A child throws bait into a fishing lake at Get Hooked on Fishing, Ealing

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Anglers urged to support ‘We Fish As One’ community campaign ‘to provide truly inclusive angling experiences’

Today we are launching our ‘We Fish As One’ community outreach campaign with seven key pilot sites being of focus in 2022 to provide ‘truly inclusive fishing experiences for all’, tackling barriers linked to representation and improve the numbers of anglers from all background and reel in new fans.

Capitalising on the recent boom we’ve seen since the pandemic, the We Fish As One campaign will promote the sport’s community building opportunities, mental health benefits and consistently strong safeguarding record. We believe that fishing has a unique and timely offering to build on success while addressing key insights that speak of ongoing barriers to inclusivity.

 Key insights that will drive this campaign

 Following a recent OnePoll survey for the Angling Trust, 1 in 20 (6%) respondents said they didn’t feel represented in the sport based on their gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity or culture.

We also know that currently just 7% of people who fish identify as an ethnically diverse audience. As part of the plans, seven pilot sites across England have been identified to generate community partnerships among key community group, with particular focus given to: Women; parents and carers; ethnically diverse groups; young people; disabled people; LGBT+ communities and those with long-term health conditions. 

The seven flagship pilot sites announced across England with expansion plans for 5-year strategy are:

  • Sefton Park Lake, Liverpool
  • Eden Grange Fishery, County Durham
  • Get Hooked on Fishing, Ealing 
  • Northlands Park Lake, Basildon
  • Corby Boating Lake, Corby
  • Walsall Arboretum, Walsall
  • Bristol Marina, Bristol

 Work undertaken at each of these sites will build on the sport’s ease and accessibility with targeted and specialist coaching, and will focus on building links with local organisations, community groups, charities and social prescribing networks. UK Sport has just recognised angling as having met standards for safeguarding and has highlighted how fishing can be a beacon for other sports looking to engage young and vulnerable audiences.

To coincide with the launch, we are also inviting applications from fishing clubs and groups for the Together Fund, a pot of Sport England money available regionally to support angling initiatives that can demonstrate merit for community building and inclusive activity.

Clive Copeland, Head of Participation at the Angling Trust, said: “We’ve seen the surging popularity of fishing since the pandemic, and we have to acknowledge how far the sport has come, supported by the high-profile work of Mortimer and Whitehouse, who perfectly demonstrate how angling can provide a support structure around everyday life.”

“This new campaign takes a realistic look at the barriers  to picking up a fishing rod that we know still exist for everyone in our neighbourhoods – it includes essential areas of work,  such as representation, inclusivity and building-up grassroots angling infrastructure so everyone knows how to access the sport. We Fish As One is a platform for commitment and support from within our existing community and the amazing stories we’re yet to tell.”

The campaign is dual funded by Sport England and the Environment Agency. 

Phil Smith, Executive Director of Partnerships at Sport England, said: “Tackling inequalities and improving access to different activities is at the heart of Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy.”

Fishing can support stronger and more connected communities by bringing people together and creating bonding experiences. After a challenging couple of years, We Fish As One will offer new opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds to get together, enjoy the great outdoors and learn a new skill –  a great way to boost physical, mental and social health.”

Heidi Stone, Programme Manager, Environment and Business Directorate, Environment Agency, said: “Fishing is a wonderful sport, offering a unique opportunity to spend time outside, exercise, focus your mind, and build relationships with others”.

“We fully support efforts across the angling community to break down barriers to ensure the sport’s wide variety of benefits can be enjoyed by as many people as possible”.

Women’s Carp Team England set for medals in 2022

Building on the success of more women taking up the sport, the Women’s Carp Team England have backed the launch of the campaign as they prepare for the World Championships in September 2022. This gruelling competition will see the women compete in pairs for up to 72-hour stretches and the team has their eye on a gold medal. Formed just five years ago, the team includes Theresa, a grandmother and Chloe, who works in her local fishing tackle shop. 

Rob Hughes, England Carp Team coach, said: “The development of the women’s sport has been a real success story, and it’s no better demonstrated than the development of the England Team. In four years, we’ve gone from a standing start to a fully ratified event, hosting the Women’s World Championship event in England later this year. Women in fishing is now a global force, and it’s brilliant to be at the heart of fishing’s growth in England.”

To find out more about the campaign, download the toolkit and resources, visit www.anglingtrust.net/getfishing/wefishasone

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