Post Conference Thoughts

Following another successful and inspiring SAPCA Conference last month, I want to offer my thanks to everyone who helped organise the event – including our generous sponsors Halliday Lighting and Replay Maintenance. It was great to see Sport England and so many NGBs represented too, a sign that there is strong support for our work in the wider industry.

We received a lot of positive feedback for this year’s event and I think having a new venue really helped. St George’s Park served our needs well and the opportunity to take a guided tour offered a great chance to see the amazing facilities – some of which SAPCA members were involved in creating.

The venue worked so well that we are planning to go back next year. So please mark the date of the next conference in your diaries – it will take place at St George’s Park on 24 February 2020.

Feedback – crucial for a better SAPCA

SAPCA is a membership organisation and one of my – and the board’s – jobs is to ensure the membership works for all. The conference is always a great opportunity to meet members and receive feedback on all matters. Personally, I find it very useful to hear ideas and suggestions for improving what we do – and for finding out what works and what might not.

Members have a crucial role in helping us develop our operations and the board and I are keen to engage with as many members as possible. While the conference offers a great platform for the sharing of views and opinions, it is only a single day and it is difficult to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to be heard. Therefore, we are looking into ways to extend the platform for sharing ideas to cover the entire year.

While adding further dates to SAPCA’s diary of events to allow more regular contact might work, in these times everyone is so busy that it might be time to explore alternative ways to encourage engagement. Could there be ways in which we could utilise technology – such as webinars, for example – to enable the regular sharing of views, without a need to find space in busy diaries for entire days “out of the office”?

Awards – the next step?

The annual SAPCA Award was handed out for the fourth time at the Conference. Congratulations again to David Morley Architects, which were worthy winners for their work on the University of Warwick Sports Hub.

In all, we had 17 finalists for the 2018 SAPCA Award and I must say that they provided an excellent showcase for the quality and width of projects, products and services our members are involved in. As an association, we should be very proud of their achievements.

There has been a lot of positive feedback for the awards, which suggests that it is time to take them to the next level. The number of entries has grown to the point that I believe we should now consider expanding the awards to include a range of categories, which would allow more than one winner.

Having one category has, in my view, worked really well, but it might be time to consider building on the growing interest in the awards and establish categories in order to further highlight the different parts of the sector. It should also encourage even more members to submit entries and get involved. This would be a great development, as it would also show the rest of the sports and play sector just how deep and diverse the expertise within the SAPCA membership is.

So please continue to give us your feedback on any area of SAPCA’s work. The easiest way to get in touch is by emailing Andy Read.

About Andy Reed

SAPCA Chairman until the end of 2020.