British Dressage Wales WSA Membership Testimonial
British Dressage Regional Development Officer for Wales, Vanessa Archer, has revealed the benefits of the Welsh Sports Association and why the organisation has remained WSA members over the years.
Speaking to the WSA, Vanessa said:
I can’t really remember how we became a member; I think it was free to begin with, but it was an easy decision to renew when they started charging because we were pleased with what we’d gained from membership already.
Vanessa went on to detail the specific support that her organisation had received from the WSA:
The original help we had from the WSA was when we applied for some funding from Sport Wales to put ten coaches through their British Dressage Coaching Certificate to help teach the sport in Wales. We applied for the funding to help subsidise the cost of training them.
We eventually managed to get half of that funding, but the Welsh Sports Association were crucial in that as they really came in useful when we were filling out the form.
It was a really, really long form and had to undergo an awfully tedious process, but the WSA were really helpful; I even made my way down to Sophia Gardens a couple of times to meet WSA staff and go through the whole form together. We were given advice on how to fill it out and what to include and, thanks to that aid we received, we secured the funding from Sport Wales and we now have more Dressage coaches!
And that’s what made me pay for membership when they introduced a fee.
Since then, the WSA has been really useful during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Matthew Williams has regularly been in touch, basically just deciphering all of the information from Welsh Government which has been great.
Obviously, all the updates come out and you wonder, well, how does that affect us and what we’re doing? But Matt has always come back to us with an answer and cleared up grey areas – he was really helpful with that.
That support throughout the Pandemic has been the benefit we’ve felt most. The opportunity to hear how other National Governing Bodies are dealing with things, to hear their scenarios and to realise that everyone’s experiencing similar troubles – and to therefore come together as a collective – has been massively useful.
Vanessa concluded by explaining what has made the WSA such a useful support for British Dressage Wales:
I always seem to know who to contact with specific questions and queries; whether it’s Matt about policy or Tom Sharp about general offerings. I think it’s the whole personal touch and the fact that staff have always made themselves known to us that makes the WSA so great.
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