Colin Hutchison stepped up to the role as our new chief executive at the start of February this year – and now he has written his first column for PB magazine.
A new edition of the magazine has been issued to scottishathletics members over the past week or so and Colin took the chance to spell out some of his thoughts on the work ahead as the sport seeks to come out of Covid-19.
Here’s the CEO column:
‘Firstly, I hope this latest edition of PB finds you, your friends, family and fellow members in good health.
‘Many things have changed since the last edition and it is a great honour to have been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer for scottishathletics during this period.
‘I am extremely grateful for the faith shown in me by the Board to lead the organisation and sport through this particularly challenging time and I look forward to continuing to work with you all in this role.
‘I do not think any of us would have envisaged the last year we have had when we entered the first lockdown on 24 March 2020.
Athletics in Scotland has demonstrated tremendous resilience over the past year to navigate its way through the pandemic and hopefully we are now on the cusp of a position of more stability in our everyday lives and in sport.
‘All credit goes to the clubs, coaches, athletes and volunteers in athletics in Scotland that have worked so hard over the past year, in very trying circumstances, to keep the sport alive.
‘The adaptability and innovation that has been shown has been tremendous with clubs utilising technology and increasing the use of virtual competition to keep athletes engaged.
‘A special mention needs to be made to those that have taken on the unenviable task of becoming a Covid Coordinator for their club.
‘Interpreting, understanding and communicating guidance alongside creating safe environments to train, has been an extremely challenging task and I would like to thank all those that have supported the safe return of the sport.
‘At a national level, scottishathletics is grateful for the support of clubs, athletes, coaches, officials and venues that have been able to help us facilitate a return to training and competitive opportunities where possible.
‘Despite the challenges faced and severely restricted events, clubs, athletes, coaches and officials have been tremendous in renewing their memberships and continuing to support scottishathletics through this period.
‘This support is invaluable in enabling us to continue evolving our support for athletics in Scotland and in helping us to implement a recovery plan for the sport.
‘Inevitably, the pandemic has presented significant challenges with periods of little or no training, few competitive opportunities, and a reduction in membership in some clubs and in scottishathletics.
‘However, the fact that 35% of clubs showed an increase in membership in 2020 is testament to the great work clubs are doing and the solid foundations created.
Photo by Steve Adam
‘The immediate priority for scottishathletics remains coordinating the resumption of all athletics activity in a safe manner across the country.
‘However, it is important that scottishathletics remains focussed on delivering the strategic initiatives set out in our strategy Building a Culture of Success (2018-2026).
‘Progress against the delivery of Building a Culture of Success has been impacted but the objectives set out are still achievable. scottishathletics needs to lead and support the sport to refocus, re-engage with our members and communities, and build back to the levels of engagement and success that athletics in Scotland was experiencing prior to the pandemic.
‘The growth of the sport in Scotland has been incredible over the past decade and scottishathletics, the clubs and all athletes and volunteers can use that experience to make us even stronger in future.
‘If the last year has taught us anything then it is to prepare for the unexpected.
‘Whilst the country is once again in a period of gradual reopening and the roll out of the vaccines is progressing well, the sport needs to remain vigilant and ready to adapt.
It has been uplifting to see training activity return in clubs across the country in recent weeks, and we can all tentatively begin looking forward to the return of more events in 2021 and hopefully an exciting and successful Olympics Games for Scottish athletes in Tokyo.
‘Athletics in Scotland is built on the solid foundations of great clubs and inspirational, committed people. scottishathletics will continue to put clubs and people at the heart of everything the organisation does.
‘Despite the significant disruption caused over the past year the pandemic will present new opportunities to develop and grow our sport and there will be plenty good times ahead.
‘Finally, thank you to you all for your patience over the past year. It has been an incredibly testing time for everyone and your commitment and support for athletics in Scotland is greatly appreciated.
‘I hope to see you all at events through the summer. Until then, stay safe.’