Bicester AC is now a clubmark accredited sports club. They received their award from England Athletics CCSO (Club and Coach Support Officer) Amy Frith at Bicester and Ploughley Sports Centre with Club Chairman Steve Flynn collecting the award on the club’s behalf. This represents two years of hard work put in by many members of the club. Bicester AC is currently primarily a junior athletics club that competes all year round in track and field, cross country and sportshall indoor athletics.
The award means that the club is recognized as being a beacon of quality in terms of the quality of coaching that the club provides and in particular that all of its coaches hold appropriate UK Athletics qualifications and are CRB checked. It is also an indication that the club has a good depth of volunteers to support its many activities including training sessions, competitions and the partnership arrangements that it has in place with other organisations such as schools and colleges.
Steve Flynn remarked that getting the Clubmark award was “another example of the further development of the club”. In recent years the club has been successful in obtaining national lottery support for funding new field event run ups at Bicester Community College, which benefit the wider community as they are used by both club and local schools, with further projects in the pipeline. These have also helped the club achieve an unprecedented number of athletes (from Bicester AC) in recent years to be ranked in the end of year national rankings, particularly in jumping and throwing events and also to win medals at the national schools’ championships.
The club also has long established partnerships with other local clubs and schools and stages very successful well established annual events. For example the local district cross country championships, jointly organized with Bicester Community College, has introduced a number of youngsters to the sport, with many going on to successfully compete for Bicester AC. Also the Andy Reading 10k road race, organized in conjunction with Alchester Running club, which attracts runners from all over the South of England to the area and has, over the years, raised thousands of pounds for national and local charities.
As part of gaining the award the club has had to produce a robust three year development plan that has received the support of England Athletics. The club is committed to continue its hard work and work towards being able to have access to an all weather running track facility within Bicester as there will no doubt be an increase in the need for more local sporting facilities following on from the ongoing expansion of Bicester and also the follow on from the staging of the summer 2012 Olympics in London. Also the provision of a local track facility would allow the club to expand its membership and include senior and vet athletics in the local area.