Fishing for Schools director and founder Charles Jardine writes:
“This time of year allows us all to reflect, ponder and peer into the future.
“The past six months have probably defined our success more than any other. With a growing schools list, increasing delivery at all levels – be that in areas of adult mental health (yes, we do that, too!), National Curriculum involvement and the all-important increasing amount of young angling participation – we had to evolve.
“Any organisation, large or small, especially charitable ones, has a responsibility to its trustees and the people who assist in the maintenance of that entity. At F4S that is donors, friends, colleagues, coaches: everyone.
“So, Ben Dowdeswell, Catrin Robinson and I set about deciding how Fishing for Schools would deliver into the future. We needed to create a platform that was sustainable and solid, in order to embrace the needs of young people into the future. This has now been done.
“In essence, we have asked schools to apply for places within the Fishing for Schools initiative via a website application process, we could allocate our resource in the best possible way. Schools were asked to outline how they would embrace Fishing for Schools within their educational programme, how the initiative might be used to assist their students and how they would merge mainstream education into what we offered. We also asked them to give us at TCAF an idea of the legacy that we might leave and for those who had worked with us before, what we had acheived so far.
“We thought we would get a handful of applicants; we were inundated.
“Eleven or more years ago when I started Fishing for Schools with the just the one school in Tewkesbury, I had no idea of the reach or importance – nor indeed the lives, both young and old, that this little initiative, would touch. I am humbled.
“However, it is tough writing letters having to decline the very thing that one has worked so hard to bring on board – purely out of lack of funding and our improved fiscal responsibility. That alone will redouble my efforts to seek ways to bring our initiative to more schools in the future, responsibly.
“Which brings me to a huge thank you to all the people who helped me complete the Wessex Water Challenge last year. We raised many thousands of pounds for F4S and your support in urging my running mate Richard Davies and me over the capture of three trout and a small matter of running 50 odd miles in under 13 hours was invaluable. Now, I must top that! There are plans.
“Speaking of fundraising; I would like to thank in the most expansive way possible, Loyd Grossman and Lloyds Flyfishing Society for their huge contribution to our efforts (£7,800!), to Farlows for hosting a Tanner’s Wine sponsored evening in their Pall Mall flagship store, to the Dorset Flyfishers and all the other supporters who have helped us fund F4S in 2018.
“In closing, I would like to thank all the coaches and theTCAF team for their tremendous efforts over the busiest year I can recall. You have made Fishing for Schools the success, it certainly is. Bring 2019 on!”