Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

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shanclan
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Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by shanclan »

Given all the negative comments over the past couple of weeks, I thought people should have an opportunity to say some good things about the BCU/ Canoe England. It can't all be doom and gloom surely?

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by nomorfkindhalbhat »

?

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by cp »

Afraid it is unless you compete, The BCU /CE have no intentions of helping recreation.

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Glyn B »

Nope, can't think of anything positive.

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by James Hartley »

my BCU membership gets me a discount at Cotswolds outdoors.......................? That is about all I can think of
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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by morsey »

BC Who?!?

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by shanclan »

It's easy to knock it, but there must be some positive views out there?

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Glyn B »

Nope, still can't think of anything.

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by BaldockBabe »

I am a comeptitor (polo and slalom) and have nothing positive to say about them. They take lots of money off us and put very little (if any) into the grass roots level of the sport. I think the "elite" get something though... Whoop... There are very few of them.

I would not be a member if it were not compulsory.

Oh, and now we are losing volunteers from the sport because they insiste that they are members of Canoe England too but only have one, very high, price for membership.

Guess since this thread is supposed to be positive... Errrr.... Our regional rep is a very nice chap!

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by davebrads »

As far as I am aware, the BCU are only a conduit for external funding for the elite paddlers, so they don't even do anything for them.

So that leaves them doing nothing for any of their members.

And now they trying to take money from fishermen too!
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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by davebrads »

In fact, I think it would be better if there was a separate body for the competitive sport and for recreational paddlers. It probably wouldn't change much for us competitive paddlers, the membership and race fees are comparable to other sports and is something we just have to live with, however if there was a separate recreational body they would have to justify their existence by delivering what paddlers want.

Another sport I know a little about, which is similar to canoeing in that it has both recreational and competitive participants is cycling - and they have two bodies, the CTC and British Cycling. The CTC is for cycle touring and there is no compulsion to join and therefore they have to justify the membership cost, and consequently they do some very good work for their members, while British Cycling look after the competitive aspects of the sport. I only downside for cyclists is that if you cross over both sides then you might have to pay two lots of membership.

The BCU has a strangle hold on the competitive side of sport with their hands on the purse strings and recognition by the international bodies, I guess it would take a seismic shift to wrest that power away from them. However they have no such hold on the recreational paddlers, though it would still take quite some effort to set up the infrastructure that a new body would have to provide in order to present a viable alternative.
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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by chriscw »

It is I am afraid a general problem in sport. After initial noises about sport for all the last government decided to bid to host the Olympics, unfortunately (from the point of view of grass roots sport) they won. All the sports governing bodies not just the BCU are now obsessed with the effort to buy Olympic success, and of course host a good games. This normally happens in every country that hosts the Olympics grass roots sport suffers the effects for years. Both Funding and thought get completely absorbed by the effort to put on a good Olympics.

There is also the discouragement that individuals at grassroots level feel from having elite athletes whose levels of fitness funding and performance none of us can aspire to thrust in our faces day after day. There was a play about this effect back in the sixties called the year of the sex Olympics, the basic idea was that if the population at large was fed a diet of elite sex on TV 24/7 it would put them off trying to breed as they would feel totally inadequate. In the play at any rate the approach sort of worked.

Best just let it ride until the 2012 madness is past then perhaps suggest that Elite sport really does not matter as it helps only a few dozen people and that the sport for all idea is the way to go. We should all be lobbying our MPs after the Olympics are over to ask them to leave sport alone as generally governments are not good at doing things which really are none of their business. Governments only care about things which are done on a grand scale and where 'sucess' can be statistically measured.

If the Olympic movement really wants to encourage grass roots sports then host countries need to be encouraged to make less of an effort so that Olympic success is an individual rather than national effort.
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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by davebrads »

The inadequate performance of the BCU for recreational paddlers goes back a lot further than when London was awarded the Olympics, it is a function of it's structure.

The BCU depends for its revenue on memberships. There is a lot of funding that passes through the BCU, but this money is ring-fenced for specific projects and therefore can't really be called income.

As far as I can see there are three types of members:

Competitive paddlers - these don't have any choice, their individual disciplines are governed by enthusiastic amateurs and therefore the BCU has no need to manage the disciplines, except they seem to like to get involved with the high-profile international events, maybe for the kudos, maybe for the all expenses trips to Switzerland.

Coaches - again these don't have a choice, the BCU is the only recognised body in the UK that can award qualifications. They do have some self-interest in preserving this position, and therefore some effort is put into this aspect of their activities. Also they have an interest in increasing the numbers of coaches, as this means they will get more of the final group of members.

Recreational paddlers - who either join because they have to in order to get their personal award, or simply because they don't know any better. You would think that the BCU would do more to retain these members, since they actually have a choice to walk away, but they don't appear to. Perhaps they simply hope to convert them into coaches.

I think the competitive paddlers get the rawest deal of all, we put a huge amount of money into the BCU, and we get nothing back at all, apart from the event insurance. The BCU shows no interest in developing the competitive disciplines, this is left to the volunteers who manage on a shoestring budget.
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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by StoneWeasel »

The BCU do not support elite paddlers per say, just elite paddlers in there preferred disciplines. The surf kayaking world is fairly dominated by British paddlers with the top ten in most classes packed full of Brits, several British world champions at any world championships you care to mention and England being the current world champions in the team event but these paddlers get sod all help from the BCU.

Chris, you make some interesting points about 2012 but sadly I can not remember a time where the BCU were not geared to helping the Elite Olympic competitors at the expense of every other paddler so I don't think it is really a 2012 problem so much as an institutionalised mind set.

Oh and for a positive not to keep thread on topic, the BCU once sold some kayak stickers that I found amusing when I was 12.

Denzil

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by chriscw »

StoneWeasel wrote:The BCU do not support elite paddlers per say, just elite paddlers in there preferred disciplines. The surf kayaking world is fairly dominated by British paddlers with the top ten in most classes packed full of Brits, several British world champions at any world championships you care to mention and England being the current world champions in the team event but these paddlers get sod all help from the BCU.

Chris, you make some interesting points about 2012 but sadly I can not remember a time where the BCU were not geared to helping the Elite Olympic competitors at the expense of every other paddler so I don't think it is really a 2012 problem so much as an institutionalised mind set.

Oh and for a positive not to keep thread on topic, the BCU once sold some kayak stickers that I found amusing when I was 12.

Denzil
Perhaps you are right, it was founded I believe to send a team to the 1936 Olympics. I think the point I was making really is that we probably have to wait until after 2012 before asking for the BCU to get a sense of proportion, all governing bodies are still being lent on quite hard to put their main effort into Olympice medals despite the change of government.
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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Adrian Cooper »

davebrads wrote:I think the competitive paddlers get the rawest deal of all, we put a huge amount of money into the BCU, and we get nothing back at all, apart from the event insurance. The BCU shows no interest in developing the competitive disciplines, this is left to the volunteers who manage on a shoestring budget.
Do you know how much money is given to each of the diciplines? I got a copy of the detailed, audited accounts which were presented at the AGM. They do not contain this infrmation. The annual report also does not contain this information. What little I know is that the freestyle Committee really struggles with their budget and in a world championship year will barely afford to pay the entry fees of the competitors. Denzil, I'll wager the Surf Committee is in a similar position. Let me be a bit radical here and suggest that surf and freestyle are the most successful GB diciplines, certainly compared with numbers of competitors.

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Glyn B »

I have some experience of the competition side of things in that my son represented Britain in freestyle in Cananda.

The sole contribution of the BCU was the entry fee. Oh and eventually one Albert Brooks? turned up at the BCU's expense.

One of my patients is an MEP and when I approached him regarding funding he just shook his head and suggested getting in touch with the governing body.

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Albert Woods really made an impresion then. :-)

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Glyn B »

Haha, thanks for that Adrian, yep he certainly did!
It went down very well when he congratulated EJ on winning his first world championship too!

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Mark Gawler »

shanclan wrote:Given all the negative comments over the past couple of weeks, I thought people should have an opportunity to say some good things about the BCU/ Canoe England. It can't all be doom and gloom surely?
I was a member for a short while, it gave me limited benefit:
  • Thames Licence - With the exception of one occasion in 1992 I have never had a Thames licence checked (you paid separately back then and I wasn't a member and didn't have a licence).
  • Discount rate on the Tryweryn - Its free now.
  • Discount at Cotswold - They give 15% discount to everyone on there mailing list now!
Yes I think the membership fee is well worth the benefits.
Mark Gawler

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by StoneWeasel »

Adrian Cooper wrote:
davebrads wrote:I think the competitive paddlers get the rawest deal of all, we put a huge amount of money into the BCU, and we get nothing back at all, apart from the event insurance. The BCU shows no interest in developing the competitive disciplines, this is left to the volunteers who manage on a shoestring budget.
Do you know how much money is given to each of the diciplines? I got a copy of the detailed, audited accounts which were presented at the AGM. They do not contain this infrmation. The annual report also does not contain this information. What little I know is that the freestyle Committee really struggles with their budget and in a world championship year will barely afford to pay the entry fees of the competitors. Denzil, I'll wager the Surf Committee is in a similar position. Let me be a bit radical here and suggest that surf and freestyle are the most successful GB diciplines, certainly compared with numbers of competitors.
I'm not even sure that the Surf team get there entry fees paid, I'd have to check that though. I know that the surf committee are budgeted around about sod all and competition costs are paid for by the volunteer running the comp, these are hopefully recuperated from entry fees (just hope enough people turn up to your comp). The only things the BCU have paid for (via the surf committee) that I can think of in the last 10 years were two IC boats (base spec and I think heavily discounted as Mega seem to offer more support than the BCU) to be leant to juniors and ladies to encourage more into the sport and some new bibs (that could now really do with replacing).

Denzil

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by PaddleSlapper »

I was impressed with the freestyle club championships organised by the BCU Freestyle Committee last October. We have quite a few club members with lots of enthusiasm for freestyle, but not quite so much ability. It would be a waste of time them entering a proper freestyle competition, but a 'fun' competition with free coaching was just what these guys (and I) needed. We took about ten paddlers in all. Just a shame the second day was cancelled because of pollution, but great to see effort being put into the grass roots of a discipline. Well done BCU!

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Adrian Cooper »

I get the impression that the BCU reluctantly support the Freestyle Committee at quite a low level. The work done by the volunteer committee and its supporters is excellent.

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by StoneWeasel »

Adrian Cooper wrote:I get the impression that the BCU reluctantly support the Freestyle Committee at quite a low level. The work done by the volunteer committee and its supporters is excellent.
That sounds very similar to surf.

You kind of get the feeling that even though Surf and Freestyle are probably the disciplines that achieve the best results in international competition the BCU thinks of us as the bastard children of a loveless affair.

Denzil

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by merlinslittlefriend »

Am just back from the second BCU subsidised white water skills weekend in Yorkshire where about 60 people benifited from coaching by some of the best in the uk. There are many things that the BCU doesnt do right, but after this weekend Im feeling the love for the Yorkshire team and looking forward to next year :)

Beth

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by chriscw »

Surf and freestyle are not Olympic disciplines so the BCU will not be putting any significant organisational or financial support into them any more than it cares about the 99% of paddlers who just paddle for fun. They only organise the star awards as a box ticking exercise not because they are at all interested in them.

The focus is BUY Olympic glory partly because that was their original raison d'etre and partly because ALL government support for sport is focussed on 2012 and if you take government money for sport you have to show that it is being spent on buying medals at the Olympics!
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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by davebrads »

Canoe Slalom gets something called an "Exchequer Grant" from the BCU, but as I have thrown away my copy of the Slalom accounts I can't tell you how much it is. However, I don't think it was very much, and nowhere near the amount that slalom paddlers pay to the BCU in membership fees. Apart from that I can only reiterate that slalom doesn't get any more help from the BCU than any other of the competitive disciplines, we are pretty much left to run ourselves.

And all the good stuff, in whatever discipline, is being done by the volunteers who give their time freely to the BCU. Which is the way it should be I guess, apart from the fact that these volunteers seem to have no say in how the BCU is run at the top.
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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

It is weird as we (teachers) are hammered by the constant Active/Healthy lifestyle message by government - yes I agree and there is funding for it - but a lot of cash is spent on the elite to win gold.

I would rather the majority of the cash was spent on grass roots and let the natural talent rise.

Nick

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Re: Canoe England/BCU - where is the love?

Post by Glyn B »

In my opinion the terrific individuals involved in coaching/ support for the various disciplines do so IN SPITE of what the BCU does TO us rather than because of what it does FOR us.

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