I confess, that never, not in a million years or words, thought I would write the subheading above.
Fishing for Schools (F4S) has always been about actively getting out and taking angling and our own brand of education to young people: regardless. I am pleased to say, we are still doing so.
With so many curtailments on our social and working lives being continually impacted upon, it is wonderful and a real boost and tonic, to know that we continue.
Of course, it is tough - trying to deal with all the layers of necessary extra officialdom and safety was never going to be easy - and neither is it now. But if you believe in what you do these are just small hurdles, and a necessary part of what one needs to do to continue our vital operation; not purely from an educational standpoint but also the vital aspect: wellbeing. Fishing mends and flows one time to recalibrate like few other pastimes. The young need this, too.
It would be wrong to suggest our initiative continues as before. It hasn't; it has been essential to adapt. But, as ever, F4S is finding new and innovative ways to maintain our acclaimed angling programmes.
We continue to develop our “online” teaching capacity. One that reaches through the computer and brings fishing and our unique links with education, into the classroom.
We continue to develop our own “stand-alone” bone fide F4S qualification which links to the national curriculum
We are well on the way to finalise our introduction to the sport of angling through a simplified entry stepped qualification.
We have extended our reach of the programme to encompass more; aquatic life, the geography of the surrounding lakes rivers and ponds - and their collective conservation.
We have an exciting programme being created within the Angling industry which, we hope, will allow for a greater participation, for not just young people, but the entire family.
And if that were not enough…
We continue with our core business of delivering in the great British countryside to small groups of young people - under the strictest national guidelines, of course. But to be able to function, bring young people precisely what many crave: fresh air, companionship and fun, a challenge… catching the odd fish and importantly, a wee bit of education, is as thrilling for us, as it is for our students.
Of course, we are not as fully operational as we would like, but we are a lot more active than we ever dare dream of back in April and May.
Primarily, this is down to some key elements.
A coaching team which remains as committed now, as ever before. Not only have the Fishing for Schools coaches shown resilience; but brought to the fore, innovative ideas which we have unhesitatingly put in place. We truly have the best team in the business.
A dedicated team of management who have steered a course through a fast changing, awkward, landscape, bringing social media expertise and a new website to fruition to better tell people what we are up to and bring the classroom nearer to us.
You! Without the support and huge generosity of the many hundreds of you that have supported Charles Jardine’s Marathon effort, (we raised over 6K and might yet make 7!) and purchasing the F4S Christmas card (see below) and in so many other ways you have allowed us to, in our own way, beat the pandemic “curse” and stride every onwards - as we must.
Also, the magnificent support of charitable trusts and organisations who see the massive worth and usefulness that we bring into young people lives. The donations we have received recently, are humbling. Thank you.
In a very odd way, we are rather looking forward to 2021. Whatever is thrown at Fishing for Schools we will face it - unbowed.
Director and Founder of Fishing for Schools