COARSE angling’s governing body, the National Federation of Anglers, has teamed up with the Environment Agency in a unique initiative which will give many thousands of young people the chance to try angling for the first time. NFA officials have already contacted over three thousand National Association of Clubs for Young People, issuing an open invitation to their members to give angling a try, and offering the services of the nearest NFA qualified coach. The NFYP has a membership of over 3400,000.

In announcing the groundbreaking move, the NFA also revealed that they plan to open up eight ‘satellite centres of coaching excellence’, where young anglers can work towards a newly introduced Kingfisher Award.

These will be manned by qualified instructors and the NFA now also has a number of senior ‘coaches of coaches’ as they drive to make angling coaching more professional and seek to make sure it complies with new legislation in relation to child protection and duty of care.

The moves are fundamental to a newly agreed four year commitment the NFA is making to get more kids off the streets and into fishing, in particular from inner city areas.
In return, the NFA will continue to receive grants from the lottery funded Sport England organisation, to the tune of an estimated £40,000 a year.

The strategy was announced last week at an historic meeting with Richard Caborn, the Minister for Sport and his advisor on angling, Martin Salter. It was the first time in the NFA’s 99-year history that a Minister of State had visited the NFA’s headquarters.

At the meeting Minister Caborn said that while there was no chance of getting angling on the National Schools Curriculum, he saw the sport as a vital part of the government’s strategy to get all six to 16 year olds partaking in at least two hours of ‘quality outdoor activity’ a week.
This would be achieved, he said, through regional Sports Colleges of which angling should be a key part, and he urged the NFA to tie in with the 3000 sports co-ordinators the government will be appointing nationwide.

Commenting, NFA president Ken Ball said: “To see the Sports Minister taking angling so seriously and recognising how much we can help the government achieve its own objectives is just fantastic and makes all the hard work we’ve put in worthwhile. This is undoubtedly a time of historic change for both the sport of angling and for the NFA.”