SASSOT Updates

Wednesday 20th November 2019

Chair Update


Dear friends, partners and stakeholders of SASSOT,

It is my privilege once again to write to you about all the latest developments in physical activity and sport within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. From a Board perspective, work around moving from hosted to a charitable status is moving along well and I (and the Board) are particularly grateful for the considerable detailed work being put into this by Jane Kracke (Chief Operating Officer).

This is hard and focused work and we need to get it right to ensure the Board and the team work together to establish our long-term future. In order to move things on efficiently, the Board has established an Independence Working Group to beaver away between Board meetings. This is time consuming work and I am very grateful to my Board colleagues Kimiyo Rickett and Professor Pauline Walsh for giving their time voluntarily to make things happen.

This group involves Camilla Denham-White (Programme Manager) as a staff voice in the meetings and I want to publicly thank her for the way she has managed this role in addition to the day job. The only problem at the moment is the expected delay by the Charity Commission in handling our application as they are running about 2 months behind with their management of applications. This is out of our hands and we will just have plan for delay. All Board members have been asked whether they would be happy to become Trustees of the new organisation and we are waiting for their response to this by the end of November.

In the meantime, much activity has taken place. I attended a team away day ably led by Jude Taylor (Director) where she shared her vision for the future and brought us up to date with what is happening nationally and regionally. Jude and myself attended the national Active Partnerships AGM and development days in London. We had the opportunity to feed in ideas to Sport England about their new strategy; a draft of which should be available early next year. Watch this space!

Jude has also been busy working with the team to ensure effective pension discussions and other important management of our current projects. Clearly due to some staff leaving the organisation (Lee Booth our Workforce Manager and David Richards our Communities and Insight Officer), we are under pressure and we cannot advertise and appoint new permanent staff until the new organisation has been set up. However, Jude has managed some back-filling to ease the pressure with the temporary appointment of Marie Jenkins, who brings with her substantial experience of working within physical activity and health with Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

I want to go on record to thank Lee and David for their substantial contribution to SASSOT and wish them well for the future as Lee moves on to a Contracts Manager role within Stafford Borough Council and David takes up a full-time position with his other employer, Sporting Communities. There is no doubt that this a challenging time to lead an organisation through transition and I am sure we will all support Jude during the transition.

In the meantime, if I can be of any assistance to any of you then please don’t hesitate to contact me; I am always happy to listen. As this will be my last newsletter before Christmas, I want to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year (regardless of the outcome Brexit and the election!)

Malcolm Armstrong, Chair of the SASSOT Board