Coaches key to increasing participation in Gloucestershire


Active Gloucestershire believe that after the participant or performer, the coach is the most important person in sport.

From the school playground to the Olympic arena it is the coaches that make sport happen and this is why Andy Herbert, Senior Sports Development Manager of Active Gloucestershire, is pleased to announce the launch of the second year of their Coaching Bursary scheme. Quality coaches also play a paramount role in achieving success and enhancing health and quality of life in individuals of all ages, communities and the nation.

Available from 1 May the scheme will support an increase in the number of qualified coaches within the county as well as supporting those wishing to further their current qualification. Run England is the official recreational running project of England Athletics and the Leadership in Running Fitness and Coach in Running Fitness courses are managed by England Athletics. LiRF provides the skills needed to overcome barriers to participation and lead a group of beginner runners and CiRF provides the skills needed to make the first broad step from group leader to coaching endurance runners.

In 2013 Active Gloucestershire’s Coaching Bursary supported 63 coaches from 17 different sports. One sport that benefited from the scheme during this period was Athletics, which saw over 300 new participants join local running groups across the county.

Kerry Newell, England Athletics Running Coordinator for Gloucestershire, was the driving force behind this increase in participation. Through accessing Active Gloucestershire’s Coaching Bursary she was able to qualify local run leaders to set up new running groups in Winchcombeand Brockworth, as well as upskilling to Coach level (CiRF) at Newent Runners. She also delivered a local training day to support those groups that were already established.

Speaking of the increase in running participation in Gloucestershire, Kerry said: "The most important thing is to find the right person to lead the group, as it will be this person’s responsibility to enthuse the runners as well as providing sound advice to help them improve". Kerry added that the Active Gloucestershire Coaching Bursary "has ensured that leaders from new and established running groups are suitably qualified to meet the needs of their participants and this is the main reason why the sport has grown in the county."

Looking forward to the year ahead, Kerry is planning to apply for additional coaching bursaries to setup a new running group in Hatherley (Cheltenham), Highnam (Gloucester), an Athletic Academy in Tewkesbury and a possible additional group at Gloucester Athletics Club for visually impaired runners.

For information on how to apply for a Coaching Bursary from Active Gloucestershire, please contact or should you be interested in joining a local running group please contact or go to

Click here to read more on the activegloucestershire website.               Photos from Kerry Newell

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