With the Olympics on us, the idea of ‘sporting legacy’ is high in the nation’s consciousness, and for shooting sports of all descriptions, the need to engage young people has never been greater.
For BASC, which has long worked to ensure the future of shooting, it’s not just a question of producing new shots, but of instilling an appreciation of country life into those who wouldn’t normally have a chance to experience it first-hand.
If you consider that most people involved in shooting are aged 40 or above it is clear that such work is vital, especially as an increasing number of young people are growing up at a far remove from the natural world, with only what is often innacurate and negative reporting in the media for reference.
To combat this problem and encourage more young people to engage in shooting and conservation, BASC has a wide-ranging programme of activities designed to educate young people about the natural world and encourage them to get involved. Last year, for example, over 1,300 young people attended Young Shots days, more than 1,000 were given coaching lessons and over 10,000 listened to talks on shooting and conservation. BASC’s teams also played a vital role in talking to schools about firearms safety, contributing to the national curriculum and promoting understanding in as wide an audience as possible.
The Young Shots programme, however, has even higher goals for the future. The team wants to reach more young people through events, useful literature and school visits, help more children to experience country life and start a fund to help young shots compete. This work, however, comes at a cost and an annual sum in excess of Â£250,000 is needed to sustain the current level of activity alone.
If you’re in London, you can help raise funds for this work by attending one of the many events hosted by the BASC London Social Committee, which was founded several years ago to raise funds by bringing like-minded people together for some social fun in the capital. Run by a group of volunteer BASC members, the committee organises a diverse range of events throughout the year, enabling those who are stuck in town to at least share their love of and learn more about countryside activities, even if the nearest patch of green grass is miles away!
The committee is delighted that both BASC members and others in the community have thus far shown an outstanding level of support, enabling us to raise many thousands of pounds for BASC’s work with young people. Our previous events have included a dinner at Fortnum and Mason, a private view of Bonhams’ sporting gun sale and a – very damp – clay shoot at Holland and Holland. Like the BASC Young Shots team, however, we have even bigger plans for the future and we hope that many of those both well established in and new to the shooting community will join us for the exciting programme of events we have lined up for the coming season.
The first of these will be a celebration of young shots at Mayfair’s Osborne Gallery, where we will hear from young shoot owner and entrepreneur Nathan Little, be treated to a private view of the latest exhibition and enjoy wine, canapes and great conversation. To find out more about this event and others, please sign up to our mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org