British Canoeing would like to say huge thank you to the first cohort of athletes who have just completed their tenure as part of the inaugural Athlete Rep Group.
In 2018, the first Athlete Rep Group was launched with the support of the British Athletes Commission and brings together a group of volunteer WCP athletes aiming to represent the voice of athletes across the World Class and Talent Programmes within our Olympic and Paralympic disciplines.
The British Athletes Commission (BAC) is an independent membership association representing the interests of athletes in elite performance sports, who play a pivotal role in training and supporting Athlete Reps in their voluntary roles.
Throughout their term, the Athlete Reps have sought out and delivered the opinions and feedback of our athletes to senior staff including the Performance Leadership Team and the British Canoeing Board. Athlete Reps have also acted as advisors to support the queries or concerns of fellow athletes; this peer-to-peer scheme has provided an alternative route for athletes to be heard when they may be unsure to whom or how their comments should be delivered.
The out-going Reps of 2018-2020 were instrumental in setting up this new forum at British Canoeing, and have raised the profile of the Athlete Rep Group and the athlete voice both within British Canoeing and across the UK High Performance System.
Our Athlete Reps were invited to the UK Sport annual PLx Conference in 2019 to present on the group’s operations which were extremely well received by the attendee Performance Directors, leaders, and Athlete Reps within other sports.
This year they were also invited back to the PLx event in which they benefited from access to various developmental sessions. This year, our Athlete Rep Chair Emilia joined Sprint athlete Noah Dembele to present their innovative work aiming to break down barriers around issues of diversity to the PLx attendees.
The Athlete Reps have carried out their roles alongside their busy training schedules and other commitments, which is a testament to their commitment to ‘give back’ to the sport and to provide invaluable support to the athletes around them.
Emilia McAllister Jepps, Chair of the Athlete Rep Group, said:
“I would like to thank the outgoing Athlete Reps for their commitment and willingness to engage in the inauguration of the ARG at British Canoeing over the past three years.
"The prefatory meetings shaped the way that we approached the roles, and from the outset, it was clear that their passion for paddlesport and empathy for all matters ‘elite athlete’ would provide a valuable link between the athletes and the performance leadership team.
"There have been opportunities for our cohort to develop transferable skills, and I hope that every rep has felt some merit to being a part of the pioneering group.
"I would also like to thank the leadership at British Canoeing for being open-minded and embracing the opportunity to have the Athlete Voice purposefully represented within the performance programmes.
"My thanks must also be expressed to those at UK Sport and The BAC who have contributed to the development of our group, and who will continue to help our future reps.”
Paul Ratcliffe, Performance Director for British Canoeing, said:
“I’m proud of the way our ARG began its journey in our sport and I wanted to pay tribute to the inaugural group for all the work they have done and the role models they have been for all athletes.
“They have built a legacy that I hope will now stand the test of time and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank and well done for all the work, passion and thought they have put into it for all athletes.”
A huge THANK YOU to the Athletes that participated in the Athlete Rep Group 2018-2020:
Emilia McAllister Jepps, Chair (WCP alumni, Sprint)
Rachel Cawthorn, Vice Chair - Sprint (WCP athlete, Sprint)
Jonny Young, Vice Chair - Paracanoe (WCP athlete, Paracanoe)
Kimberley Woods, Vice Chair - Slalom (WCP athlete, Slalom)
Deborah Kerr (WCP athlete, Sprint)
Jess Walker (WCP athlete, Sprint)
Charlotte Henshaw (WCP athlete, Paracanoe)
Mallory Franklin (WCP athlete, Slalom)
Congratulations to the newly elected Athlete Reps for 2020-2020:
Canoe Sprint: Katie Reid, Afton Fitzhenry, Philip Miles
Canoe Slalom: Kimberley Woods, Bradley Forbes-Cryans, Ben Haylett
Paracanoe: Chelsea Dixon, Stewart Clark
For information about the Athlete Rep Group, click here.