The Voice of Great Britain's Elite Athletes
"Hi Ian, Just wanted to say a huge thank you for today. Really appreciate your help with everything, I would definitely be struggling without the BAC. Here's to exciting things ahead!
Thanks again." Jess Varnish
“…I finally received written notification with three months’ notice of funding ending at the end of December between Christmas and New Year (though I had received no programme funding, coaching or support since the end of October), at which point the British Athlete’s Commission (BAC) helped me to lodge an appeal, with the advice of a pro-bono lawyer.
It was in November 2014 that I first phoned the BAC and it would be worth saying at this point that Ian Braid, CEO of the BAC and copied into this e-mail, was an incredible source of support, help and friendship from the very first phone call, in what was a very lonely time….”
Extract from an email sent by an athlete to Rod Carr, Chair UK Sport
The Sport operates over a 4 year cycle; and having arrived at a new cycle the players were looking to improve the culture around well-being for players and to have some real input into the program moving forwards.
The squad then appointed 2 player representatives, myself and XXX. Although we had bags of passion this task was fairly daunting for us as communication with management had been fairly one way in the past. After contacting the PFF (sic “PPF”) the BAC was recommended to us and Ian and I arranged a Skype call to talk through our situation. I found this really helpful to know the range of services offered by the BAC, and it was a relief to know as an athlete I wasn't alone in these …. issues.
The BAC helped XXX and I establish exactly what we wanted to achieve through the process over the next few months. The concerns ranged from work/training balance, medical cover, scheduling and Athlete agreements.
After meeting with Ian personally, we established some solutions to aim for. Ian helped us to form communication links with the Performance Director which hadn't been there before. He arranged a meeting involving us as reps, the Performance Director, coach and an independent lawyer. Ian acted as a mediator which really helped us to be solution focused.
The whole process has set the tone for communication in future. We now know as athletes we have the confidence to put our hands up to be part of the planning process and add value.
We have an ongoing process from athlete and management to get the best out of the team. I feel that seeking advice from the BAC will also be an ongoing necessity for the team as a whole and for individuals to feel supported where in the past they have not.
Testimonial from two newly appointed Athlete Reps following BAC intervention to avert a significant dispute between an entire Performance squad and their NGB
“….. It appears it's all sorted so thanks again for all your help, it's nice to know such an organisation (BAC) can help out athletes with situations like mine. It really was a horrible and stressful time but I'm glad I went through with it all and it's good to know I was right to challenge an unjust system. Your swift work and negotiation to work towards the settlement was fantastic, after it going on for so long…..”
Extract from an athlete email following BAC intervention to resolve a long term dispute between athlete and NGB
“ ….. Many thanks for the detailed feedback. There’s a lot there to consider, on first look not much that I disagree with so I will start to work that in…."
Extract from an email sent by a Performance Director having recently requested BAC feedback on a selection policy for Rio
“…. I wanted to take this opportunity to pass on my thanks to you and the British Athletes Commission for the excellent support that Ian Braid has given to the athletes in our World Class Short Track Programme.
As a point of reference, Ian and I first met at the hearing over an Olympic Games selection appeal in 2014. Post this event, we discussed how we could work cooperatively for the benefit of the athletes in my sport.
Ian has been an invaluable support for the athletes, during a period of time when I exited the performance director from the association and tried to develop a channel for the athletes’ voices to be heard. Due to instability at board level within my association, this programme is now transferring to the EIS and this is a move I support, as it will provide a business framework in which they can perform. However, I’ve asked the EIS to continue to work closely with the BAC, as myself and the athletes really value Ian’s contribution and support.
Email sent to Karen (our Chair) by Nick Sellwood former CEO of NISA
Dear Karen, Michael and Nigel.
“I hope that you are all well, and that you do not mind me contacting you about the British Athletes Commission to draw attention to the superb work and support that it has provided to British Judo over the last eight months.
Since coming into post, I have worked closely with Ian Braid to ensure that our programmes also focus upon the welfare of the athlete; the collaborative work that we have undertaken is starting to pay off, by adding value to the welfare and subsequent performances of our athletes.
We have recently started an athlete leadership team, and Ian was on hand to advise the elected athletes on how to conduct themselves as a group. We are jointly running a training programme for them on 17th June, which should further increase their capacity.
Over the last 6 months the BAC, through Ian has helped us to deal with three significant athlete issues, ensuring that the athlete is provided with the right level of support, particularly in two cases where mental welfare has been a real and significant issue. In the other case, Ian assisted an athlete through a disciplinary process, (in conjunction with UK Sport, through Matt Rea) to enable us to plot a return to programme strategy rather than ‘discarding them’ from the system. We have also used the BAC services to consult upon our APA policies to ensure that they are athlete friendly.
I am unsure precisely where the BAC sits in its reporting lines, but as key partners I wanted to make you aware of the great work that the organisation and Ian has undertaken to support sport, but particularly British Judo and its Performance athletes. I am certain that without his support and advice, we (the sport and some of its athletes) would not be in the position we are in.”
Email sent by Gary Henderson, Head of Performance Operations , British Judo to Karen, Michael Bourne and Nigel Walker
"The BAC was recommended to me when I was looking for some independent advice on a selection issue. After contacting them and explaining my situation I was able to work with them to plan a route forwards and resolve the matter more effectively than I could have done on my own. I would highly recommend other athletes make use of this service and the expertise available, even just knowing I wasn't the only athlete in that situation was a great help."
Barney Storey MBE, Paralympian
“I have a lot to thank the BAC for. Their work often goes unnoticed. They offered me friendship, advice and action.”
Jenny Meadows, Olympian
"I use Athletes Direct regularly, the online system is easy to use, and while I love going into schools and inspiring the next generation, it has also taught me the art of public speaking".
Zac Purchase Olympian BAC Member.