Report from Funding community sport conference

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Report from Funding community sport conference

The conference was held on 4th September 2019 at the University of Hertfordshire and run in partnership with 

The starting point was that the funding landscape for community sport and physical activity is changing…and the world of sport is no different from the world of technology or commerce where the rate of change is increasing all the time.  Governing bodies, social enterprises, charities must not only have the appetite for change but must also implement these changes and adaptations or they will struggle to exist.

Svend Elkjaer, founder and director of the Sports Marketing Network covered how providers of community sport and physical activity can develop a balanced income model. He introduced the concept of community sports enterprise where providers attract and serve customers in a sustainable way, whilst serving a sporting and community purpose. 

He asked the audience whether there was a fit between their ‘mission’ and their ‘money’ and whether they generated their income in many different ways, getting away from relying on one single source of income. He then introduced a number of simple initiatives where providers of sport and physical activity have developed income-generating ideas which, at the same time, had activated people, such as The £1m Great North Dog Walk and the the Hospice Movement’s series of Midnight Walks, held across the UK.

His final recommendation was to get started, learn from the experiences, improve and then forward – he called that approach ‘baby- steps’.

How to secure new public-sector funding was the title of the presentation from
Melanie Antao, Specialist Advisor for Funding, London Sport

She started by stating how vital it is for providers of community sport and physical activity to develop robust project proposals to secure new public-sector funding and provide evidence base to support project roll-out opportunities.  She then highlighted the large and diverse funding landscape from sports bodies to public heath and commercial income emphasising that the funding landscape has changed and is now more user led (bottom up) and focused on bringing communities together, promote well being and stronger focus on outcomes and evidencing impact. 

She then highlighted four case-studies where London Sport supported and advised local providers in areas such as:

  • Assess existing client programme to identify alignment opportunities with sport sector policy priorities
  • Identify target funding opportunities for programme expansion
  • Identify target funding opportunities for programme expansion
  • Convened a range of new and existing stakeholders representing the public, private and third sectors.
  • Developed insight model to identify project roll-out opportunities aligned to funder priorities
  • Brokered meetings between project leads and key funder decision makers
  • Facilitated engagement between project leads and Local Government stakeholders to secure local buy-in

The outcomes were often that they help the providers secure £’000.000s of funding.

Generating a surplus through innovation and transformation was the title of the presentation
from Ken Masser Chief Executive of Rossendale Leisure Trust

He described that in 2015 Haslingden Sports Centre (built in 1972) was a standard community leisure centre in the small Lancashire district of Rossendale. Now rebranded, ‘Adrenaline’, with a range of adventure activities sitting alongside a more traditional fitness and sports offer, the centre is a regional family attraction.

This story was not only one of innovative facility development and community based marketing initiatives, but also the essential organisational and cultural changes that have made success possible.

He emphasised that it is important to develop a culture where everybody has got something to believe in – why is so much more important than what.

Other points they learned from when it comes to small budget facility development

  1. Develop confidence and competence
  2. Be creative with space
  3. Complementary diversification
  4. Marketing is critical
  5. Development by itself is not enough

Their defining principles and behaviors were to be as one:

  • Be One – work together in the pursuit of a great leisure experience for everyone
  • See One – value every individual for who they are
  • Help One – support every person to find and achieve what works for them
  • Reach One – find someone else and help them start

Developing a ‘vibrant and visible’ community sports club – a summary of Valleys Gymnastics Academy’s
journey was the title of the presentation by Melissa Anders

She told that in 2011 two voluntary gymnastics clubs located in the Welsh Valleys with combined membership of 100 and a combined annual income of £24,000 merged. 

They owned large amounts of gymnastics equipment and Melissa was gymnastically qualified – but had no business knowledge. Their plan was to stay open.

Now fast forward to 2019 where VGA is an award-winning social enterprise with clear aims

  • With 3000 members (only 100 take part in competitions)
  • 4 ‘merged’ gymnastics clubs
  • Fully developed 11,000sq ft gymnastics facility + 3 dedicated sports halls + 3 leisure centre halls
  • Turnover > £800,000
  • 45 paid staff
  • 100+ volunteers
  • No ongoing reliance on public funding

So, how did they achieve this remarkable transformation?
Their vision to be an industry leading gymnastics and physical activity provider was key
They aimed to develop a high profile in the local community by

  • Increasing participation (non-sport objectives) which sustainability
  • Increasing potential talent pool
  • Attracting ‘harder to reach’ groups and  developed new funding streams and  support
  • Building on their brand strength/community awareness which leads to funding and sponsorship, while attracting new members

Concrete initiatives initiatives including:

  • Working with partners, e.g. deliver a family walking/running group
  • Non-sport activities, e.g. slime making workshops
  • Organise collections for local charities
  • Deliver multi-skills events
  • Deliver on ‘holiday hunger’ programmes
  • Birthday cards, certificates etc
  • Plethora of opportunities – something for everyone!
  • Product ambassador
  • Representation on local boards / workshops / conferences

To conclude Melissa strongly recommended that you modernise your offer and provide excellent customer experience.

How can alternative forms of finance be used to develop trading activity in community and social enterprises within the
 sports and physical activity was the title of the presentation given by Matt Smith, Chief Executive, Key Fund

His starting points was that as grants become increasingly competitive to obtain, how can alternative forms of finance be used to develop trading activity in community and social enterprises within the sports and physical activity, to enable these organisations to become more sustainable in impact and financial terms?

There are a wide range of alternative finance providers who provide finance for those unable to secure affordable mainstream finance. They are focussed on regenerating communities (economic) and (often) enabling social impact. Social investment is the use of repayable finance to help an organisation achieve a social purpose.

Matt Smith explained that charities and social enterprises can use repayable finance to help them increase their impact on society, for example by growing their business, providing working capital for delivery, or buying assets.​
Social investment is repayable, often with interest. Charities and social enterprises may generate a surplus through trading activities, contracts for delivering public services, grants and donations, or a combination of some or all of these. This surplus is then used to repay investors. 

Matt compared it to ‘old-fashioned’ relationship banking where the bank manage got to know you and your business and the impact you wanted to make.
He recommended that you:

  • Work with your investor through the process as they are often trying to find a way to do the deal – we are brave, but have a duty of care
  • But speak up if things aren’t going right or no common ground – consider voting with your feet
  • Expect questions
  • Keep working at the relationship post investment – and tell the news early (good or bad)

Organic fundraising for sports clubs-The Power of Adult Panto,  the title of the presentation
by Simon Plumb, Marketing Consultant The SPA Group Ltd & Lymm Rugby Club

The Lymm Panto, from small beginnings, became a world-famous institution and is now in its 32nd consecutive year. The scripts are sold worldwide and the Adult Panto template, when adopted by other clubs, works time and again, helping sports clubs create a thriving, vibrant atmosphere and build year-on-year success. Furthermore, this fun-filled activity brings disparate groups together, creating cohesive teams, working for each other and the community.

Over the last 30 years, around 50,000 people have now seen Lymm Rugby Club’s panto which have also raised £250,000 for the Lymm Grass Roots Clubhouse Appeal.

The club is creating a 3G pitch and building a state-of-the-art clubhouse

The shows consistently sell out and this year’s production is expected to raise about £40,000 towards the clubhouse appeal. Two of the reasons the panto has been a success are collaboration and blending everyone’s strengths.

There are no in-jokes. The whole purpose of the show was to bring people in from a very wide area, which is why audiences get bigger.

How to sustain challenging and innovative work was the title of the presentation by
Navjeet Sira, Director of Design and Impact, Change Foundation

The Change Foundation was founded in 1981 following the Brixton riots in south London, using cricket as a tool to promote community cohesion and peace during the conflict in the heart of the local community.For 39 years The Change Foundation has been delivering sport for social change programmes designed and led by young people creating opportunities for marginalised groups to make positive change using a variety of sports and mentoring.

This presentation demonstrated how The Change Foundation has been able to sustain challenging and innovative work by sharing:   Insight into the charities business development journey
–           How to translate your USP’s to help you ‘sell’ your work
–           Analysing and using your network
–           Examples of meaningful and high performing partnerships 

 

Insight into sector trends

  • Review in line with new strategic vision
  • What are our USPs?
  • Sector trends – do we follow? Do we align?
  • Stop trying to delight, just solve their problems
  • Creation of a Business Development Group
  • Creation of an Ambassadors programme

Navjeet also made these three recommendations

  1. Be fearless – diversify
  2. People – invest in your team
  3. Use your network – it exists, make it easy for them

Supporting football clubs in developing themselves into safe and sustainable community organisations was the title of
the presentation from Karl Lingham, Chief Executive Officer for the Hertfordshire Football Association 

He stated that the FA we have a real clear purpose and that’s to unite the game and inspire the nation.
Clubs within grassroots football have a huge part to play in us achieving this vision as they establish the communities and create the environments that unite individuals and inspire individuals week in week out up and down the country.
 
That’s why we do what we do in this landscape and will focus our attention on these special individuals that make up our clubs and paint a clear, simple and effective picture of how club by club we will provide the most relevant support services to help them continue to provide for their community of people and develop a lifetime love for the beautiful game.
He also highlighted that in Hertfordshire there are lots of clubs and a stretched workforce.  There are many poor facilities, limited links with schools and a focus on male participation.  We are also facing a traditional approach and entrenched views.

It was decided to focus on experience, be innovative, provide vision and build on foundation and develop clubs that are catering for the whole community – male, female, youth, adult, disability, and walking football. The clubs should be run as SME businesses but still mainly volunteer run.

The FA now provide the clubs with services that are suitable, supportive and sustainable including FA Technology  Whole Game System, Full-Time and Matchday App
There is coaching support and bursaries, professional services including marketing expertise, industry expertise for developing club structures and platforms for knowledge sharing and best practice.

Strength in Numbers was the title of the presentation given by
Tony Jameson-Allen FRSA, Co-founder & Director, Sporting Memories Network CIC and The Sporting Memories Foundation

Tony explained that the Sporting Memories Foundation is the World’s first charity dedicated to sports reminiscence and physical activity. 

Founded in October 2011 to test out a possible intervention to engage older men in activities that might alleviate the impacts of loneliness, dementia and depression, this session will chart the journey of Sporting Memories from its roots of the two co-founders working with 10 care homes in West Yorkshire to a sustainable, income generating international organisation.

Having trained over 700 partner organisations and volunteers in the delivery of sports reminiscence, developing a credible evidence base and impact reporting, through academic collaboration, has seen over 130 free, community based, volunteer led, Sporting Memories Clubs established.

Sporting Memories move to including accessible physical activities to its sessions has in the past 18 months attracted funding in excess of £1.5m from organisations including Sport England, the Welsh Government, Sport Wales and Public Health Wales, Life Changes Trust, Robertson Trust, Spirit of 2012 and Sport Scotland.

Eight years on from founding the organisation, Sporting Memories now collaborates with 100s of organisations to support former footballers and older fans living with dementia, depression or loneliness.

How Britain’s parks are engaging with new audiences, in new places…

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How Britain’s parks are engaging with new audiences, in new places…

 

There is an increasing focus on the importance that our parks and other green spaces can play in getting inactive people active.

There are many ways of motivating and taking physical activity specific to local people in their park. This may include different levels of physical activity which can be fit into a general walk or dog walking schedule, the use of new technology to link to further information or perhaps the use of augmented reality and games.

There is no generic template for a good park or green space. The connections between experiences of nature, including diverse trees, plants and wildlife and mental wellbeing are strong. A park that only serves as a children’s playground or a football training ground is not fulfilling its potential,

There is also a strong case for saying that using parks for people to be active supports mental wellbeing and social inclusion and contributes to a preventative health agenda.

Also, while green spaces are important we should also remember that ‘blue space’ matters too. Rivers, lakes and canals are all great places for people to enjoy paddlesports, swimming or just being near the water.

The possibilities for our parks as places where local people engage and are active are numerous and there is considerable scope for local residents to share their experiences of using the park, to help people come up with ideas.

It is also important to recognise that visibility in the park makes it easier to see people like being active – reducing social distance.

There are also a number of ways that local groups and community entrepreneurs can become involved and develop bottom-up initiatives which can have a real impact due to their understanding of local needs and people.

This conference will feature real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt, ideas and experiences to be shared

This conference is aimed at representatives from parks, social and sports development and other departments at our local authorities, social prescribers, public health, trusts, social enterprises, community groups and health and wellbeing bodies.

Presentations from:

Funding community sport 4th September 2019, University of Hertfordshire

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Funding community sport
Conference
4th September 2019, University of Hertfordshire

How to develop a sustainable business model for providers of sport and physical activity
How can governing bodies, enterprises, charities and other providers of community sport and physical activity generate the income required to deliver their work

In Partnership with

The funding landscape for community sport and physical activity is changing…

The world of sport is no different from the world of technology or commerce where the rate of change is increasing all the time. Governing bodies, social enterprises, charities must not only have the appetite for change but must also implement these changes and adaptations or they will struggle to exist.

At the same time, there is an increasing focus on how sport and physical activity can help change people’s lives and create sport for social good, which is probably all well and good, but

While budgets are frequently threatened, these changes will probably also raise opportunities and challenges for providers when it comes to attracting funding. Opportunities in terms of the possibility of engaging with non-sport funders from health, justice/crime prevention, education and social inclusion. Challenges in terms of learning how to engage with partners and funders for whom sport is just a means to an end.

We are also experiencing a number of innovative enterprises who have developed sustainable business models running mass-participation events, developing community gyms, helping communities to prosper through sport and are getting inactive people active, all delivered in financially sustainable ways

But, it has to be said, that far too many providers and bodies within sport and physical activity do regard income and funding as an afterthought and therefore stagger from crisis to crisis when it comes to generating income to fund their good work.

And it seems that the community sport and physical activity sector can learn from the third sector and professional sport when it comes to generating income to help support and fund their work. In those sectors terms such as ‘digital fundraising’, ‘diversifying income streams’ and ‘donor engagement programme’ are commonplace – maybe community sport and physical activity bodies could learn from that.

So, we need to develop a new mindset and skill set – which is not always an easy thing; especially if your organisation has sunk into a state of what we call ‘grant-addiction’.

This conference will feature real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt,
ideas and experiences to be shared

Presentations from:

Great morning line up at The role of sport and physical activity in Scotland

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The role of sport and physical activity in Scotland
A one-day conference focussing on the purpose and direction of
sport and physical activity in Scotland

The challenges facing community sport and physical activity in Scotland…

The role of sport and physical activity is changing across the world as well as in the UK and Scotland. At the same time, with changing lifestyles and demographics, broader remits from the Scottish Government, opportunities for collaboration with non-sport partners such as health, housing and education and a number of new providers coming into the sector the status quo is no longer an option for anybody with the sector.

Scottish society needs community sports clubs, hubs and other providers to prosper. We need them to be places where people will want to play and exercise and become involved. They should generally become hubs for their communities, in short, become places ‘where people live their lives’.

This event focuses on these issues, highlight best practice and provide thoughts, tools and to-dos on how you too can become a sustainable community sports provider.

Great morning line up

TBC, sportscotland

Presenting sportscotland’s new strategy

sportscotland will update the conference on their new corporate strategy. SPORT FOR LIFE celebrates how everyone in Scotland can benefit from sport. It’s a strong message that builds on our existing corporate plan and reflects the feedback from last summer’s consultation with partners. As the national agency for sport our role is to make sure that sport plays its part in a thriving Scotland. We do this by influencing, informing and investing in the organisations and people who deliver sport and physical activity. We believe in a world class sporting system that makes the best use of Scotland assets and adapts to change, helping the people of Scotland take part in sport at the level they choose. At the conference sportscotland will present this new strategy and how they will work with partners to help the people of Scotland get the most out of our sporting system.

How sports bodies and clubs will have to change

The world of sport is no different from the world of technology or commerce where the rate of change is increasing all the time. Governing bodies and clubs must not only have the appetite for change, but must also implement these changes and adaptations or they will struggle to exist. The competition for young people’s time and money has never been greater, and sport is under increasing pressure not only from other past-times such as social media, TV and E-games but more importantly, from inactivity!
The social aspect needs to get greater emphasis and innovative thought needs to be applied to sports in order to develop simpler entry-points, a faster endorphin hit, greater engagement and to drive the mental health, leadership, teamwork and communication qualities that derive from playing any sport. While budgets are frequently threatened, these changes also have to be delivered with a weather-eye on ROI! All sounds so simple!

Malcolm Cannon, CEO, Cricket Scotland

Malcolm Cannon is an experienced chief executive who has led businesses in the retail and property sectors. His earlier career was in the whisky and pharmaceutical industries. He holds Non-Executive Director roles on 3 companies and is a trustee of the cricket charity, Beyond Boundaries. Educated at St Andrews University, he is a self-confessed “sports nut” who has also woven amateur singing and dancing into his life in recent years.

 

 

Is deep-dive research the missing link to more active Scottish communities?

Research is everywhere; ‘evidence’ is in front of your eyes. That may be the case for those closely involved in sport and physical activity but what about those who are not? How do people with ‘adverse sporting experiences’ in childhood come back to sport? How do people in communities where poverty is a huge barrier to physical activity develop an appreciation of the mental health, social inclusion and resilience benefits sport can bring? How do government officials and ministers who have little experience of or involvement with sport shape policy that engages people and genuinely improves Scotland’s health?
One answer is through high-quality, academic research. The Observatory for Sport in Scotland was launched in 2016 to bring the research-led analysis and advocacy prevalent in sporting countries across the world to Scotland, and help government, sports bodies, education and health to better identify and grasp the wide-ranging and long-term benefits sport can bring to all ages and all communities.

David Ferguson, Executive Director, The Observatory for Sport in Scotland

David Ferguson took over as the Executive Director for the OSS in January, 2019, after a 30-year career in journalism and communication/public affairs, and is an active community sport coach.

 

 

Transformational change and what we are doing,

Aberdeenshire Council launched a new business unit in January 2019 to be more dynamic in its strategic leadership and direction of Culture & Sports Services. By reviewing all areas of work we are seeking to transform services through change, innovation and improvement. We are challenged to think differently and find new ways of collaborative working with clubs and partners which will be more sustainable for the future.

Our strategic priorities are on Health and Wellbeing; Diversity and Equality; Stronger Communities and Opportunity and Achievement. So how do we do this better in a large rural community with 9 Community Sports Hubs, improve collaboration with governing bodies with a shared interest and develop lasting increases in participation. What do our communities want and how can we deliver on this?

Andrew Miller, Active Communities Manager, Aberdeenshire Council

Andrew Miller has been a sports development professional for 31 years in Aberdeenshire, in multiple roles including partnerships, special projects, event management, sponsorship specialist, DofE Manager, a former UK Quest Assessor, Sports Council Secretary and SALSC National Panel Member. He is a BASI Nordic Instructor and involved with British Nordic Development Squad Committee.

Fraser Govan, Active Communities Officer Aberdeenshire Council  

Fraser Govan has been involved in both specific and generic sports development for 31 years starting in England before moving to Angus and then Aberdeenshire. A former UK Quest Assessor and author of the Aberdeenshire clubCAP accreditation scheme, Fraser’s lead role in Aberdeenshire is partnership working with third sector agencies and governing bodies, Community Sports Hubs & club development, specific sports and targeted diversionary work. He is a senior UKCC tutor and national squad coach for basketballscotland.

Who wants to be a ref?

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Sport at all levels need motivated and skilled match officials and these people require respect from the players they officiate and their coaches and parents.

There are a large number of recruitment initiatives run by governing bodies and others with a strong focus on attracting a younger and more diverse section of society into officiating.

Referee and match official training have never been more rigorous, involving constant assessment. Successful candidates progress through the ranks and often there is considerable mentoring support available.

But, many sports bodies report considerable problems with attracting and retaining officials despite their valiant efforts to reduce the often noticeable referee dropout rate.

Across there are many signs that respect for our officials is too often lacking and that, it has been claimed, that the authorities do not always take reports of abuse of officials seriously enough. That lack of support has been quoted as one reason for the referee dropout.

One example is that more than half of cricket umpires say they have been a victim of verbal abuse, according to research undertaken by The University of Portsmouth.

You can wonder why someone wants to carry out a task when you only get noticed when you make an error in the eyes of the, sometimes biased players and fans.

At the same time, a large number of officials say refereeing is an enormous physical and mental challenge; there is no comfort zone out there on the pitch, and for them that is exciting. They say that officiating improves self-confidence and time- and man-management.

There are indeed various initiatives designed to improve the atmosphere surrounding football matches, the English FA’s Respect programme aims to educate parents and coaches on their roles in creating a fun, safe and inclusive environment for players. Also, we are seeing an extension of that programme with the increasing number of Respect leagues where there is a focus on enjoyment, respect and development.

This conference will feature real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt, ideas and experiences to be shared

This event focuses on these issues, highlight best practice and provide thoughts, tools and to-dos, share experiences and ideas on how we can ensure that we have motivated and qualified officiating workforce for the future

The conference will cover issues such as:

• How do we attract and retain a younger and more diverse section of society into officiating

• What can different sports learn from each other in terms of training and supporting officials

• How can we develop an environment where there is stronger respect for ‘grassroots’ officials

• Is there scope for developing some innovative recruitment methods to attract officials from outside the sport

• How can we develop digital tools helping to improve training and the way we engage with officials

• How can we develop a stronger team spirit for people who often carry out their tasks in isolation

• How can we improve the way we engage with and motivate officials

This conference is aimed at Referee Development Officers and others involved with developing the officiating workforce across governing bodies of sport, county associations and other sports organisations.

The role of sport and physical activity conference

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The challenges facing community sport and physical activity in Scotland…

The role of sport and physical activity is changing across the world as well as in the UK and Scotland. At the same time, with changing lifestyles and demographics, broader remits from the Scottish Government, opportunities for collaboration with non-sport partners such as health, housing and education and a number of new providers coming into the sector the status quo is no longer an option for anybody with the sector.
Scottish society needs community sports clubs, hubs and other providers to prosper. We need them to be places where people will want to play and exercise and become involved. They should generally become hubs for their communities, in short, become places ‘where people live their lives’.

Making a difference in areas such as health and wellbeing, employment and education are key additions of the Scottish Government’s ambitions of getting people more people active.

So how do we deliver a great, sustainable community sport without compromising your sporting and community objectives? How do we provide great customer experiences and grow participation whilst at the same time meeting the strategic objectives of external partners and funders, whether they are from within sport or from health, regeneration or community services?

How do we engage with the many inactive people who we have not been able to get active through conventional methods and channels? Do we need new partners and providers and what role can the current sports bodies play?

How do we engage the local community and promote community leadership and play our part of the fabric of our local communities? How do we develop and deliver an innovative range of sporting opportunities, attracting people of all ages and abilities?

How do we bridge the gap between ‘sport for sport’s sake’ and ‘sport for change’ and ensure that there is a common vision across all parts of the sector in Scotland?

This event focuses on these issues, highlight best practice and provide thoughts, tools and to-dos on how you too can become a sustainable community sports provider.

The topics covered at the conference include:

  • Sport for Change – should it be delivered by separate providers or is about a different approach?
  • What does the sports club of the future look like? How can our community sports clubs change and adapt to be relevant in a changing world?
  • Sport or physical activity – is there a difference and does it matter?
  • Who is going to get the inactive active? How do we develop a more welcoming and relevant workforce?
  • How do the health sector view sport and physical activity? How can the two collaborate to get more Scots moving?
  • What is the role of the modern governing body sport? Just running their sport or being a community partner or something in between?
  • In times of austerity, how can local authorities still play a positive part in getting Scottish people active?
  • How do we encourage innovation and enterprise to develop new initiatives to get more people active?

Delegates will come from community sports clubs, Community Sport Hubs, governing bodies of sport, local authorities, community sports trusts at our professional and semi-pro clubs, informal sports providers, community sports enterprises, leisure trusts, patient groups, universities, colleges, sports governing bodies, community groups and other community sports providers.