Foreword from our Chairman, Phil Austin MBE
It is with great pleasure that I present to you Jersey Sport’s Annual Report for 2020, which highlights some of our key achievements during a year which brought forth unexpected and unprecedented challenges.
Jersey Sport is an independent body and charitable organisation which is honoured to represent and champion sport and active living in the island. As we enter our fourth year of service, we are both proud of the work our teams have achieved to date, and excited for the future as increased funding will enable us to create an even greater impact on island life.
Jersey Sport’s CEO, Catriona McAllister, continues to work closely with the Government of Jersey to drive forward sports facilities plans which will support Jersey in becoming a world leader in sport and active living over the next 10 years and beyond.
Despite the appearance of a global pandemic which shut down sport, indoor activities and events for the majority of 2020, we are delighted that as an organisation, our teams reacted with agility, innovation and creativity. We worked closely with the Government of Jersey Public Health team to regularly update sports clubs and associations with the latest COVID-19 health and safety guidance to support them through challenging times. Members of staff were seconded to posts within the Government of Jersey, while others worked tirelessly behind the scenes to offer physical activity sessions in schools to the children of our frontline workers.
The work of our Move More Jersey team was integral in providing services, support, information and inspiration throughout the pandemic. We adapted quickly, bringing our exercise referral classes into the online space via Zoom video technology, and created a wealth of video resources on a new YouTube channel. The team personally telephoned many of our elderly class participants and walkers regularly, which reinforced our position as a community-focused organisation, whilst ensuring those at risk of loneliness and isolation were given a friendly lifeline. We created a new series of motivational ‘real stories’ sharing the journeys of islanders who have seen huge shifts in their life after incorporating new activities and exercise into their lives. We also launched Sporteering, a new self-guided outdoor activity which uses GPS technology via a free app to encourage people to walk, run or cycle around new areas – with an optional competitive element.
Cycling played a huge role in the community during 2020 as islanders began working remotely from home, freeing up extra time and daylight hours to spend cycling with family or friends as social distancing guidelines allowed. Jersey Sport is very proud of its cycle team’s efforts to successfully run the Level 1 Bikeability programme within six of the island’s primary schools to children in years 5 and 6, with 256 children completing the certification. 18 children from St Mary’s School then went on to complete the Level 2 certification and are now cycling to school. In addition, we were able to launch a new Learn to Ride initiative to equip more children and adults with the skills and confidence needed to ride a bike. These programmes not only support the Government’s long-term Active Island Transport Strategy, but are potentially life-changing for those who take part, giving islanders of all ages a newfound freedom and the ability to swap their cars for a greener method of transport in the future.
On 2 September, Jersey Sport launched the new Inspiring an Active Jersey Strategy, with the Government of Jersey, and set out how the strategy will be delivered through collaboration between Government departments, the island’s volunteer and community sectors, and business. The strategy sets the vision of making Jersey a healthier, more productive and fairer society by being one of the most physically active populations in the world. The mission is to increase physical activity by 10%, by 2030. This is the first time that sport and active living have been referenced as a priority in a Government plan and represents a major step forward in Government’s understanding of the role it can play as an enabler to achieving the strategic ambitions for Jersey.
As the island opened up to small events and gatherings in the autumn, we were delighted to be able to launch the island’s first inclusive cycling centre in October. Cycle Without Limits offers a range of adapted cycles that allow adults and children with disabilities or mobility issues to enjoy riding in a safe, outdoor space. Disability and inclusion provisions have always been a priority for Jersey Sport, but with the appointment of a new Disability and inclusion Officer, we are now set to substantially increase our programmes for all islanders over the coming years.
We also launched a new School to Sport pilot scheme in the autumn, to help combat inactivity amongst the island’s school children and introduce more children to sport, as part of the Inspiring an Active Jersey Strategy. The pilot scheme, in partnership with the Commonwealth Games Association of Jersey and Plat Douet School, was created to introduce primary school children to sports clubs within their local vicinity to encourage them to play more sport and to join a local sports club. Besides raising awareness of the different sports available to play in the island, the pilot scheme, funded through the national Games Changers Grant secured by Jersey Sport and the Commonwealth Games Association of Jersey, helps to break down the barriers to playing sport some of our local children face.
Throughout 2020, our Marketing and Communications team inspired, motivated and supported islanders through these difficult times with various initiatives and marketing campaigns, including Pride in Sport, Winning This Winter, a collaboration with Digital Jersey and Soulgenic, multiple website resources and regular social media activity – all of which have raised the profile of Jersey Sport and brought significant increases to online traffic and engagement across our digital channels.
The organisation played an active role in promoting and taking part in various island events (albeit virtually in many cases) throughout the year, including the 2.6 Challenge, 30 Bays in 30 Days, At Home Superheroes Winter Wonderwheels, HSBC Let’s Ride pop-ups at Les Quennevais, the Closer to Home roadshow (in association with the Government of Jersey) as well as the expansion of our HSBC Breeze Jersey cycle group and the launch of HSBC Guided Rides.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff and board members of Jersey Sport whose efforts continue to help us achieve growth and recognition through their commitment and dedication. I would also like to thank all our sponsors and funders, including the Government of Jersey, who have provided so much support throughout 2020. The statistics included in this annual report are testament to the incredible work of our teams, even in the face of extraordinary new challenges, and we look forward to continued success, development and growth in 2021.