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How UK’s largest retailer is working to increase participation in fishing

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The largest fishing tackle retailer in the UK has announced a partnership aimed at encouraging more people to take up or return to the sport.

Angling Direct has joined forces with the Angling Trust (AT), the body that represents fishermen in England and Wales, in a project that will deliver major investment into emphasising the wellbeing benefits of the sport to a wider audience across all age groups.

The retailer has entered into a new arrangement to support the AT’s Get Fishing campaign, which aims to boost participation and encourage more anglers into the community through coaching, education and grass roots initiatives.

Angling Direct says that over the past year, the popularity of angling has increased significantly as people turn to the sport for its health and wellbeing benefits. This partnership will see the Angling Trust’s Get Fishing campaign benefit from a massive expansion of its reach into both the angling community – and importantly – a brand new audience of people who are keen to try fishing as one of the safe activities that can be carried out by families and friends together outdoors during lockdown.

It adds that widening access to angling for everyone is one of Angling Direct’s core values. Since this latest lockdown period, the company says it has invested, along with the Environment Agency through fishing licence income, in training 80 of its colleagues to become Angling Trust qualified and licenced angling coaches, empowering them to share their passion for angling, whilst offering trusted advice and support to more customers and communities alike across the group’s stores.

These coaches will now form a vital part of the Get Fishing initiative by helping to deliver the very best angling experience to new and existing anglers alike.

Each year the Angling Trust’s Get Fishing campaign introduces thousands of new anglers to the sport, encourages returning anglers to get back into fishing and focuses on establishing a lifelong angling habit, with all its associated benefits. The investment provided by Angling Direct will strengthen the programmes run in association with the Environment Agency, by expanding a whole range of participation initiatives.

Angling Trust CEO, Jamie Cook, said: “The boom in participation and publicity around fishing and corresponding spike in participation numbers has been reflected by sales of over 100,000 new fishing licences and a massive increase in angling’s visibility in media, social media and numbers on the bank. Fishing is now known to be an ideal way to enjoy the outdoors safely, within Government guidelines.

“We are delighted to have partnered with Angling Direct to progress and expand our existing plans and initiate exciting new projects that will help snowball this new growth in the sport so that many more people ‘get fishing!”

Andy Torrance, CEO at Angling Direct added: “Bringing the joys of fishing to as many people as possible has formed the DNA of Angling Direct’s core purpose since the company was founded. We are therefore pleased to be partnering with the Angling Trust to help further these values by widening participation and promoting the many health and wellbeing benefits of fishing to a broader community.

“As the leading omni-channel fishing tackle retailer in the UK, we already have some of the most passionate angling colleagues in the country and indeed have so far given away over 12,000 free angling starter kits to young people. Thanks to our investment and training programme, which has enabled 80 of them to become qualified angling coaches, they will now be able to inspire even more people to discover the benefits of fishing.”

Coach bursaries are to be funded equally by the Environment Agency Angling Improvement Fund and Angling Direct. Several hundred coaching sessions will be delivered by Angling Trust staff as a result of this investment in the Get Fishing campaign. This will mean Angling Direct stores become the go-to place for surrounding communities to learn how to get the most out of the fishing near to home – ideal for beginners and returners to find bespoke “local knowledge”, catch more fish and get a lifetime full of fantastic angling adventures.

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