Building a Volleyball Participation Legacy in SW London & North East Surrey.
Before and after the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics there was a lot of talk about legacy, particularly in terms of getting more people to participate in sport and building fit for purpose sporting facilities.
RVB & South London Volleyball League are recognized as of one of the leading local champions for driving and increasing indoor volleyball participation across SW London & North East Surrey in primary and secondary schools, further and higher education, community, club and talent.
Chairman David Rijvers believes there are still 4 key areas that need to be created in order to continue to grow participation in 2014 for the sport:
1. Create more opportunities for competition at a local level – beach and indoor
2. Further develop Primary & Secondary Schools and Schools competition
3. Build stronger community partnerships and relationships with other local sport clubs
4. Make community volleyball sustainable through the design of fit for purpose sporting facilities and also realistically affordable for community clubs.
In 2013 RVB delivered over 60 hours a week of community indoor volleyball (Sept to May) and 16 hours a week of beach volleyball (May to September), across 11 different venues for over 350 club members.
We are acknowledged as having an excellent schools & community volleyball programme and have been recognized for our pursuit of junior excellence establishing ourselves as one of the prominent junior boys & girls clubs in London & Surrey. The RVB Junior Centre of Excellence for boys & girls is currently ranked in the top seven in the country. This demonstrated our ethos of “priority to juniors” and which we have maintained from the outset, developing mass community participation and leagues in the quest to recruit motivated and outstanding young local individuals that can be nurtured into 1st team players.
We ran a successful Beach Volleyball programme at Barn Elms (Wandsworth) running a series of junior training and tournaments and the South London Beach League, giving the community an opportunity to enjoy this Olympic sport. We also entered the CEV British Beach Volleyball Championships, giving the u11’s , u12’s and u14, u16 and u18 and achieved two silver and three bronze medals. Due to the success in this programme we have managed to secure a new beach volleyball facility with 3 courts at Teddington School (Richmond) to be opened Easter 2014 which will give players more opportunities to participate in this great sport.
We increased the number of teams taking part in the South London Indoor Volleyball League held at Richmond College, Twickenham to 40 teams. We also introduced several junior players into the Men’s and Women’s National League teams to try and help their progress. Our u18 Men’s achieved 7th position in the National Junior Championships and for the 1st time in RVB history our u15’s Boys team achieved bronze.
This success is without due to the much hard work put into primary and secondary school grassroots, to ensure local sustainability and long term development of our sport. We delivered coaching across Kingston, Richmond, Hounslow and North East Surrey boroughs and ran the schools borough finals for various age groups, supported with a series of weekly 4v4 school tournaments and RVB JuVo for School Finals (June). This was all linked with u15 London School Games and u18 London Youth Games.
To further our development agenda probably one of our biggest challenges is facility design and community access and usage. Sport halls in SW London & North East Surrey are mainly managed by schools or by local authorities and they either are full, too expensive or not fit for purpose for volleyball. We invested a huge amount of time (over 4 years) and money to help Waldegrave School, Twickenham, build a new sport hall according to the Sport England (SE) guidelines for a modern and fit for purpose indoor sports hall, however the unfortunate decision was made to continue with building an obsolete indoor sports hall. This is an example of the type of challenges we face when trying to establish the sport within the community and secure suitable facilities. However, we have continue to develop our relationships with councils, schools and community partners to create new opportunities for facility development in order to give the sport a future in South West London and North East Surrey.
RVB continues to take many small steps to make a real difference to provide a long term future for volleyball participation creating a much needed volleyball legacy in SW London & Surrey. We have accomplished a lot in 2013 and it is a pleasure to bring to a close a successful year for the club.
We have many high quality people involved in the club and its clear many people want to see the club progress and want to help. Thank you to all the volunteers who give their time so others can benefit. We’re always looking for more volunteers to get involved – please come and talk to our club executives and or club committee.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warmest wishes to you all and to extend my thanks to Volleyball England and Sport England for their efforts in helping to advance the game of volleyball in England. I know that 2014 will be an excellent one and that we will achieve bigger and better things as we continue to work closely together.