The National Forum was established some years ago by England Squash to be a representative body of the Regional Forums (see below) to work with ES to provide a bridge to the grass roots with a particular focus on ‘national issues’. However, its role in practice was restricted from the outset, and there has been a lack of clarity about its purpose, especially in relation to the emerging County Associations Network. Its members, being representatives drawn from the Regional Forums, themselves composed of representatives of the County Associations in their region, have found difficulty in providing the required commitment for the NF to operate effectively. In some cases, ‘rotating’ representatives for both the NF and the RFs has provided a possible answer, but this then raises questions of continuity.
However, alongside the recognition of CAN as a representative body for the County Associations, a clearer role for the National Forum has emerged, as being the body through which specific action plans agreed by the County Associations can be disseminated and co-ordinated through the Regional Forums, one example being work done regarding the Interactive Project. The position of the NF is shown in a diagram produced by a Working Party chaired by a member of the Board and which included several people from County Associations with different perspectives. This diagram can be seen here.
As well as taking on board and disseminating plans for specific developmental activities, the National Forum may provide support for the weaker Regional Forums and County Associations, encourage Regional Forums to draw up Development plans for joint activity in their region, share good practice, and monitor and evaluate the outcomes of its various programmes. Currently, however, it lacks a Co-ordinator/Leader. The Chair is elected from among its members.
The Regional Forums date back to the time when England Squash employed eight Regional Officers with an office base and administrative support in each of the designated regions. Some were more active than others in bringing together representatives of the County Associations in the region for regular meetings and, with their demise, responsibility for maintaining the RFs fell to their members. Consequently, some are more active than others, not helped by the fact that the better resourced CAs are not spread evenly throughout the country, and that the level of activity depends on the extent to which volunteers running their County Associations are able to give time to representing them on their Regional Forum, and one of their number from each RF being prepared to give further time to representing it on the National Forum. However, they have been allocated developmental funds by England Squash to disseminate to the County Associations in their areas and monitor their use.
The membership of the National Forum will be added here when available, and the details of the Regional Forums can be accessed from the menu above.