Our final report on summer activities comes from Angling Unlimited in the West Midlands. Angling Unlimited has one of the largest and most successful angling engagement programmes in the UK, in fact a wide range of programmes for a variety of user groups. Manager, Andrew Walker outlines Angling Unlimited‘s work in this video captured at Dreamstore‘s Big Fish Festival back in May:
Programmes over the summer acted for young and old, coarse and fly fishing, starting with a very successful series of seven fly fishing sessions for young people funded by 02, with the final session carried out on Draycote Water, near Rugby.
Angling Unlimited organised two events with the Naseby Youth Centre, which is in Alum Rock, an inner City Ward of Birmingham, as part of AU’s on-going work of getting more young people form BME communities into angling. First there was a day’s coarse angling session for twenty eight young Asians, most of whom had never been fishing before. Additionally there was a fly fishing & fly-tying day we provided for twelve young people from the Centre at the Lenches Lakes, kindly funded by the CLA Trust and supported by Turrells. The Lenches event was filmed by Midlands Today and broadcasted that evening.
This has brought some excellent PR for Angling Unlimited, the Worcester Fly Dressers Association which supports AU in all its fly fishing activity, and of course for the CLA Trust and for the Lenches Lakes. The two events were so successful Angling Unlimited is working with the Leaders of the Naseby Youth Centre towards establishing an angling Club at the centre.
There were also two angling sessions for thirty-five young people from the Children’s Action Team Support (C.A.T.S), Balsall Heath, a voluntary project supporting families with children who have special needs / disabilities. The young people thoroughly enjoyed their time fishing and Angling Unlimited will be providing more sessions for them during the year.
In addition to the formal programmes, sessions were also organised to be open to all-comers.
To encourage new members for Angling Unlimited‘s Junior Angling Clubs, there were seven ‘Have a go at Fishing’ days at Rowheath Pool & Alvechurch Fisheries for young people and families who have never been fishing before. And along with LEEDA, Angling Unlimited hosted an Open Day at Alvechurch Fisheries, where three families that attended are now keen for their children to join Angling Unlimited Junior Fishing clubs.
Of course angling is for all ages and abilities, and Angling Unlimited has been delighted this summer to be working with Shenley Green Seniors Club. A day was organised for nine seniors, mostly women, at Alvechurch Fisheries. The seniors enjoyed the day so much that plans are being made to have another day out, and perhaps other similar groups joining in.
More generally, for a number of years Angling Unlimited has had an ad hoc programme, Totally Hooked, which organises sessions especially for adults /seniors with a range of disabilities, such as those living with the effects of having a stroke or dementia. Over the summer eight sessions were organised with an open invitation to locals to come along and enjoy some fishing, mostly at Rowheath Pool.
Andy and the Angling Unlimited team have a great summer of activity, and are looking forward to next year. Meantime, back to schools’ activities. Of which more later.