What is your annual budget?
Turnover is around £45,000pa with expenditure matching income, aiming to break even.
How many staff do you employ? None: Sk8scotland management board is entirely voluntary with some administrative support from NISA [National Ice Skating Association of UK] with regard to finance and accountancy.
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What are the playing numbers in the sport, ideally broken down into senior and junior, male and female? Approx. 800 full members of Sk8scotland/UK NISA in Scotland and around 1000 "members" of the NISA Passport scheme (beginners). Most (75%+) of all figure skaters are female and over 18 years old. Many more people however participate in ice skating on a purely recreational level.
Have those risen or fallen in the past five years? Participation increases annually just as Dancing on Ice appears on the TV, but participation tends to tail off. Other factors affect participation, such as rink closures or new rinks opening; in the past year or so the Magnum Centre closed, but a renovated Auchenharvie opened.
How long have you been in post as chairman? Since 1998. I was also vice-chairman of the NISA from 1995-2006.
What have been the most significant changes in the sport during your tenure? The introduction of the controversial International Judging System (IJS) following the 2002 Salt Lake City crisis. While much more objective, it is undoubtedly complicated and difficult to understand for the public audience. It has also trebled the number of officials required to run competitions and championships, leading to increased costs and therefore much increased entry fees for competitors, which makes it difficult to run competitions without incurring a deficit.
What have been the biggest successes/highlights/achievements, on and off the ice? Developing a long-running partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Council. It is estimated that Sk8scotland events bring around £0.5m to the local economy annually. The council has recognised this and grants deficit funding to ensure the events are viable.
What have been the biggest disappointments/setbacks during tenure? Sk8scotland was established to seek formal recognition by sportscotland, but because of the way ice skating in the UK is organised, the International Skating Union only recognises NISA internationally. sportscotland did not accept Sk8scotland as an independent 'governing body'.
What are your ambitions for your sport in Scotland in the next five years? Attracting top-level coaches to Scottish ice rinks and attracting top-level skaters to increase the competitive environment.
What are the biggest challenges you see facing your sport in Scotland during the next five years? Probably the lack of funding. UK Sport only funds proven success, measured in terms of medals, creating a vicious circle. Of course the independence vote later this year could have a huge impact for skating in Scotland in the coming years. We do have many senior NISA and International officials, coaches and judges who are Scottish and therefore it would not prove particularly difficult to establish a truly independent Federation.
What involvement has your body in disability sport? Sk8scotland has been at the forefront of developing skating for people with disabilities over the past three years. In partnership with Inclusive Skating [a registered Scottish Charity http://www.inclusiveskating.org/) Sk8scotland has developed a judging and classification system, allowing skaters with all manner of disability to participate and compete for the first time. NISA has now formally adopted the Inclusive Skating initiative - the first in the world - funding the first two events at a cost of £20k from the NISA Charitable Trust.
Who are your sport's leading Scottish contenders and dark horses at the Winter Olympics? The best bet is speed skater Elise Christie, but we also have figure-skaters Jenna McCorkell and Matt Parr who both train in Dundee (although are not Scottish) in the Olympic squad. Pairs duo David King and Stacey Kemp also train at Dumfries and competed at the recent British Championships.
What are your plans to generate interest in your sport in the build up to and during the Winter Olympics? Unfortunately we are nearing the end of the road for Sk8scotland as a functioning organisation.