Edition number 4; dateline 1 February 2008

Silo-busting: cultural confessions from worlds apart

Quite often I find my self making the following admission as though I have some addiction: “Hello, I’m Kay and I’m a… caravanner.” At this point there is usually a groan around the room followed by, “I hate caravans”, “You don’t look old enough”, etc. Nevertheless, I have decided to share this hobby of mine with you following thoughts over the past few months about the connections between my various interests and my duties as a member of the shadow board for the National Skills Academy.

Caravans are part of the SkillsActive ‘footprint’, as are sport and recreation, health and fitness, play and the outdoors. I have to admit to not having a lot to do with play but I have a certain amount to do with the others, whether at work or ‘play’, and yet we tend to separate all of them typically into silos – we are good at that. So if I say that I am training to run a 10k and complete a triathlon the sports people are impressed and nod knowingly; however, my caravanning friends think I am a little sad. Having said that, the branch of the camping and caravan club of which I am a member is organising a 35 mile walk that stretches across the Dark and White Peaks and includes Kinder Scout and Mam Tor, so they are very much involved in the outdoors and the physical activity game. My friends and colleagues in the sport industry react to my caravanning by saying I’m sad. As both the caravanning and sports friends all keep telling me that, perhaps I am. I am in the Sad Silo…

But I am not going to stay in the Sad Silo. I am on mission to break out and take you and many others with me. Why am I ‘sad’ to take my caravan to the Peak District and spend the weekend walking and cycling once I get there; and why I am I sad if I stay in my caravan while attending the London or Blenheim Triathlons? Why can’t I spend a weekend with my friends who enjoy caravanning and still go for a run or cycle ride while I am there without them laughing at me through their caravan windows?

Obviously I can and do all of these things but why aren’t the various groups supportive of each other? I have to say that the caravanners are slightly more supportive of this cross-fertilisation of different interest/ hobbies as they do have some sporting and physical activities as part of their portfolio but they don’t really connect these activities to the wider sporting world; they play for fun. I’m not sure whether this is allowed anymore now that the minister for sport has decreed this unacceptable (perhaps a little harsh but you get my drift). I must rush and tell my local club that the volleyball session held every Friday evening isn’t sport. I don’t suppose they will care but it might be nice if the Camping and Caravan Club at a national level gave some advice to its volunteers about encouraging and delivering sports activities.


Kay Adkins is an executive board member of a county sport partnership, chair of a CSN and a member of the interim board of the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure. Kay is also managing director of KAM Ltd, which offers a range of support services in the sport and leisure industry working in volunteer/workforce development and facility development.



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