience with the BCU being unable to serve either the competition or recreational paddler adequately, but to be fair British Cycling seems to be doing a good job, Chris Boardman is always on the telly and the radio promoting cycling initiatives, and perhaps the long history of the CTC would make it less enterprising, plus they simply don't have the public faces.
Adrian Cooper wrote:
Aside from that, the BCU is subsidised. I don't know what proportion of its income is supplied by membership, but I'm not sure that what we are seeing is an organisation whose activities are "cut to the basics". Rather, they are being channelled into the competitive side of the activity as opposed to the recreational side.
Much of the government grant money is hypothecated to the Olympic disciplines and cannot be channelled elsewhere. You will see from other comments that money for grass roots sport is highly restricted. For the freestyle Worlds, GB competitors had to pay for their flights, accommodation and even team strip such as T-shirts, the committee keep their costs to an absolute minimum so that they can at least afford to pay entry fees to the event.

As said above, government money for grass roots is being aimed at Ucanoe initiatives which see to introduce members of the public to the sport but this might be for just a one-off session, the statistics recognise these as measurable sporting activities.
Actually it would appear that the bulk of the funding is for "Participation" - which as far as I can see is all being channelled into the U-Canoe scheme which as I have said does not fit with competition canoeing. However I can see that this might come back to bite them on the bum. Sport England measures participation in terms of "APS" - Active Participation Survey - which counts how many people participate in the sport at least once per week. For cycling this is a no-brainer, all they have to do is get people to commute to work or ride around the neighbourhood once a week and they will be counted. Canoeing is harder, you generally have to travel somewhere first to do it, and depending upon your discipline you may have to wait for the right conditions. I bet that the majority of people reading this consider themselves paddlers and still don't manage to get out 50 times in a year. The U-Canoe scheme aims to get thousands of people having a go at canoeing, but I would be very surprised if the numbers meeting the APS conditions after a couple of years is higher than one or two percent. The target for the BCU is to increase the number of paddlers from 45,000 to 54,000 from 2013 to 2017. That means if I am right on the rate of take-up that they will have to put up to a million people through the U-Canoe scheme. I think that the money would be be better spent on increasing numbers in competitive canoeing, at least on the basis that they want to meet the APS target. Although getting people into competitive canoeing takes a greater investment in terms of equipment and coaching resource it is far more effective at retention. I haven't processed the figures, but I would guess that the number of paddlers that I have introduced to canoe slalom that were still training and racing two years later is over 50% - and some are still paddling ten years down the line.

And this is what really cheeses me off. I can see public money being thrown at unproductive schemes, whereas I know that I could achieve far more with just a small fraction of the pot, but it isn't available to me. British Canoeing say that they can support me with setting up a new slalom training group, but made it very clear that this support does not include any money!
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by DaveBland » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:59 pm

neilfarmer wrote: Unfortunately never quite as simple as it seems and many of the decisions that the board will be making may have other reasoning behind them.
I spend much of my working week hearing just those words from directors and managers who are resisting change. It nearly always is "as simple as that" in the end.
It just needs the will behind it and the vision to look from the customer's perspective, rather than the organization's.

Are you saying that a recreational division of the BCU wouldn't have anything to offer the country's recreational paddlers that they would be willing to pay for?
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Rae1 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:57 pm

Not about BCU, but similar.
I've had a short conversation today with the Clay Pigeon Shooting members admin.
I didnt renew, and he wanted to know why. I said it was too expensive for the benefit I get.
He just said "oh, OK."
Now, if he had queried me more, I could have said that £66 didnt get me much at all, apart from being able to enter shooting competitions. I would have asked why there are 12 or so fuil time staff with only 25000 or so members.Does it realy take all those staff to administer? Why a glossy magazine each month, when a .pdf file could be emailed/downloaded each month, saving on the £30k printing cost? If he then said, well, we're reducing it to £30, I'd have renewed immediately. Cost/benefit isnt worth it at £66.

The BCU are similar - the magazine is useless.Even trying to pay this years membership fee was stressful. Apparently, after trying for 2+ hours to renew online, then 2 phone calls, they were having IT difficulties with a new database. Then, it was painful trying to give my account details over the phone - rather than just taking my membership No., I was asked for all of my details again. I was rather peeved that they are so inefficient.
£40 for access to rivers/canals. I have never been asked to show my membership card anywhere. How many people who use the water actually pay someone for that use? Reduce the fee to £10, cut costs everywhere, and you may get more people joining.
We went to the HPP centre open day last year (Easter weekend iirc). They were doing lots of activities around the place at cheap price. But there was no evidence of the BCU there at all - we thought their offices would be open, just for info etc, but it was locked. It could be run so much better.

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Simon Westgarth » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:59 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:As said above, government money for grass roots is being aimed at Ucanoe initiatives which see to introduce members of the public to the sport but this might be for just a one-off session, the statistics recognise these as measurable sporting activities.
The BCU's U-Canoe initiative is to address the dropping out of young adults from paddling. From the recent Outdoors Participation Report, many outdoor sports get a considerable drop out from regular youth participation. For myself it's great that they recognise this, however the content of the initiative is highly questionable, and unlikely to achieve the objectives. There was probably funding for this, and not much effort put in to getting it.

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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by davebrads » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:51 am

Simon Westgarth wrote:
Adrian Cooper wrote:As said above, government money for grass roots is being aimed at Ucanoe initiatives which see to introduce members of the public to the sport but this might be for just a one-off session, the statistics recognise these as measurable sporting activities.
The BCU's U-Canoe initiative is to address the dropping out of young adults from paddling. From the recent Outdoors Participation Report, many outdoor sports get a considerable drop out from regular youth participation. For myself it's great that they recognise this, however the content of the initiative is highly questionable, and unlikely to achieve the objectives. There was probably funding for this, and not much effort put in to getting it.
They've had £5,542,000 to spend over five years on participation which seems to have all been allocated to the U-Canoe and Go Canoeing shemes.

Go Canoeing seems to be all about creating canoe trails. I can't see that making a great difference to the amount of people paddling every week. There's one on the Mersey near where I used to live and I never seen anybody use it. Manchester canoe club used it once (but we have been paddling the Mersey for as long as anybody can remember), and I think there is a commercial provider that runs trips on it, but I don't think he gets a lot of trade and the car park provided at the put in in Stockport has been locked for as long as I can remember.

As you say U-Canoe is all about making canoeing accessible for young adults, however from what I have seen it looks pretty boring and I can't see anybody sticking at any of the schemes for more than a few weeks. Maybe I'm being pessimistic and they may publish figures to show that thousands of new people are now paddling every week through this scheme.
it's not a playboat, it's a river runner

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Paul Owen OBE

Post by Adrian Cooper » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:20 am

Ah, yes, Go Canoeing. You know I really fancied paddling Rutland Water, I understand the wildlife is wonderful. I see the BCU organised a Go Canoeing event there so I enquired what was involved. Apparently you could paddle the length of the creek out to a buoy and back, slightly longer than usually permitted so that you can get up to a full kilometre! You might guess I didn't bother.

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