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GRASS ROOTS


THE POPULARITY OF ROUNDERS IS INCREASING AND IT’S ALREADY AMONG THE TOP THREE MOST PLAYED TEAM SPORTS – AHEAD OF CRICKET AND RUGBY


whom are women) at least once a week and nearly 70,000 play once a month ac- cording to Sport England’s Active People Survey*. Research by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) also highlights that rounders is played in the majority of UK schools (87 per cent) and is in the top 10 most participated school sports. It ranks in the top three most popular team sports, ahead of netball, cricket, tennis and rugby. The challenge Rounders England, the


National Governing Body (NGB), has faced is the high level of drop off from young people, most significantly after leaving primary school (29 per cent), at the end of Year 9 (11 per cent) and Year 11 (29 per cent). According to


the 2012 Rounders England School Pupil Survey 72 per cent


ROUNDERS ENGLAND R


ounders, with roots dating back to Tudor times, is cur- rently played by around 24,000 adults (around 70 per cent of


of pupils who no longer play rounders said they would like to play if they had been given the opportunity. A focus for Rounders England in recent years has been the need to establish a nationwide infrastructure to provide playing oppor- tunities outside of school. Participation at higher education es-


tablishments is increasing, mainly due to Sport England’s Active Universities initiative where 19 universities received funding to offer rounders and data from the public body shows that 91 per cent of latent demand comes from those un- der 35. Of the 16,300 people who would like to participate in Rounders more often, 78 per cent are not participating regularly, which highlights a significant new market for the sport.


FROM SCHOOL PLAYING FIELDS TO NATIONAL GOVERNING BODY Formerly known as the National Round- ers Association, the NGB has come a long way since it was originally formed by a small group of teachers in 1943 with the aim of standardising the rules. Thanks to £2.2m funding from Sport England, the organisation implemented its Whole Sport Plan 2009-13 and rebranded as


The Return to Rounders campaign aims


to encourage more women and girls to rekindle their love for the sport


Rounders England to project a more pro- fessional and modern organisation. The current board structure reflects


the sports development priorities of its whole sport plan and it has invested in three regional relationship managers. The regional managers are responsible for creating successful partnerships with local organisations to deliver rounders programmes in their area – these could be universities, volunteers, local authori- ties, county sports partnerships, leisure facilities or young people’s groups. These programmes are then linked to the club network and leagues to encourage sus- tainable play.


ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMMES Alison Howard, CEO of Rounders Eng- land, explains: “Rounders appeals to a broad spectrum of people, including beginners and those returning to the game, thanks to the sociable aspects and the informality the game offers. We


“We’re working hard to create more opportunities for women to play and I hope that if they try our sport they’ll enjoy it”


Alison Howard, CEO of Rounders England 34 Read Sports Management online sportsmanagement.co.uk/digital Issue 1 2013 © cybertrek 2013


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