Caithness AAC are the latest scottishathletics club to join our Club Together project as they seek to inspire growth in the sport in their area.
Meghann Ashpool took up the post at the Thurso-based club in late January following the pathway already taken by others around the country.
Their inclusion means there are now no fewer than 26 clubs on the programme and another two – North Ayrshire AAC and Chirnside Chasers – have also had approval and will join the programme imminently.
Indeed, the arrival of Caithness AAC on the Club Together ‘roster’ means the ‘length and breadth of the country’ description we often use in terms of scottishathletics activity really does fit a programme which has Gala Harriers in the south – and now Caithness as the most northerly club on the mainland. Not to forget Shetland AAC even further north and over the sea!
The club has been established since the 1950s and currently has a membership of 80 athletes undertaking track and off-track training and competition.
It is based at Thurso High School and is working hard on the issue of trying to bring new track and field facilities to the area.
Caithness AAC has produced a number of athletes who have represented Scotland at Junior level and Moira Mcbeath, who represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in the 400m hurdles, is the most successful Senior athlete down the years.
Now, Meghann’s appointment in a part-time role to drive development and co-ordinate volunteer involvement could be the spark for more growth.
Gordon McIntosh, club chair at Caithness AAC, said: ‘Over the past three years the club has maintained a healthy membership whilst also continuing to drive forward with building their capacity and developing the best possible club environment for their current, and future, members.
‘The club’s hard-working and dedicated committee and coaches have been seeking, with the support of scottishathletics and local partners, to develop a plan of action for the development of athletics in Caithness.
‘It was this focus on the future development of the club, and athletics in the wider Caithness community, that was the catalyst for the club’s application to be a part of the successful Cub Together programme.
‘Now, with the appointment of a Club Together Officer, we are looking to build capacity by recruiting, supporting and developing coaches and volunteers whilst also strengthening the pathway for athletes to excel.
‘We’re delighted already with the early progress and firmly believe Meghann will work well alongside the club helping us achieve our ambitions for athletics here.’
Meghann has a background in equine sport and recently graduated from UHI with a degree Equine Business Management. An active volunteer herself, she identifies well with the challenges that are faced by clubs and their volunteer network.
Having lived in the county for the last 26 years, she also brings to the post local knowledge and a good understanding of the geographical hurdles that clubs face in accessing opportunities.