We need your help please
Hi. My name is Simon Hill. I'm CEO of UK Ultimate. We set up this blog back in June to create a place where we could share some specific information and stories in a more accessible online format than our main website. There's a longer explanation here.
Ultimate, and everything that happens around it, matters enormously to those of us whose lives are totally entangled with it (current and retired players alike). And we are facing an uncertain future.
We have launched a fundraising campaign, Reset the stall, with the goal of putting UKU finances back to where they were at the start of Jan 2020. We set an initial target of £20k, but to achieve our goal we need to reach £30k.
Ultimate in the UK has been shut down for five months. More serious and important issues have unfolded elsewhere, but still, a lot of hard work by players, coaches, volunteers and our staff has been lost. Ultimate community members everywhere hugely missed spending time with each other on and off the field. We have started making tentative steps back, but there is a long way to go. We originally hoped that perhaps by now we would be playing again and that our university and indoor teams would start-up in Sept/Oct as usual. That isn't going to happen.
Firstly, I will say that I am as sure as I can be that the legal entity UK Ultimate will survive whatever happens next.
On the other hand, I cannot be so confident about our capacity to lead and support a bounce-back. Given the potential for further disruption from COVID-19, we cannot assume that we will be able to return to business-as-usual during 2021. Bluntly, we want to avoid a kind of vicious cycle, where unable to be sure of funds, it becomes necessary to reduce the staff team, reducing our ability to cope with everything that's going on, leading to further lost activity or opportunity, and so on. I hope these pages give you picture of the breadth and depth of activity we're involved with. There is a lot going on. There is a lot to lose.
So what are we planning?
Sadly, we suspect it will be sensible to cut back heavily on the upcoming indoor season. There are many potential pitfalls of trying to run indoor tournaments in the current climate. We are reviewing this now, but we believe an early decision will allow everyone to direct their limited resources more efficiently towards formats that are more likely to work out.
University Leagues. BUCS are planning a big push to provide a competitive programme for University sports clubs after Christmas. Helping to make that a success for Uni Ultimate clubs is tremendously important for us.
Stay local. We aim to focus effort on supporting and encouraging local, outdoor training and play. This situation creates a positive opportunity to restructure some of our competitive structures away from weekend events. We will be trying to devise and secure a flexible outdoor season for 2021.
We will be trialling an online version of our Level 1 coaching award, and then trying to increase the number of workshops we can offer.
We will be working closely with the GB squads. The teams are going to need more help this year; but we also need to be managing the financial risks carefully in case the international events in 2021 are affected by the virus.
We have substantial and important Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work to do.
We've launched our Reset the stall crowdfunding campaign to try to offset the financial impact of losing so much Ultimate in 2020.
Membership. We will be encouraging you to join UK Ultimate for 2020-21 as soon as you can, despite the uncertainty on when and how you might play in 2021. We are adding a rewards/discounts scheme which will offer opportunities to save more than the membership fee from discounts on other purchases.
We will be creating a non-player “Friends & Family” type membership and trying to build the relationship between our sport and the people who once loved it, but can no longer engage as tournament-going players.
We will be trying to build an alternative outdoor competition structure that is meaningful, enjoyable and flexible.
We will be seeking more direct grant support to help us bounce back and transition to a structure that is less reliant on weekend events.
We will continue our work to win the bid to host WFDF WUCC’22.
We will continue to cut back on all costs as much as possible, including reduced staffing costs whilst keeping the team in place.
This blog-site contains lots more information.
The Financial Update page has background information on how UKU is financed, with some details about the impact of shutting down.