Sport for Change and Social Good – a different approach, not a separate sector

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Sport for Change and Social Good – a different approach, not a separate sector

A massive opportunity for community sport and physical activity to reach new groups and grow your impact.
Across the UK we are experiencing an increased focus on the wider role that sport and physical activity can play in our communities and our lives. In some quarters that approach is called for sport for social good, some call it sport for change and others call it sport for development. In the end, it is all about the wider benefits that sport and physical activity can bring to individual and communities.
Until now there has almost been a separate sector covering this work and in England, the Sport for Development Coalition and in Scotland the Sport for Change Network has been the ‘home’ of providers and funders sport for change/social good.
In particular, many of our governing bodies of sport and our community sports clubs have taken a sport for sport’s sake approach, believing that sport is living in splendid isolation from the rest of society. Increasingly, they are waking to the fact that if their sport and clubs are to prosper in a more connected world they will have to play a bigger role in people’s lives.
So, we are gradually getting away from two separate sectors, which is great and we are experiencing bodies such as Cricket Scotland and their #MoreThanCricket conference and the Football Association of Wales Trust and their #MoreThanAClub programme. Through our work here we have come across a number of community clubs which are growing because their engagement with people around goes way beyond just the sport, so both parties benefit.
How you then develop the Sport for Change and Social Good approach is something we cover at three one-day workshops which take place in Stirling on the 21st November, London (Ealing) on the 28th and Birmingham 30th November. For the full programme and booking details click here).

At these workshops, we will cover how to benefit from and how to implement a Sport for Change and Social Good approach. We will provide you with thoughts, tools and to-dos on how to develop and deliver initiatives which can make a real difference. We will also cover how to

  • build a team of committed, passionate and inspirational staff (and volunteers)
  • acquire an understanding of community and individual needs
  • develop the ability to work jointly with others
  • grow consistency and sustainability of the approach
  • develop a clear strategy and action plan for accessing funding
  • link with key priority areas such as community cohesion, playing a role in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, helping to improve education and employability, and health and wellbeing and other
  • build a sustainable organisation – building capacity, working with staff and volunteers, finances
  • develop the right an organisational structure – to ensure that quality of delivery is high and aligned to the desired outcomes
  • build evidence – how to align with outcomes and report against these effectively, providing guidance and tools for different settings, how to measure outcomes and not just outputs

All this will be provided in an engaging and interactive way, using jargon-free language and case-studies from                    sports and community organisations of                             ll shapes and sizes.

Who should attend this workshop:

This workshop is aimed at people who are involved with sports and physical activity organisations interested in developing sport for change and social good initiatives such as governing bodies of sports, Community Sports Hubs, Country Sports Partnerships, community sports trusts, sports clubs, leisure trusts, funding bodes, school sports partnerships and activators

People who are involved with community organisations interested in using sport and physical to engage with people and communities such as housing associations, Police, social enterprises, health and patient organisations, Local Authorities, voluntary organisations, funding bodies, NHS and Public Health

We look forward to hearing from you and to help develop a Sport for Change and Social Good approach

We must support our Community Sports Change Makers

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We must support our Community Sports Change Makers – or we will lose them

Helping them to overcome resistance to change at clubs, regions and governing bodies

 

Over the years I have been running the Sports Marketing Network, I have had the great pleasure and privilege to meet some incredible Community Sports Entrepreneurs or Community Sports Change Makers. People who come across a challenge that they simply have to address or an opportunity that they simply want to exploit.

Very rarely, do they do this for financial gain, often they lose money, certainly in the beginning but they want to make an impact in their community. They may start a stand-alone social enterprise working desperately hard to ensure that they are financially sustainable while they are doing good in the communities or they may be involved with an existing club that they want to drive forward.

All good stuff I hear you say, but sadly in far too many cases are these people being ignored and discouraged and rarely are they being supported by ‘the system’.

They tend to focus on getting on with the job, are rarely on the radar of the people ‘up there’, their solutions are mostly based on solving needs and not following strategies and they tend to be ‘doers’ and not ‘politicians.

When indeed they break through they can make a real difference, such as Simply Cycling in Wythenshawe Park, where Sue Blaylock completely off her back set up this all ability cycling social enterprise http://www.simply-cycling.org. And at Lymm Rugby Club where Simon Plumb is behind their annual Panto which brings in £30.000 every year which enabled the club to buy the field next door for some more pitches http://www.adultpanto.com/. (In neither case has the respective governing body had any involvement, which is a bit of a shame).

No, those people do not really fit in, but, they are making a difference in their communities.
Compare that to three cases I personally have come across the last few weeks where three Change Makers, who have volunteered within traditional sports clubs and who all three had made a real difference within those clubs (they thought) now have thrown in the towel and left their clubs. They simply could not fight the naysayers and diehards at the clubs and those clubs will much the poorer for it.

So, who will now drive these clubs forward and make sure they are relevant in the 21st century?

At the same time, most clubs tell us that they can’t get volunteers, but obviously they only want volunteers who don’t want to change anything!

So, unless we change tack we will keep losing great people who one way or the other can make a real difference in community sport. These people can not be replaced by some top-down strategies or funding streams that go to the same bodies delivering the same projects, in the same way, achieving the same outcomes…

5 Sport for Change and Social Good Workshops:

Workshops will run from 9.30 am – 4.00 pm

21st November 2018
University of Stirling
Stirling

22nd November 2018
Sheffield Institute of Sport
Sheffield

27th November 2018
University of South Wales, Treforest Campus
Cardiff

28th November 2018
Trailfinders Sports Club, Ealing
London

30th November 2018
Deal Cultural Centre, Ladywood
Birmingham

So, here are some initiatives and ideas which we here at SMN feel could help our Community Sports Change Makers; it would be great to hear your feedback:

1. Every fund set up to fund community sport and physical activity projects should allocate 10% to ‘weird and wacky’ projects. Just allocate small ‘seed; amounts and if/when the project is looking good then you can provide further financial and mentoring support. And encourage video applications – not many 17-year-olds can be bothered to complete the standard 37-page application form

2. SMN will collect and disseminate examples of best practice from community sports enterprises, support providers at all stages of their development, bring enterprises from different parts of the UK together so they can learn and share, run workshops and produce guides on non-sport specific issues facing community sports providers and generally provide support on their enterprise aspects.

3. SNm will help train potential sports entrepreneurs on how to develop and run successful and sustainable providers for the benefit of their customers and communities. We will also help educate sports/enterprise/community professionals on the various aspects of community sports enterprise, so they are better equipped to understand and support budding sports entrepreneurs.

4. Community Sports Enterprise needs champions and SNN will highlight the great work done by so many people within the sector and ensure that they will act as role models and beacons.

5. We will set up a free, confidential, remote mentoring service where Community Sports Change Makers can contact us (on a fair-use basis) and get help, a shoulder to cry on and ideas on how to move forward in the best way.

It would be great to hear from you.

Sport for Change and Social Good

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Sport for Change and Social Good Workshops 

 

How you can change people’s lives through sport and physical activity
in a vibrant, visible and viable way

 

A series of workshops for professionals and volunteers held across the UK

 

Providing thoughts, tools and to-dos in an inspiring and effective way

 

Sport for Change and Social Good Workshops will run from 9.30 am – 4.00 pm

21st November 2018
University of Stirling
Stirling

22nd November 2018
Sheffield Institute of Sport
Sheffield

27th November 2018
University of South Wales, Treforest Campus
Cardiff

28th November 2018
Trailfinders Sports Club, Ealing
London

30th November 2018
Deal Cultural Centre, Ladywood
Birmingham

From sport for sport’s sake to sport for change and social good – how?

Sport and physical activity have an incredible power to create social change and across the UK there is an increasing focus on how sport and physical activity can deliver social good in their communities and help people change their lives through sport and physical activity. And many organisations of all shapes and sizes are already delivering great work in this field, having a major impact on their communities.

However, there is also uncertainty across many sports and physical activity organisations as for how best to start on the journey of changing communities and lives through sport.

This is no longer about a debate ‘sport for sport’s sake vs. ‘sport for change/social good but about how sports and physical activity providers can attract more people by working closely with community bodies such as Housing, patient associations, faith centres, Police and education (at all levels) and become a hub for their communities.
By doing so you will also be able to attract new skilled and passionate volunteers and funding from non-sports funders because of your social impact.
So by dealing with inequality in sports participation, helping to create community cohesion, playing a role in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, helping to improve education and employability, and health and wellbeing sport and physical activity providers can grow their numbers, reach and impact.

There are already a number of exciting initiatives taking place across the UK developed and delivered by enterprising organisations from across a number of sectors both within sport and physical activity and beyond and Sports Marketing Network are indeed working with some of them.

We have developed all our material based on best practice and you can now learn from the best.

This workshop will help you to become a Community Sports Change Maker

Over the last 10-11 years, SMN has developed a vast expertise and experience working with a number of amazing community sports entrepreneurs who have developed vibrant, visible and viable hubs for their communities. We have seen what works whether they are based in rural Scotland such as Galloway Cricket Club) or inner-city Leeds, such as Hunslet Club and we have developed a massive library of best-practice studies and built a great toolbox of action plans and templates.
So, we will be sharing all this with you on these five interactive and engaging workshops.

By attending the Sport for Change and Social Good workshop you will learn to develop

  • a sport for change and social approach – understanding what works, how to achieve change, clarity of purpose around connections to the outcomes you want to achieve, learning from others
  • a team of committed, passionate and inspirational staff (and volunteers)
  • an understanding of community and individual needs
  • an inclusive approach
  • a community development approach
  • an ability to work jointly with others
  • consistency and sustainability of approach
  • a clear intention to bring about change through sport and physical activity
  • a clear strategy and action plan for accessing funding
  • links with key priority areas such as community cohesion, playing a role in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, helping to improve education and employability, and health and wellbeing and other
  • a sustainable organisation – building capacity, working with staff and volunteers, finances
  • an organisational structure – to ensure that quality of delivery is high and aligned to the desired outcomes
  • evidence – how to align with outcomes and report against these effectively, providing guidance and tools for different settings, how to measure outcomes and not just outputs

All this will be provided in an engaging and interactive way, using jargon-free language and case-studies from sports and community organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Who should attend this workshop: This workshop is aimed at people who are involved with sports and physical activity organisations interested in developing sport for change and social good initiatives such as governing bodies of sports, Community Sports Hubs, Country Sports Partnerships, community sports trusts, sports clubs, leisure trusts, funding bodes, school sports partnerships and activators

People who are involved with community organisations interested in using sport and physical to engage with people and communities such as housing associations, Police, social enterprises, health and patient organisations, Local Authorities, voluntary organisations, funding bodies, NHS and Public Health,

The presenter:
Svend Elkjaer, the presenter is one the UK’s leading advocates for and expert in the role that sport and physical activity can play in bringing about positive change for individuals and communities.
He has probably more experience than anybody else in developing and delivering innovative and effective services and support for sports clubs and community sports enterprises helping them to change lives and communities.

Having worked closely with a number of major community organisations and sports bodies across the UK and Denmark we also appreciate that there are significant cultural differences from sport to sport, from community to community and indeed from club to club. So we are able and agile to make a real difference.

More than 4,000 sports providers have benefitted from SMN’s services attending our workshops and presentations, being mentored or receiving consultancy. SMN has also advised, consulted and trained a number of organisations and public bodies including the RFU, FA, Cricket Scotland, Amateur Swimming Association, British Gymnastics, Sport Wales, England Golf, England Athletics, sportscotland, etc. and 50+ local authorities from London, via Merthyr Tydfil to Dundee and Copenhagen.

Interested in learning more about this exciting programme and how we can help your club(s) to become Community Sports Change Makers and run vibrant, visible and viable sports facilities and clubs, then get in touch.
Get in touch on +44 1423 326 660 or email svend@smnuk.com

Introducing: the Community Sports Change Maker

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Help our sports club make a real change
We must help our community sports clubs play a bigger role in their communities

Introducing:
the Community Sports Change Maker

Many traditional community sports clubs are struggling to attract players and volunteers and to generate the income required to provide a really great experience at their club.

Certainly, in many of our team sports such as football, rugby league and union and cricket many clubs are experiencing dwindling numbers. (We understand that the number of clubs entered into the National Village Cricket Cup has gone from 700 to 300 in a few years).
At the same time, we are seeing and are indeed working with, a number of community sports clubs across the UK who are growing, generating income, attracting volunteers and developing new partnerships. So what is the difference? What are these clubs doing to make this happen?

Simple answer: They are more than just sports clubs – they are a hub for their communities.

They play a part in people’s lives, they involve the whole family and community, they can be based in rural Scotland such as Galloway Cricket Club or inner city Leeds, such as Hunslet Club but they are all making a real change in the community around them. And that’s is why they are growing. They do not see sporting success as the be all and end all; if it happens fine, if not, fine anyway.

These clubs, we call them Community Sports Enterprises, have often been doing their great work in isolation with little support or inspiration. Many of them have attended one of our Grow Your Club workshops and some have spoken at our events or featured in our newsletters and on our website. But, they need a higher profile and more inspiration.
Some visionary governing bodies and other sports organisations have brought us in to help these thriving enterprises to grow and it’s been great to see the impact that has made (see below).

#MoreThan – the way forward

It is no coincidence that the club enterprise programme SMN are delivering for Cricket Scotland is called #MoreThanCricket, that the similar programme we are delivering for the Football Association of Wales Trust is called #MoreThanAClub and that the programme we delivered for England Golf was called #MoreThanGolf

I am sure you get my point.

Across the UK there is, at Government level, increasing focus on how sport can be a catalyst for change and social good. This is we are seeing programmes like Changing Lives through Sport and Physical Activity in Scotland and Healthy and Active Fund in Wales where clubs and community organisations are required to collaborate to deliver real benefits to their communities in order to access the funding.
(And I can guarantee you those clubs that get involved with these projects are the thriving ones, win/win).
Our community sports clubs can become Community Sports Change Makers which is an enterprise which changes people’s lives through sport, in a vibrant, visible and viable way.

The model illustrates how community sports clubs, by having the right vision and by being run as a vibrant, visible and viable enterprise they can also deliver real benefits in their communities These go hand in hand: “You can’t make changes to people’s lives if you are not a sustainable enterprise, because you won’t be around for long”.

So, if your club is a well-run enterprise you can be involved in improving health and wellbeing, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, create community cohesion and improve people’s health and well-being, to name a few.

You will also be able to develop partnerships with a wide range of community organisations which will bring new players, volunteers and income streams to your club.

An example is the number of cases where we are experiencing productive partnerships between community sports clubs and Housing Associations. The latter want happy, healthy tenants and that is something that welcoming and engaging sports club can deliver.

So, if you are ‘just sport’ I wish you the best of luck (because you will need it), but you are ‘more than sport’, well done.

Yes, these are challenging and exciting times for community sports clubs,

SMN will soon be launching a series of workshops and guides on How to become a Community Sports Change Maker. If you want to learn more about we can help your organisation or club, please do get in touch.

New places and new people – a different approach to engaging with inactive people

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New places and new people – a different approach to engaging with inactive people

London Sport may have found an answer to the question of how to get more inactive people active

(hint: it may not necessarily involve sports clubs, leisure centres or sports coaches)

Over the years we have seen study after study, read report after report and listened to many conference presentations, all talking about how to get physically inactive people more active.

And, it has to be said, whatever figures you see, that we haven’t really seen massive increases in the number of inactive people taking up sport and physical activity. We do have plenty of people involved with sports coaching and sports development praising the wonders of being active, but in many cases, they talk to themselves and not to the inactive and the people and places they connect with. So, what to do? How do we engage with the inactive people and get them active?

For a while, London Sport, the County Sports Partnership for London, has been studying and considering how to develop a broader and better workforce for getting people active. A couple of weeks ago they published a framework for realising the ambition of London becoming the most physically active in the world and you see the document here.

The challenge of the traditional workforce

The research reveals that 48% of inactive Londoners don’t feel that the traditional workforce (sports clubs, leisure centres and sports coaches), meet their current needs.

At the same time, 38% of people within the traditional workforce in London see working with inactive people as their role (which means that almost two-thirds of sports coaches and clubs in London do not see working with inactive people as their role). Please read that again – yes, so, a large majority of people involved with sport and physical only want to engage with people who already active.
No wonder then that 78% of the traditional workforce doesn’t feel confident that their approach works effectively with inactive people.

So if a cricketer wants to improve his reverse sweep or a gymnast wants to develop her somersault then the traditional coaches at our community sports clubs or leisure centres are more than happy to work with them. But for the inactive person, perhaps with less talent, the situation is more bleak – sop where and to whom do they go get motivated to become active? Answers on a postcard, please.

So, despite all our coach education, club development initiatives and legacy programmes from London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 there is a considerable gap between the traditional sports delivery system and people who simply do not feel that the current places and people where they want to join. (Yes, this research only covers London, but in our experience, these figures represent a fairly universal picture).

Yes, as London Sport points out, we need a better workforce, which can provide a better experience catering to the diverse needs of the inactive part of the population and a broader workforce which involves non-sport organisations from housing to faith centres.
Inactive people want to enjoy themselves, have fun, improve their skills and be part of a welcoming social and sporting experience. Yes, if possible, they want to develop their skills, but they want to do so in an engaging way; they don’t want to be put under undue pressure from an over-ambitious and zealous coach. Also, they want to be active in an environment which they know and where they feel comfortable and at home, which is probably not a leisure centre or sports club full of fit people in leotards!

So, we need to distinguish between ‘sports coaches/fitness instructors’ and the ‘activators/hosts’ who get inactive people into regular activity: We call them Activity Growers.

An Activity Grower is a person who removes the barriers inactive people experience when wanting to become more active and then focus on keeping them motivated, engaged and active.

  1. They engage with local communities and link up with inactive people based on their age, health condition, ethnicity, demographics, and/or location
  2. They are welcoming people in all shapes and sizes
  3. They provide experiences which all types of participants can enjoy
  4. They tell their story through photos, videos and hashtags. From flyers to Instagram – efficient and effective communication
  5. They develop the enterprise culture and skills which can help ensure long-term sustainability
Here based on our work with hundreds and hundreds of all types of providers are some suggestions on how to keep people active from cradle to care-home. • Understand people life stages and adapt your customer offering, experience and communication to each of them. From child to teenager, from boy/girl about town to young parent, and so on. From All-Star cricket for 5-8-year – olds to walking football/basketball to the older generation and everything in between • We are all different and want to be listened to and treated as individuals • We all want to have fun. But, what fun for the coach is rarely what is fun for the average 14-year old. To keep people stay within sport they will have to love it, otherwise, they will lose heart and leave. Get them involved, put a smile on their faces and help them to progress at their pace. Remember that love does change over the years so you will have to change with it.

So, there seems to be a great scope for developing much more innovative solutions for engaging with the ‘hard-to-reach’ communities. Golf in mosques and care-homes, cricket on beaches or football on housing estates, the list goes on…
Remember, this is about getting people active and not about winning medals (having said that, Moen Alli, the England cricketer started playing with a taped tennis ball in a car park…)

Yes, London Sport is absolutely right. If we are to attract and retain more people in sport and physical activity we need to recruit and develop a much broader workforce based in our communities.

Here a Sports Marketing Network we would be delighted to be involved with delivering that.

Time to change our volunteer awards in community sport

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Time to change our volunteer awards in community sport

 

By Ian Sandbrook, Founder/Owner,
Sport for Good Consulting,
former Head of Participation, Cricket Scotland

I love volunteering. I champion it at every chance and believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of it, both for the sport, and the individual. Volunteers truly are the lifeblood of our sport. However, this is where I’m a bit controversial. We need to change our traditional way of recognising volunteers – the good old ‘Volunteer Awards’.

Sport for Good consulting exists to inspire, connect and support sport providers to become community sport enterprises: community-focussed, socially aware and customer-led.

They with sports associations and clubs to help make them relevant to their communities.

Based in New Zealand they cover both New Zealand and Australia

Don’t get me wrong, recognising the huge efforts of volunteers is crucial and awards functions are fantastic ways to celebrate the many outstanding contributions people make. I just think the award categories are unimaginative and even slightly counter-productive to encouraging new volunteers. Let me explain.

I used to run Volunteer Awards for many years in a previous job. They were well intentioned and we made the best efforts we could to recognise key volunteers. We had awards and categories like volunteer of the month, volunteer of the year, life-time service, coach of the year, official of the year etc. These are all very worthy categories and the people that were recognised no doubt appreciated it.

However, what I noticed after a number of years were some interesting trends:

• Many of the same volunteers were nominated each year
• Many of those nominated had given long-term service
• Often clubs were overly reliant on these individuals
• Generally, we always had to twist arms and chase clubs up to get them to nominate people

When I reflected on this, I just wasn’t comfortable with what we were doing. Not only was it not capturing the hearts and minds of the clubs we were trying to motivate, it wasn’t actually aligned to the club development approach I wanted to take. We were just doing it to tick a box and because it was the right thing to do.
Inadvertently, our awards were really set up to recognise the great club stalwart that had basically given their life to the club. Subliminally, we were sending out the message that to get the recognition you had to give up your life or simply be the best coach or official. How was that helping us encourage new volunteers in this day and age? Most people don’t have the time or the desire to do that but that shouldn’t mean their contribution is less worthy. We needed to celebrate the many small contributions that make a difference, as a way of encouraging a more healthy club environment and realistic approach to volunteering. Essentially, we wanted to encourage ‘bite-sized volunteering’.
Again, please don’t take this the wrong way. Those stalwarts are hugely important, still deserve to be recognised, and this isn’t meant to demean their outstanding contributions. I just believe it shouldn’t be the overall thrust of our approach if our priority is to try and attract more, and new, people to get involved.
In my opinion, the award categories we put in place should reflect the behaviours we want our clubs to demonstrate. Isn’t that the big picture reason for running volunteer awards?

So what are the behaviours we want clubs to embrace that will ultimately help them improve? How about how welcoming they are, how well they engage with their communities, ways they’ve generated new income, how they’ve engaged new people at the club etc.

Therefore, I made the decision with the support of a great mentor, Svend Elkjaer from Sports Marketing Network, to fundamentally change our awards from ‘Volunteer Awards’ to ‘Club Awards’, with the following categories:

• ‘Volunteer Awards to ‘Club Awards’
• Most Welcoming Club
• Best Use of Bite-sized Volunteers at a Club
• Most Innovative Income Generation at a Club
• Strongest Community Engagement by a Club
• Best Use of Social Media at a Club
• Biggest Change-Maker at a Club

These categories aligned with our club development approach, and crucially, to the behaviours we wanted clubs to start to demonstrate.

All the categories are still driven by volunteers but the focus was taken away from the individual and more focussed on the ‘team’ effort in improving aspects of the club.

The results were interesting. We had record numbers of nominations, we had new people and groups of people volunteering and being nominated, and we had clubs doing things they had never even thought of doing before. It challenged the clubs’ thinking, exactly what we were trying to achieve.

So let’s be a bit more thoughtful about our volunteer recognition.

Make people feel special and valued but have some method behind it.

Thriving Clubs programme is helping cricket clubs in Scotland to become more vibrant, visible and viable
This new award programme formed part of the Thriving Clubs programme that Ian Sandbrook launched when he was Head of Participation at Cricket Scotland, working with SMN.

The programme includes:

• staff development, training by SMN
• SMN mentor support to the most aspiring clubs
• Staff mentor to other clubs

• Grow Your ClubClub Workshops
• Webinars
• ‘How to’ Guides
• Best practice e-newsletters
• Club Awards
• #MoreThanCricket club conference

SMN are currently delivering a similar two-year programme for Football Association of Wales Trust and their 450-odd junior clubs and we are about to announce other clib enterprise programmes for sports bodies and leagues.