I seem to have found myself in the early stages of setting up a unicycling club in my hometown of Macclesfield (officially the least cultured town in the U.K.). Which is a very cool thing!
It started when I donated a unicycle to one of the kids of my mum’s mates (Lois), who works at a local school(the mum, not the kids. Although the kids attend the school).
A new community sports hall is opening at the school in January which has been funded by the school, the council and the National Lottery. The “sports community development officer”((Vicky)person in charge of filling the sports hall with all sorts of different activities) was talking to Lois and the subject of unicycling came up. Lois and I had been idly bantering about the possibility of setting up a unicycling club, and she mentioned this to Vicky (the sports development person) who is, it turns out, very interested in the prospect of a unicycling club. As part of her remit is to have new and interesting sports go on in the new sports centre. So I’m going in for a meeting with her to see about setting up a club.
I’m really rather excited about all this and am prepared to put in the time and effort to get it up and running…Even so far as to cancel my plans to spend the winter in the alps snowboarding. However I’d like to get a bit of input from people out there who are experienced in starting unicycling clubs…Common mistakes, and ideas for activities etc.
So far my quandaries are…
- FUNDING: where from, and how much? I reckon about £400-£500 would be a good amount to get as that would enable me to get between 6 and 10 learner uni’s for them’s as is without to practise on and perhaps some hockey gear too. The sports hall costs £30 p/hour to rent which is damned good. It’s a brand spanking new, massive, indoor sports hall!!! I think I should have a core of between 10-15 people I can rely on to turn up every week whose subs will cover the cost of the hall.
The second question is where to get funding from. Vicky (the community sports lady…remember her???) is luckily also involved in giving grants to projects being run in the sports hall, so should hopefully be able to get some funding through her. If not my other options as far as I can see are:
A. Local businesses, a possibility…There’s a company based in Macclesfield called Astra Zeneca who fund lots of community projects. However I think the main reason they do so is to ease their troubled conscience as they are a big pharmaceutical/chemical company involved in animal testing and other such lovely stuff so I’d prefer not to go to them for funding despite the fact I could probably easily get some from them. With a bit of leg work I could probably find other businesses willing to attach their good name to the funkiest sport in existence…One to ponder.
B. The National Lottery. As I said earlier the sports hall is part funded by the National Lottery, so it could be quite easy to get some pennies from them. (All I should need to do is show them Universe 2, then show them a picture of the millennium dome and ask them which is more worthy of funding…tee hee).
C. Make an appeal through the local media to all and sundry for money. However I think I could incorporate that, if it’s neccessary by then, to the article I’m hoping the local newspaper will run once the club is near to opening.
ADVERTISING: Where and how have people advertised their unicycling clubs? So far I’m thinking…Local paper, schools around the town, the school the club will happen in (perhaps having a movie evening showing various uni vids to get people interested) Manchester (the university in particular), a big sign stuck to my forehead, riding around on my uni wearing a sandwich board…OK, maybe not the last two…Or then again…hmmm.
BORING (but really quite important) STUFF: Things like Insurance, whether helmets or other padding should be mandatory, would ickle kiddies need permission slips or something??? Britain isn’t quite as litigious as America YET…but I don’t want to end up with an angry parent telling a man in a white wig what a nasty person I am!
4.ACTIVITIES: This incorporates teaching people to ride. Recently I’ve found myself teaching quite a few people to ride. However teaching several people at once would be a different ball game altogether. It would be somewhat dependant on the unicycle to person ratio. My first ideas on the subject are that it would probably be better to have 2 people to a uni so that one can ride while the other supports them and they’d take turns. But if anyone has good games etc to play to get groups of people riding that’d be cool…In fact any kind of teaching tips, info, experience etc would be much appreciated.
Then there’s other games like hockey…But my knowledge here is a bit ropey. I’ve not really played any group unicycle games before so any ideas would again, be appreciated.
5.MISCELLANEOUS:SHould I set a lower age limit…if so, how low? Too many little kids would probably end up being a handful and I don’t want to spend loads of time calming down hyper kiddies who are getting in the way of unicycles.
How long should the sessions run? I reckon an hour and a half is a good amount of time. An hour’s too much, and more than that would probably be too expensive to hire the hall.
Should I make it a pure unicycling club, or incorporate other circus skills? Personally I’d like to keep is purely uni as I’d like to promote the sport in itself, and not bundle it into the circus skills category. However I’d probably end up woth more people coming if it were circus skills too…But then I’d have to find money to buy heaps of juggling equipment too. In fact, sod it…Pure unicycling is the way i think. Although I may allow a bit of hacky sack coz it’s just so damned cool.
That’s pretty much all I can think of now. I’ve only today found out about the various developments that seem to be making this uni club into a reality, so any and all input is very much welcome…Ask me hard questions, make me think about it from lots of angles. Please. Then when I go for this meeting I’ll be able to answer any questions she has, and I’ll be able to make a better case for the setting up of a unicycle club in Macclesfield.
Cheers very muchly,