On the 29th of November the UKPA published their annual report and elections were held for the various executive positions, under the new Executive structure approved at the EGM a month ago. The top job of UKPA Chairman went to Eric Jenkinson, formerly a trustee and vice chairman. He is joined by Quintin Cornforth as Treasurer, Jeff Parr as Secretary and Iain Heaton as Chief Executive Officer. Jeff and Iain have both held executive positions for the last few years, Jeff as Executive Officer and Iain as a Player Representative and Sport Development Officer. Quintin Cornforth is a new face to the Executive but he is presently treasurer of Arden Polocrosse Club and comes from a financial background.
The new Executive consists of these four officers and then five regional executive officers (one for each UKPA region). The Midland region have already held their AGM and elected Simon Paynter as their regional executive officer. The other UKPA regions will shortly follow suit to complete the executive.
So what is in store for this new Executive? Well the UKPA has had a good year, as their annual report makes clear. Membership numbers are up as are the number of clubs and there is a higher level of interest in the sport. They have done a number of high profile demonstrations and managed to get the UK versus South Africa tests shown on Sky Sports. Perhaps their biggest achievement was obtaining £38,000 of funding from the BEF to help grow and develop the sport over the next four years. However, the UKPA were very keen to stress that this funding comes with obligations and targets and failure to meet these targets will result in the money needing to be paid back. The winning of this funding was the result of a great deal of work by outgoing chairman, Dave Brookes, who the UKPA said a fond farewell to at the AGM. The outgoing chairman was presented with a engraved whiskey tumbler and promptly made an honorary member of the UKPA in order to thank him for his 15 years of dedicated service, 10 of them as Chairman.
Anyway, all this good work now means the membership expect the new Executive to keep things going and to keep the sport improving and growing. The new Executive were eager to point out that in order to do this they needed the help of the membership and they needed the regions and clubs to function and work with them. Only by all pulling together does the UKPA feel it can meet the BEF targets for the funding.
The UKPA also pointed out that in order to achieve what they have achieved this year they have had to spend money and that is apparent when the accounts are viewed. They showed a loss for the year of £43, a far cry from the profit of £6,666 they made in 2008, but actually a far smaller loss than many expected before the accounts were made public.
However, closer analysis of the accounts reveals that, although the cash position in the UKPA has weakened considerably in the year, instead the cash has been replaced with other assets, such as fixed assets and debtors. Therefore the UKPA is very keen to cut spending next year and return to profit, which could conflict with their aim to grow and promote the sport within the UK in the run up to the 2011 World Cup.