UKDS Open Forum Report

UK Deaf Sport held a successful Open Forum with representatives from Deaf sporting organisations in Reading on 25 September.
A full UKDS Board of Trustees welcomed representatives from athletics, badminton, golf, table tennis and ten-pin bowling, amongst others.
UKDS Trustee Stuart Harrison presented an update on Deaf Sports Funding.  He informed the audience that UKDS had recently submitted a bid for part of the English Federation of Disability Sport’s (EFDS) application for £2m of Lottery funding from Sport England.
This bid is for UKDS to provide support and consultative expertise to National Governing Bodies of Sport to enable them to make their sports more ‘Inclusive’.
The bid closing date was 30th September and so we hope to hear the reult within four weeks.
Stuart also presented another funding opportunity: an £8m Sport England Lottery fund.  The Sport England website indicates that the funding is about breaking down barriers – UK Deaf Sport wants to involve National Deaf Sports organisations and NGBs in the work that would result from a sucessful bid.
The Forum was asked if they would consider being part of a consortium bid from UKDS. (The funding is open to all organisations). Stuart recommended a consortium bid as he felt that Sport England would look upon this more favourably.
A key question was ‘What types of access do Deaf people need to be integrated into mainstream Sport?’.  An interesting point came from Chris Gwynn, Chef de Mission of T2009 Deaflympics who commented that creating events and competitions would be one way of overcoming the access issue.
A new era for Membership?
Gordon Hay of UKDS provided the Forum with a clear breakdown of the suggested Membership proposal.  This described the different levels of Membership which could be available.
One proposed level is Individual/Supporter Membership – where supporters could become UKDS Members.
The Forum was asked to consider what could be an acceptable cost per year for Membership and to send their thoughts to the UKDS office.
A full board meeting followed the Forum.  The Chair and Trustees followed up on suggestions made from the attendees and broadly approved the idea of creating Sport Liaison Officers (SLOs) and Operations Liaison Officers (OLOs).
Although details are to be finalised, the SLOs will be the link between UKDS and the Deaf Sports Community.
This proposal, as well as details of the new Membership structure will be made available before the UKDS AGM on 27 November.
Looking ahead
The UKDS board met again on 26 September and worked intensively on the nine-point, three-year Strategic Plan.  This will be presented at the the AGM.
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