On Saturday, 23rd March, Stoke Angling For Everyone (SAFE) held their first presentation at the Jubilee Hall Stoke with 200 people present. Guest’s of Honour were Bob Clarke of the National Federation of Anglers, John Bevan of the Trout and Salmon Association, Dr Tim Jacklin and Don Corden from the Environment Agency. Also present were Councillor Tony Pattiee and Dave Harvey who Chairs the City Waters Advisory Management Group.

Bob Clarke congratulated SAFE on its achievements during the two years it has been in existence. During that time they have progressed from having small ‘have a go at fishing’ days to being recognised nationally by Sport England and the NFA as a blue print for the way forward in training anglers.

Presentation Evening
Dr Tim Jacklin presented the sixteen instructors with their NFA coaching certificates and jackets with the NFA badges. Four of the instructors were also presented with their first aid certificates. During the coming year it is hoped to train a further group of instructors bringing the total to thirty. At the moment there are only about 200 NFA instructors, the thirty from SAFE will put Stoke on Trent at the forefront of angling training.

The Chairman of SAFE, Peter Fieldhouse, thanked all who had helped SAFE in the last two years. The Environment Agency for its help with grants to buy fishing tackle, Awards for All for the money to send the instructors on the courses. Tony Costello raised £ 2000 from a sponsored fish-in, he donated £ 1000 to SAFE. Andy Ford was sponsored to ride the Pepsi Max at Blackpool five times consecutively and he donated £ 500 to SAFE. The Stoke-on-Trent City Council for its help on the ‘have a go at fishing’ days which are run on waters controlled by the City Waters Advisory Management Group and with their help with tonight’s presentation. The SAFE instructors have taken part in two 24 hour Fish-ins and raised £ 2850 to help two local children. Mr Fieldhouse also thanked all the local tackle dealers who supplied bait and prizes for the fish-ins. Most of all we must thank Dr Tim Jacklin who came to the City Waters Management Advisory Group with the idea of SAFE.

During the coming year SAFE have planned 12 ‘have a go at fishing’ events, these will again be based on local waters controlled by the ten clubs who are members of SAFE. The events are aimed at anyone regardless of age, gender or race who wants to have ago at fishing. The events will be run as three two hour sessions on a one to one basis. The aim is to get people interested in fishing and to come back again and join their local clubs.

Last year one local club who had five juvenile anglers now has 150, another has raised its juvenile membership to 350, an increase of 100. There now exist four small community-angling groups all with at least one instructor, all are aimed at providing fishing for local anglers, mainly juveniles. Many other events are planned by the instructors with-in their own clubs.

The ultimate aim of SAFE is to provide a training centre in Stoke-on-Trent where the clubs could take groups of anglers to give proper training in the setting up of tackle, discussions, and slideshows by well-known anglers. To this end SAFE are having discussions with the Stoke on Trent City Council to find a suitable venue.