Redcar Judo regains their Clubmark revalidation award

Redcar Judo Club almost closed last Christmas due to a lack of volunteers but this spurred founder Alan Cawthorne to come out of retirement to help boost the club back to its former status – and it looks forward to a merry Christmas this year.

In February 2011 Alan retired from judo, having completed 27 years with the club. One of the main reasons for retirement was that he went for a hip replacement.

When he handed over the mantle to the wider team the club was in a healthy state and had silver club mark status.

But then last December, the club approached Alan to say that the remaining volunteers could no longer maintain the club and they planned to close it on 31 December 2012.

This led to Alan returning to the club in January 2013 as Acting Club Manager, combining Table Tennis with Judo on the same night to develop a multi-sports club.

The first thing he set about doing was re-instating Clubmark.

As the club’s Clubmark status had very nearly lapsed, Alan took the lead on renewing and updating the folder to ensure everything was up to date.

This led to them being awarded with their Clubmark status again.

The process also gave Alan a chance to write an updated development plan and update all coach, first aid and child protection qualifications.

Now the club has the perfect environment for its existing and potential new, junior members.

Alan started Redcar Judo Club in 1984 at the Redcar Leisure centre. He has been the driving force throughout with the support of a very dedicated team of coaches and volunteers.

Redcar was originally the first Northern Area club to achieve a Clubmark and it proudly held the award for a number of years until Sport England suggested it was upgraded to silver.

“I had experienced the benefits of Clubmark through the application for grants and from parents who told me that Clubmark had attracted them to join in the knowledge that it was child safe,” said Alan.

“It seemed the right thing to do to get the award back and so we set about making sure everybody’s First Aid, Safeguarding and Coaches Awards were up-to-date and a Welfare Officer in place.

“Soon after Clubmark was re-instated.

“We understand that shortly there will only be a Clubmark award an no longer have bronze, silver or gold status. I welcome that change as I work with a lot of NGB’s as co-ordinator for Premier League 4 Sport and most NGB’s only have one level of award.

“My consultant has forbidden me to coach or get involved on the mat, but some months ago I just had to try it one more time, but quickly heeded to the consultant’s judgment, as the fear of putting a hip out of place out weighed the memories of participation and I no longer venture onto the mat – or put them away.

“With the changes we lost the senior class but we aim to get that back in the new year and also start developing young people into ambassador roles again with passion.”

The club was crowned Club of the year 2008/2009.

The following year Alan was awarded volunteer of the year at gold level at the British Judo Awards.

The year after Tracy Woods, one of the senior coaches, was awarded volunteer of the year at silver level.

Words by Donna Richardson.