UK Ultimate is the National Governing Body for Ultimate.
Ultimate in the UK has been shut down for five months. More serious and important issues have unfolded elsewhere, but still, the year has taken its toll on our sport and our organisation.
If everything was running normally, we would have a challenging year ahead, but our losses would be manageable. Realistically, 2021 is not going to be normal, and the board has decided it is time to ask for your help.
Our goal is to try to undo the financial impact of Covid in 2020 and give ourselves a chance to manage the uncertainties ahead, whilst attempting to turn the disruption into positive change for the longer-term. We are currently forecasting a loss of approx £30k in 2020. We've set an initial crowdfunding target of £20k, which we hope to beat!
We've put more information in the blog, but here's the situation.
Without events, UK Ultimate has almost no income.
Since 2008, we’ve grown UK Ultimate using event revenue because
- The organisation had developed a strong competition structure.
- Event delivery was, until now, something we could control entirely within the ultimate community (as opposed to e.g. trying to win grant awards).
- Event revenue directly links the money people pay into the sport to the times when they participate.
We have been aware for some time that we are financially very dependent on events, especially given that event participation so directly affects UKU membership. We expected we would be able to adjust the balance gradually, building up income streams from grants, donations and sponsorship over many years.
From a playing perspective, we see the immediate priorities as follows:
- Cut back on the upcoming indoor season to minimise losses and give teams early clarity about what to expect.
- Support university clubs and BUCS with a very unusual season.
- Focus effort on supporting and encouraging local, outdoor training and play.
- Move our Level 1 coaching award online.
- Work closely with the GB squads to help manage the uncertainty around international events in 2021.
- Keep attention on the important Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work that needs to be done.
Financially, we expect to focus on the areas below:
- Support this crowdfunding campaign to try to offset the financial impact of losing so much Ultimate in 2020.
- Encourage players to re-join UK Ultimate for 2020-21 as soon as they can, despite the uncertainties.
- Build up contact with ex-players who mostly stopped when they could no longer engage as tournament-going players.
- Try to build an alternative, flexible outdoor competition structure.
- Seek direct grant support.
- Continue our work to win the bid to host WFDF 2022 World Ultimate Club Championships.
- Continue to cut back on costs as much as possible without losing staff.
As Adriana Withers from our partner VC Ultimate put it so well: Ultimate is not cancelled. Ultimate in the UK won't stop if it becomes necessary for UKU to make big cuts in staff costs, but the breadth and depth of activity will take a serious hit. For a while at least, we will be stalled out.
Spirit circle / huddle for warmth at 2018 Uni Mixed Outdoor Nationals
UK Ultimate’s work spans many different areas, including:
- University Ultimate
- Coach Education
- Ultimate in Schools
- National Teams
- Governance, Recognition and Legitimacy
- UK Ultimate Competitions and Events
- Volunteers and staff
A little more information about all of these things is provided below, with more detail on the blog.
- University Ultimate remains at the heart of our sport with 70+ institutions, 300+ indoor and 150+ outdoor teams playing in UKU and BUCS competitions every year. We have worked closely with BUCS for many years to support the integration of Ultimate into their programme.
Promoting the UKU Foundation Award to football club community coaches
- UKU has a developing coach education programme training hundreds of people every year, more than half of whom are teachers or community sports coaches doing the Foundation Award.
School Games Resources and pilot event in 2018-19
- In the last 5 years, at virtually no cost to members, we have sent thousands of free discs to hundreds of schools around the UK that include Ultimate in their curriculum or run after-school clubs.
- As part of the School Games in 2019 over 3000 pupils played in mixed, inter school matches or competition.
GB Open 2019 European Beach Ultimate Championships gold medal winners
- In 2019 we managed GB teams in 19 divisions, with 12 of them winning medals.
- GB is 3rd in the WFDF World Ultimate Rankings.
- The international calendar in 2021 is looking really busy, but with the extra risk and complexity from Covid-related disruption.
- In 2016 UKU was recognised as the National Governing Body for Ultimate by the UK and home nation sports councils. Integrating our sport into the structures of the sports governance in the UK is a long process, but we are getting there. We work closely with BUCS and the Youth Sport Trust in particular.
- We play our part in the World Flying Disc Federation and the European Ultimate Federation, supporting work on events, rules, spirit of the game, governance and more.
- UKU coordinates or directly delivers approx. 60 events per year, with National Championships in 26 divisions. We've built a strong capability for delivering events to help fund the sport and the organisation, which we've successfully extended in order to host international championships several times. In early 2020, we submitted a bid to host the WFDF 2022 World Ultimate Club Championships. If we can win the bid and make the event happen we think it will be a timely and exciting boost for our community.
Five generations of GB Women's teams at UKU Windfarm 2019
Annual in-person board meeting (not everyone could be there)
- The formal structure of UK Ultimate (committees and staff) involves around 100 volunteers and 6 members of staff (two of whom work approx 1 day/week). There is no HQ: all the staff work from home.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for your support.