On Monday 7th March, the University of Birmingham’s newly elected sports officer, Florie Craddock AKA Floz the Frog, came to the Burn studio to discuss her recent win in the Guild officer elections.
A big priority for Craddock is increasing amateur participation in sports on campus. ‘I think that it’s quite easy to forget about the people at uni who aren’t elite athletes and that the majority of people play at a recreational level. Although we do have some really impressive scholarship athletes we need to remember that the amateur athletes need to be supported,’ Craddock told us.
Ensuring that people feel comfortable and welcomed especially from the start of the year is something Craddock is going to focus on, honouring her ‘leap into inclusive sport for 2022’ campaign slogan.
Another key point on her campaign manifesto was Craddock’s aim to streamline communication across all levels of university sport. Feeling as though it is currently ‘quite disjointed’ her solution is to put out an anonymous form which will go straight to her and that she can review ‘every couple of weeks.’
When it comes to tackling negative stereotypes of university sports teams (particularly with regards to drinking) Craddock will be using her own hockey team as an example, as they try to make sure that people on their team who don’t drink ‘still feel as much part of the team as other people.’ She will make sure that through the socials that clubs know that ‘it’s not on to pressure people.’
It is her own involvement with university sports that will help Craddock take on the role successfully. ‘I have been so heavily involved, I know the ropes,’ she said.
Increasing involvement in sports is something Craddock is going to implement through encouraging single day sporting events throughout the year. There are a few at the moment, but she feels that this idea ‘can be blown up quite a lot.’ The benefits of these days mean that ‘people who don’t want to commit to campus league or a full year of UoB sport can just get involved for one day and have a good time.’
Another of Craddock’s main manifesto points was to improve the training that sports welfare secretaries receive. ‘I have noticed that across the board the welfare training has not been sufficient. It was one online session at the beginning of the year and I think it’s not reasonable to expect students to remember that. It would be useful to have not only a refresher of the stuff they’ve done in the past but spread the training across a year so they feel fully equipped to deal with concerns that come to them,’ she explained.
But does Craddock think she can genuinely deliver on her manifesto? A lot of the points on there ‘don’t require a lot of resources’ she feels and ‘it would’ve been easy to put too much on there’ which meant that she really tried to whittle it down to the really important ones. ‘So everyone I put on there I really think I can deliver,’ she said.
Ticket distribution for sports night has been a concern voiced by several sports societies. Craddock does feel ‘it will be worth reviewing’ the process of ticket distribution but does feel that it is ‘working the best it can.’ However, Craddock said that she ‘obviously will be having a look at it and making sure we’re keeping as many people happy as possible.’
When asked how she planned to make university sport more welcoming and safer for female identifying students, Craddock responded by pointing out that she is the first female sports officer in five years. She was not mentioning this as she feels that a woman could do a better job than a man ‘because that’s not the case at all,’ but thinks that the representation is important for women who want to run for the role in the future. It is important for them ‘to see it’s not a man every year and they still can go for it,’ as a woman.
Craddock also suggested that she would look into potential interest in having a women-only section in the gym. She mentioned that Joe Dredge (another sports officer candidate) had spoken about this idea, and told us that if there was interest in this, it could be something which she could work towards implementing.
To finish up, in honour of International Women’s Day, we asked Craddock who her female sporting hero is.
‘Dame Kelly Holmes is an absolute icon, she not only worked with loads of charities after she retired but throughout her whole career she was so persistent. That’s something I want to take with me throughout the year, even if there are some things that aren’t moving forward in the way I want, just persisting and making sure I give it my all throughout the year,’ Craddock told us.