2006 DREAMSTORE ACTIVE Awards place spotlight on angling accessibility.

 

The 2006 Dreamstore Active Awards, sponsored by Bank of Scotland Corporate held at Chesford Grange, Warwickshire, highlighted a range of groups, projects and individuals that have made a huge contribution to society through angling over the past year.   The awards are not about the fish, equipment or celebrity – the awards are about people and organisations generating change for the better, for others.

Left to right;  Rhys Llywelyn, Fishing Wales winner of Conservation Award and Best Business/Agency Award, Richard Wightman, Environment Agency Sponsor of Group Award, Simon Henton, winner of Individual Award, Chris Reece, collecting on behalf of CWM HEDD Fisher winner of Social Inclusion Award.

 

A Dreamstore spokesman said:

 

“Dreamstore Active created the Awards night to highlight the tremendous work and effort that goes into activity that may otherwise be overlooked or passed by.   The underlying message of the Awards is that an awful lot can be achieved by those dedicated to doing their best, and underscored by a vision and passion to achieve.”

 

There were five Awards presented at the black-tie Dreamstore Active Awards Dinner:

Social Inclusion Award sponsored by Dreamstore UK– CWM HEDD FISHERY near Newport, South Wales: Cwm Hedd has opened access to angling for everyone.  It is a family environment that has all the necessary components that define an accessible fishery: good parking, toilets, a place to eat, a good range of fish (coarse and trout)well designed pegs, good location, coaching programmes and plans in place for further improvement.  Its forethought has created one of the most accessible fisheries in Wales for the disabled. 

 

Conservation Award sponsored by Dreamstore UK & Best Business/Agency Award: FISHING WALES has successfully combined an improvement to infrastructure of natural habitats on around 350km of river, added drive to generate interest through local participation projects, and an improved angling experience for the tourist.  It is the combination of improved environment, a social impact in bringing so many together to volunteer and support, and the economic benefits that has resulted in combining the Conservation and Best Business/Agency Awards for 2006.  Improvements in conservation, attitudes and tourism on the scale achieved might well alone have justified the spend of £5.2 million, but more so when the spend in the region on angling tourism amounts to an increase of over one third in three years from £67 million to almost £100 million.

 

Group Award sponsored by The Environment Agency – Breckland Angling Coaching Club: This Club is entirely dedicated to coaching and increasing angling participation through angling.  With an emphasis on education, this group has engaged with schools, adult learning, English as second language groups and has even made angling hi-tech with an ICT project to encourage young people to photograph, transfer and write up their angling experience on laptops at the water side.  The group is sponsored by the GMB Union, local tackle outlets and local businesses and, most importantly, supported by a team of volunteer coaches.

 

Individual Award – Simon Henton, Managing Director LEEDA, Chairman ATA (retiring): Our individual Award is being presented to someone who has helped raise the profile of angling and endeavoured to increase interest through National Fishing Week.  It is someone who has made angling equipment more accessible by selling to retailers big and small.  Simon Henton’s approach is characterised by an open-minded determination and a refreshing focus on increasing the sum total of angling participation.  

 

Full text of each Award introduction follows:


Social Inclusion Award 2006 sponsored by Dreamstore UK – CWM HEDD FISHERY near Newport, South Wales.

Social inclusion is very much about making a difference and creating opportunity. Fishing is proving itself to be an effective means of helping people gain self-confidence though a very simple act achievement – catching a fish.  Angling is regularly used to address social exclusion, in a variety of ways.

One of the big issues that Dreamstore has been reviewing over the past year has been the meaning of accessibility to everyone: considering accessibility in the very broadest of terms and starting with the barriers to access.  The Dreamstore Academy addresses one barrier – creating coaches to provide someone to take you fishing.  It is also clear from experience through the Academy and the Dreamstore Education Action Zone that having an appropriate place to fish is equally a barrier to angling. 

The Social Inclusion Award 2006 goes to a project which has opened access in the very broadest sense.  It has created an accessible fishery that is for everyone, young or old, learner or skilled, disabled or not.  A family environment has been created, with all the necessary components that define an accessible fishery: good parking, toilets, a place to eat, a good range of fish (coarse and trout),well designed pegs, good location, and coaching programmes. 

 

Conservation Award 2006 sponsored by Dreamstore UK & Business/Agency Award 2006 – FISHING WALES.

It would be hard not to give a conservation Award to a project which improves habitat and access to habitat on over 350 kilometres of river.  Even harder when that same project which makes available habitat-survey and -restoration courses and Fishery Management evening classes delivering training on offer to over 100 fishery managers, both club and owners. 

In addition to the conservation activities there are also the angling participation activities that have been spawned from this one project.  The growing optimism in sustaining future activity has been underpinned by a sustained cooperation across clubs and fisheries and agencies, and a general attitudinal change to a ‘can do’ approach to making progress.

Fishing Wales has successfully combined improvement to the infrastructure of natural habitats, with the added drive of including local participation and interest , and enhancing the angling experience for the visitor.  It is the sum total of improved environment, a social impact in bringing so many together to volunteer and support,  and the economic benefits that has resulted in Dreamstore Active combining the Conservation and Best Business/Agency Awards for 2006. 

Improvements in conservation, attitudes and tourism on the scale achieved might well alone have justified the spend of £5.2 million, but more so when the increased spend in the region by angling tourists amounts to an increase of over one third in three years, from £67 million to almost £100 million. 

Group Award 2006 sponsored by the Environment Agency – BRECKLAND ANGLING COACHING CLUB

The 2006 Group Award goes to a Club entirely dedicated to coaching and increasing angling participation.  This Club is an exemplary case study in the way in which education through angling can be creatively flexible and always worthwhile.

With the emphasis on education, this group has engaged with schools, adult learning, English as second language groups and has even made angling hi-tech with an ICT project to encourage young people to photograph, transfer and write up their angling experience on laptop computers at the water side. 

The group is sponsored by the GMB Union as well as local tackle outlets and businesses. Most importantly the group is supported by a team of volunteer coaches.  The emergence of groups such as Breckland is becoming more frequent; independent of the angling establishment and with education rather than angling as a focus, a professional interest driving change, which enthuses and inspires volunteers.  This has been very much in evidence through registrations for the Dreamstore Academy.   

Individual Award 2004

How do you pick one individual from the many.  It is often difficult to pick out one individual from a team.  But even in a team it is obvious who is a natural leader. 

Dreamstore has a passion and purpose in encouraging and facilitating new anglers to pick up a rod and give angling a go.  It is a source of constant amazement to Dreamstore that many in the angling trades appear to chase a slice of A cake.  Simple economics tells us that there must be consolidation and rationalisation in such circumstances, with margins squeezed and for every occasional winner there are many more losers.  Such a market squeezes out innovation in the pursuit of market share.  Realistically, the only alternative is to grow the size of the market. This is well recognised in the United States, with many examples of trade led initiatives to encourage first time or returning participation in angling.  Angling in the USA is very often a FAMILY activity.

What underscores Dreamstore’s amazement is the constant stream of research which suggests that there are as many non-anglers wishing for a first opportunity to go fishing as there are anglers who regularly pick up a rod.  Any way you look at the potential angling market, there is an open door and an open opportunity to improve the angling experience, encourage more anglers and to increase business opportunity.  Fishing Wales proves all three are not mutually exclusive.

Our individual Award is being presented to someone who has helped raise the profile of angling and endeavour to increase interest through National Fishing Week.  It is someone who has made angling equipment more accessible by selling to retailers big and small. 

The Dreamstore Active Individual Award 2006 goes to someone with an approach that is open-minded and determined, and refreshingly focused on increasing the sum total of angling participation, purposefully adding more ingredients to make the cake bigger for all.   Simon Henton is Managing Director of LEEDA and (retiring) Chairman of the ATA.

 

 

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