Getting more people active Oxfordshire

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Getting more people active

How to attract more people into our clubs, centres, parks and events

 

9.00 am – 4.00 pm, 10th December 2021

Exeter Hall, Oxford Road,

Kidlington, OX5 1AB

 

An inspiring and innovative one-day workshop for everyone involved with community sports, physical activity and health & wellness

New challenges and opportunities post-pandemic…

Despite continued efforts, and various initiatives, community sport and physical activity in England has not managed to significantly increase participation among people with different attributes and backgrounds (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion) in a meaningful way.

Also, we continue to see those groups lag behind their white counterparts in terms of being physically active and living long and healthy lives.

The sporting landscape has changed enormously in recent years. Government and community expectations for good governance, integrity, equality, member protection and child safeguarding means that providing safe, fair and inclusive sporting environments is no longer an aspiration, but an imperative.

The demographic of the communities in which sport operates has also changed dramatically. Our culturally, linguistically and gender diverse communities are looking for sporting options and experiences that celebrate diversity, promote inclusion, and most importantly, make people feel like they belong.

Getting-more-people-active-Oxfordshire-10.12.202

Community sport needs to adopt a new mindset and learn a new skill set – taking the best from successful social enterprises and the hospitality sector.  It has to recognise that sport operates in the experience business and that it is competing for people’s leisure time and money and has to attract people away from online shopping, watching Love Island, apathy, etc. by providing better experiences for each customer segment.

Life is changing and providers within community sport have to change with it, full stop. Or even better – if you listen to people and their lives you should be able to anticipate the changes in their needs and wants. You can then adapt your offering and service so you are always that half a step ahead. 

 We need more welcoming activators – not more technical coaches

 For many people, great coaching is roughly 10% technical skill, 20% being reactive and able to think on your feet and about 70% being nice to people. In their research into the sporting workforce published in 2017, London Sport asked almost 2000 regular Londoners what they’d mostly be looking for in a sports leader and things like ‘focused on fitness’ and ‘focused on technique’ came pretty far down the list. What came out consistently on top were qualities like ‘motivating’, ‘friendly’ and ‘not going to judge me’.

Increasingly there has to be a focus on improving customer experience, developing more efficient systems and ensuring a sustainable balance between sporting ambitions and economic resources.  This calls for a new mindset and skill set – it is no longer enough to have passion for your club and sport; you need competencies.

You are not ‘just a sports place’

You are in the experience business

I guess most people who work in sport and active leisure sector do so because they love their sport, but in reality, their key role is to provide great sporting and customer experiences which people will want to return to. We do compete for people’s leisure time and money, so if you want to attract people away from the shopping centres, watching Love Island, apathy etc. we must provide a better alternative.  So welcoming people, the right social life, friendly, competent coaches/instructors and clean toilets are not just after-thoughts, they are key parts of the experience you provide, as is a welcoming handshake and a smile accompanied with a “Welcome to our place.”

 We believe, and increasingly research proves, that you simply have to consistently provide consumer experiences that people will want to join – and pay for as customers.  Because that’s what they are: Customers.  Regardless of whether you are coaching in a sports club, trying to attract 50 more people to your local club or leisure centre, you can grow by focusing on your customers. Listen to them and provide them with a better experience.  And the good news is that it does not have to cost a penny.

 A workshop with exciting, practical content delivered in an engaging way…

 This workshop will provide you thoughts, tools and to-dos that you use there and then to get more people active.

It will cover

  •  Being a great experience provider
  • People are different. Some are nervous, some indifferent, some energetic and a whole range of other things, Whatever the person type, they all have to be motivated; often in different ways. In addition, there can be many different stakeholders: participants, members, parents, officials and other coaches amongst others. This section will focus on how to communicate effectively with all of these different groups. They will all want great experiences but that means different things to different people. Opportunities for using social media to stay in touch with people (in line with appropriate safeguarding rules) will also be highlighted.
  • Physical activity does not have to take place in a club or leisure centre Many ‘sports’ places deter inactive people (do they really want all those unfit and non-sporty people there?

 

  • “thinking differently is the key to getting all parts of society active”
  • Identify
  • Work with Community Connectors – People with a special gift for bringing people and communities together
  • Take your project into your community – shopping centres, community events, housing estates, parks
  • Think of the whole experience of joining your club: (Moment Mapping)
  • Be more than just a place for being active
  • How to run a really open Open Day
  • The three 2s – The Simplest Guide Ever to Grow the Number of People at Your Club. 2 seconds: First impressions count. 2 minutes (welcome) 2 hours (the whole experience)

This workshop is aimed at

  • The existing workforce helping them to develop and encourage a new way of thinking within the current workforce
  • New providers attracting a new type of delivery agent from outside the traditional sport sector
  • Social entrepreneurs stepping forward and support their ideas

 

What is your purpose?

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What is your purpose? Do you know?

Do your members, stakeholders know? Does the community know?

In the business world, it is a fact that purpose-driven companies witness higher market share and grow faster, all while achieving a higher workforce and customer satisfaction.Over the years I have asked leaders in sports clubs and bodies, public health bodies, activity providers and many others the simple questions: “What is your purpose? What are you for?”

To be honest, most of the answers were either all over the place or they were very narrow such as “we are a football club, we are a leisure centre or we are a sports body”. Those attitudes will not help create enterprising, sustainable organisations which can develop a real impact for members, stakeholders and the wider community, rather the reverse.

A clear purpose is everything to an organisation. It articulates why an organisation exists, what problems it is here to solve and who it wants to be to each human it touches through its work.

All our work over the years has demonstrated that sports and community bodies with a clear purpose create deeper connections with people and communities, attract and retain talent, and indeed funding and thus achieve greater results and impact

Authenticity is paramount

 Unfortunately, we have also seen cases, some bodies come up with a clever strapline highlighting their, alleged, wider purpose while at the same time continuing ‘just being sport’ and people and the community see straight through that.

 

To paraphrase Groucho Marx:

So here are some ways you can demonstrate your authenticity in everything you do:

 

  1. Tell your story and make it impactful, demonstrating your commitment to creating an impact
  2. Walk the walk by being transparent and accountable for everything you do. There is now incredible transparency and we all have data at our fingertips, and you can achieve ‘trusted status’ by opening up new connections while growing your impact and scope.
  3. Put all humans at the heart of your decisions, by leading with purpose by occupying a meaningful place in the hearts and minds of all the people you touch.
  4. Let the purpose evolve, revisit your body’s cultural DNA and engage with siloed people and refine who you are in the world

So why does your centre/club/body exist?

Where have you come from? How did we get here? What makes us unique to members, volunteers, partners and the wider community

 

Getting people on board

It’s paramount that you take people with you and that they feel fully connected with your purpose. Unfortunately, we have seen cases where that was not the case with members, volunteers and staff and the whole thing falls flat.

This can not just be communicated through a presentation/statement from the Chair and/or a glossy Powerpoint presentation.  This is about commitment and execution – day in, day out!

How Edinburgh Spartans Academy’s purpose is ‘Here for good’

The charity is based in one of Scotland’s most deprived areas, Pilton, and seeks to deliver a positive impact through the power of people and sport in the local community and beyond.

They seek to achieve this through the delivery of a wide range of community-based programmes. E.g. from various youth work-based provisions to opportunities for young people to enjoy recreational activities and the chance to play in a safe, clean and modern space.

They provide a wide range of volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and support the education of young people through their Homework Clubs,

Alternative School and by providing a full-time youth worker for 2 local primary schools.  They also deliver football coaching programmes for children from age 3-12 years. 

They are recognised as one of the leading sport-based charities in the country and held up as an exemplar project by the Scottish Government.

Since 2008, The Spartans Community Football Academy has been working with the local community and their partners to deliver programmes and initiatives that have a lasting positive social impact in North Edinburgh.

 

Here for Good helps Edinburgh Spartans make a massive impact during Covid-19

A social enterprise doing good…

Spartans Community Football Academy is mindful of the challenges facing many young people and their families in our local area. They operate their facilities and community coaching programmes as a social enterprise, reinvesting profits back into the business to support our positive social impact in the community. When you buy coaching sessions for your kids or simply have a cup of coffee in our cafe you are helping them to change lives through sport.

Dealing with food insecurity 

After thrusting into the food insecurity space in 2020, they needed to continue to play their part, to do something relevant and sustainable. In addition, they wanted to supplement and support newly established provisions created to help tackle this ever-increasing social need.

Their new ‘Roots Shoots and Scores’ food production and sustainability education programme was launched and has flourished this past year. As part of this new innovative programme developed in partnership with ReThink Food Futures, school children learn about social business and are allowed to lead, manage and run a weekly pop-up pantry, which provides local families with a weekly food parcel. Families are invited to make an affordable donation if they are in a position to do so.

 In addition, their ‘blue coats’ have played a key part in helping to support local children and young people this past year. New projects – such as Sphero Superstars – have helped to improve children skills set, heighten engagement levels and shine a light on the amazing talent and capabilities which exist in our local Primary Schools. Now more than ever, they are driven to play their part in helping to close an attainment gap that has sadly increased as a result of the pandemic.

Running their “Girls in STEM” programme

 

Their Still Kicking programme attracts women of all ages each week. A welcoming place to socialise and be physically active. Free to attend every Thursday in Edinburgh.

Next blog:

How Westquarter & Redding Cricket Club went from a small cricket club to a community hub and #MoreThanAClub

Environment Agency launches a drive against plastics in sport

Hits: 37

Marathon runners who litter should be disqualified, the Environment Agency has suggested, as it launches a drive against plastics in sport. 

New guidance for sporting events issued this week suggests ways that cycling and running races can reduce their plastic use, with thousands of plastics cups and bottles typically given out and discarded at races every year.

Mass races have returned to Britain’s streets this year following suspensions in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are concerns about their impact on the environment.

Participants should be encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles, while race organisers should consider scrapping bibs or plastic numbers in favour of writing them on arms and legs, the guidance says.

 Goody bags” given to successful finishers could also be eschewed to reduce waste, the agency said.

“Some events have successfully imposed a ban on littering, disqualifying participants that drop any litter on the course,” it added.

“This ensures participants are responsible for their own waste, intertwines sustainability within the event and makes littering socially unacceptable.” 

One event, the New Forest Marathon, uses cardboard cups rather than plastic cups or bottles, and requires runners to drop them within designated drinks zones, with anyone seen dropping them outside these areas disqualified.

If runners need to dispose of food and drink packaging outside these areas, they can give it to a marshal.

Another popular event, the Conwy Half Marathon, has a similar policy. Guidance for runners on its website says: “Runners will now be disqualified and taken off the results if seen discarding their rubbish outside of a water stop or not with a marshal.”

Wild Running, an event organiser whose races include a Dartmoor ultra-marathon and a Lake District fell running camp, said it was encouraging participants to bring their own collapsible cups.

 

Ceri Rees, the founder of Wild Running, said: “We should all be in this for the long run, and hold event organisers accountable for their race equipment.”

Barry Hopkins, the director of Sporting Events UK, said: “We have been using reusable timing chips, with low plastic content, which can last for hundreds of thousands of active scans. Many of our signage items are produced in such a way that we can reuse them at future events.”

Organisers of this year’s London Marathon, due to be held on October 3, are encouraging participants to buy an £11.99 bottle belt so they can carry their own water to reduce potential Covid-19 transmission through contact, as well as reduce waste.

 

Banning soft drinks in plastic bottles

Similar guidelines for sporting venues suggest banning soft drinks in plastic bottles and providing water fountains and reusable cups on a deposit return scheme instead.

The guidance says: “Consider providing refill fountains for athletes and staff too, so they can reduce their single use plastic consumption and keep well-hydrated. Athletes can be ambassadors for behaviour change if they are visibly seen using a refillable bottle.” 

The new documents have been produced on behalf of the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution project, an Anglo-French partnership of expert organisations working to reduce plastic pollution in the rivers and oceans.

Hannah Amor, the project lead at the Environment Agency’s plastics and sustainability team, said: “Experts tell us that 50 per cent of all plastic produced is for single-use items – things that are used for only a few moments and then thrown away. This is having a detrimental impact on our planet.

“The sports industry is in the unique position of being able to influence millions of people worldwide by  leading the way in sustainability and setting a good example.  ‘“By minimising avoidable plastic consumption, the industry can help reduce the impact of plastic on our planet, reduce its carbon footprint and contribution to the climate crisis – possibly saving money at the same time.”

 

Getting more people active

Hits: 24

Getting more people active

How to attract more people into our clubs, centres, parks and events

 An inspiring and innovative one-day workshop for everyone involved with

community sports, physical activity and health & wellness

 Despite continued efforts, and various initiatives, community sport and physical activity in England has not managed to significantly increase participation among people with different attributes and backgrounds (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion) in a meaningful way.

 Also, we continue to see those groups lag behind their white counterparts in terms of being physically active and living long and healthy lives.

 The sporting landscape has changed enormously in recent years. Government and community expectations for good governance, integrity, equality, member protection and child safeguarding means that providing safe, fair and inclusive sporting environments is no longer an aspiration, but an imperative.

 The demographic of the communities in which sport operates has also changed dramatically. Our culturally, linguistically and gender diverse communities are looking for sporting options and experiences that celebrate diversity, promote inclusion, and most importantly, make people feel like they belong.

 Community sport needs to adopt a new mindset and learn a new skill set – taking the best from successful social enterprises and the hospitality sector.  It has to recognise that sport operates in the experience business and that it is competing for people’s leisure time and money and has to attract people away from online shopping, watching Love Island, apathy, etc. by providing better experiences for each customer segment.

Life is changing and providers within community sport have to change with it, full stop. Or even better – if you listen to people and their lives you should be able to anticipate the changes in their needs and wants. You can then adapt your offering and service so you are always that half a step ahead. 

We need more welcoming activators – not more technical coaches

For many people, great coaching is roughly 10% technical skill, 20% being reactive and able to think on your feet and about 70% being nice to people. In their research into the sporting workforce published in 2017, London Sport asked almost 2000 regular Londoners what they’d mostly be looking for in a sports leader and things like ‘focused on fitness’ and ‘focused on technique’ came pretty far down the list. What came out consistently on top were qualities like ‘motivating’, ‘friendly’ and ‘not going to judge me’.

Increasingly there has to be a focus on improving customer experience, developing more efficient systems and ensuring a sustainable balance between sporting ambitions and economic resources.  This calls for a new mindset and skill set – it is no longer enough to have passion for your club and sport; you need competencies.

You are not ‘just a sports place’

You are in the experience business

I guess most people who work in sport and active leisure sector do so because they love their sport, but in reality, their key role is to provide

great sporting and customer experiences which people will want to return to.

We do compete for people’s leisure time and money, so if you want to attract people away from the shopping centres, watching Love Island, apathy etc. we must provide a better alternative.  So welcoming people, the right social life, friendly, competent coaches/instructors and clean toilets are not just after-thoughts, they are key parts of the experience you provide, as is a welcoming handshake and a smile accompanied with a “Welcome to our place.”

 

We believe, and increasingly research proves, that you simply have to consistently provide consumer experiences that people will want to join – and pay for as customers.  Because that’s what they are: Customers.  Regardless of whether you are coaching in a sports club, trying to attract 50 more people to your local club or leisure centre, you can grow by focusing on your customers. Listen to them and provide them with a better experience.  And the good news is that it does not have to cost a penny.

A workshop with exciting, practical content delivered in an engaging way…

This workshop will provide you thoughts, tools and to-dos that you use there and then to get more people active.

 It will cover

  • Being a great experience provider
  • People are different. Some are nervous, some indifferent, some energetic and a whole range of other things, Whatever the person type, they all have to be motivated; often in different ways. In addition, there can be many different stakeholders: participants, members, parents, officials and other coaches amongst others. This section will focus on how to communicate effectively with all of these different groups. They will all want great experiences but that means different things to different people. Opportunities for using social media to stay in touch with people (in line with appropriate safeguarding rules) will also be highlighted.
  • Physical activity does not have to take place in a club or leisure centre Many ‘sports’ places deter inactive people (do they really want all those unfit and non-sporty people there?)
  • “thinking differently is the key to getting all parts of society active”
  • Identify
  • Work with Community Connectors – People with a special gift for bringing people and communities together
  • Take your project into your community – shopping centres, community events, housing estates, parks
  • Think of the whole experience of joining your club: (Moment Mapping)
  • Be more than just a place for being active
  • How to run a really open Open Day
  • The three 2s – The Simplest Guide Ever to Grow the Number of People at Your Club. 2 seconds: First impressions count. 2 minutes (welcome) 2 hours (the whole experience)

This workshop is aimed at 

  • The existing workforce helping them to develop and encourage a new way of thinking within the current workforce
  • New providers attracting a new type of delivery agent from outside the traditional sport sector
  • Social entrepreneurs stepping forward and support their ideas

A new workforce for a more active and healthy Britain

Hits: 22

A new workforce for a more active and healthy Britain

Developing and training our community sports,

physical activity and health & wellness workforce

Are we focusing on the right areas, skills and methods or

should we be more innovative or flexible?

 

A one-day conference, 17th February 2022,

Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry

In Partnership with:

The changing times in community sport…how should our skills agencies, training providers, sports bodies, FE/HE and others, adapt?

 There seem to be many discussions within community sport and physical activity as to how we should develop and deliver workforce training across the sector in the ‘new normal’ world, particularly when it comes to dealing with the many volunteers within the sector.

The questions are also whether too much of our accredited training is too complex and rigid in its structure and if that makes it difficult to adapt content and format to a changing world?

At the same time, how do we ensure that our training and workforce development is recognised and trusted across and beyond the sector? 

It has been suggested that we should an element of accredited training covering topics such as life-saving and child protection where specific skills and understanding are key. These standards can include academic quality, ethics, integrity, learning experience, and student experience, among others.

But around areas such as leadership, customer service and communication there could be scope for a more open approach as one can not always put these aspects into boxes. Obviously, the need for delivering quality training in this field is equally as important but could perhaps be measured more around user and participant response

Many people in the sporting workforce do not like to work with inactive people

 A recent survey of the sporting workforce showed only 2 in 5 had any sense that working with inactive people was for them

 The expertise of the existing sporting workforce is undoubtedly extensive, however, a focus on technical skills has held centre stage for too long. Whilst these have a place and education programmes within these areas will continue, we cannot expect the number of people being active to rise solely based on improving technical capability.

We are also experiencing interest from some sports bodies to swift attention in sports volunteer workforce development from a rigid, technical focus to a stronger focus on developing a more welcoming and holistic approach to engage and activate inactive people.

Increasing diversity and inclusivity amongst the sporting workforce

 Despite continued efforts, and various initiatives, community sport and physical activity in most places has not managed to significantly increase participation among people with different attributes and backgrounds (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion) in a meaningful way.

Also, we continue to see those groups lag behind their white counterparts in terms of being physically active and living long and healthy lives.

So, we must develop training programmes that bring in people from more diverse backgrounds if we are to reach many inactive people.

One successful programme is the ECB’s South Asian Action Plan which now has attracted 1000 South Asian females who as the new volunteer ‘activators’ will combine coaching and mentoring to inspire and support the next generation of cricketers.

They will support the delivery of All Star Cricket, ECB’s entry-level cricket programme for five to eight-year-olds, in seven cities and act as role models, showing young people the positive part that cricket can play in their lives.

Another key part of developing a workforce that can work with social prescribers and others, to engage with inactive people is to include a focus on people’s mental health in our training programmes, again, something that is not currently being done.

That, again, will require new thinking, new formats and new content.

The sporting landscape has changed enormously in recent years. Government and community expectations for good governance, integrity, equality, member protection and child safeguarding means that providing safe, fair and inclusive sporting environments is no longer an aspiration, but an imperative.

Another point is whether the ‘system’ makes it difficult for smaller providers to access funding and/or get their courses accredited? Many groups, especially diverse ones, feel more comfortable with local, smaller training providers.

Bringing everybody together

We should bring everybody together involved with developing and delivering training and workforce development across community sport and physical activity to discuss, learn, exchange, network and improve and innovate – this conference will do exactly that.

The conference will bring together representatives from the Sports councils in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland accredited and non-accredited training providers, accreditation agencies, national governing bodies of sports, universities, colleges, employers.

The conference will have presentations from representatives from

  • Providers of accredited and non-accredited training
  • Workforce/Coach development managers
  • Professional development bodies
  • Standard-setting bodies
  • Accreditation awarding bodies

 September 2021

Sports Marketing Network