29 Jan 2024
We had the opportunity to hear from Falkirk Company of Archer's Moira Taylor who coaches, shoots and is part of the club's committee. She gives an insight into where it all started for the club and the journey to the present day:
1. Please can you give us a brief background on the club?
‘‘Falkirk Company of Archers - based in the East of Scotland exactly half way between Glasgow and Edinburgh. We have 40 + members and are fortunate to have 4 Licenced Coaches and 2 experienced archer/volunteers who help to coach.
We are a fully inclusive club and have several members who have a disability and we cater for all age groups from 12 years upwards - a large number of our members fall into the 'mature' age range! Our club caters for recreational archers and also those who wish to enjoy competition.
The majority of our members shoot recurve however we also have longbows, horse bows and barebow archers but no compounds at present.
The club was established in 1971 although we believe that archery may have been practised in Falkirk in the early 1930's. We have a founder member of the club who is still a shooting member today and another who started in 1972.’’
2. Where did the idea of the club originally come about?
‘‘We understand that the club was started by an interested party of local people from our community. They knew nothing about archery and were learning from books as they went along - fortunately some 50+ years later we know a lot more about archery technique.’’
3. What is your club's overall aim and objectives?
‘‘Our Club's overall aim and objectives are:
• To offer coaching and competitive opportunities in Archery.
• To promote the club and Archery within our local community.
• To ensure a duty of care to all members of the club and to provide all our services in a way that is fair to everyone.
• To provide a safe environment to children and vulnerable groups wishing to participate in Archery.
• To uphold the rules of Archery’s Governing Bodies.
• To promote and maintain the highest standards of technical competence and safety in archery.’’
4. Can you talk us through your club development journey?
‘‘It wasn't until 5 years after the club started that members started to enter Scottish Archery competitions but very quickly club members started to achieve success and enter more competitions. Our first Club Coach qualified in 1976 and we are fortunate today to have 4 qualified Coaches and two experienced archer volunteers who help with coaching. The development of our club members is very important to us so that they can achieve success and enjoy the sport at whatever level they are comfortable with. Many of our current and former club members have shot at Scottish, Commonwealth and British Team level and one of our members was the British Team Manager from 1992-96 and was Team Manager at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
In the 1980's and 90's, at the start of the outdoor season we ran open competitions (sometimes in the snow!) which were well attended by archers from all over Scotland. Due to the early start in the season our competitions enabled archers to gain qualification scores for up coming Scottish Team events.
In 2013 our club was voted Sports Club of the Year by Falkirk Sports Council and in 2014 we were awarded a National Partnership Award by Archery GB. When Archery GB first introduced the BOOST scheme our club was awarded funding to introduce this and today we still incorporate these coaching methods within our club.
In 2016 our club was awarded Community, Young People and Performance Club Specialisms Status by Archery GB as part of the On Target scheme – the 1st club in Scotland to be awarded all 3 specialisms. We continue to hold the Community Specialism.
Over the years many of our members have been involved in the running of Scottish Archery taking on Admin and Coaching roles and Board positions as we feel it is important to help our sport progress and develop.
Approximately 12 years ago we entered into a partnership with MRM Archery who run Beginners courses and on successful completion they signpost the archers to our club. This gives us a steady influx of new members throughout the year which enables the club coaches to better manage our resources.
Post Covid we have re-established the running of open competitions which enables archers of all levels to be introduced to the fun and challenge of competition. This of course is only possible through the volunteering which our club members offer. We hope to go on to bigger and better things in the future.’’
5. Have you worked with any particular people/partners?
‘‘We rent our outdoor premises from a local cricket club and work in partnership with them to introduce soft archery to the local community. Over the winter we run specific events in partnership with the cricket club for a local Alzheimer Scotland group and their Carers.
We have also worked in partnership with MRM Archery to run Come & Try events, with Active Schools to introduce soft archery to local school groups and our local Sensory Centre offering soft archery to those with a sensory impairment - the oldest client there was 99years and 4 months old!
One of our members fundraises for our local hospice by making leather goods and bow slings.’’
6. What do you think makes the club unique?
‘‘We are a well-established club and focus on the needs of our club members. To access coaching in a club is always a challenge for members as Coaches also want to shoot. So in Falkirk we operate a weekly Coaching rota which provides dedicated coaching for all our members - this is only possible through the dedication of our Coaches on the rota.’’
7. Do you have any projects you are working on as a club?
‘‘We don't have any specific projects at the moment however we are constantly trying to increase our membership and grow the club. As we hold the On Target Community Status specialism we are looking to increase our presence in our community and introduce archery by offering more soft archery activities to community groups.’’
8. Are there any particular challenges the club face?
‘‘We are always looking for innovative ways to engage a wide selection of our local community in archery which can be a challenge for our volunteers and Coaches. We currently have a small junior section in the club and we would like to increase the number of juniors taking up archery.’’
9. What future goals do you have as a club?
‘‘We would like to:
- continue to increase our membership by offering them the opportunity for good mental health through sporting activities.
- continue to develop our members and encourage them to take part in competitions.
- continue to increase the exposure of archery throughout our community.
- succession plan to ensure we have the necessary resources to continue well into the future’’
''As a club affiliated to Scottish Archery and Archery GB we very much appreciate the support we receive from our National Governing bodies to help our club grow.''
Thank you Moira for piecing this article together and look forward to seeing the club continue to grow and develop in the future!