Innovation and enterprise are key to the future of community sport

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 Innovation and enterprise are key to the future of community sport

To be really successful in community sport and physical activity we must engage the head, heart, hands, and yes, hormones!

No man is an isle

Innovation and enterprise are key to the future of community sport

To be really successful in community sport and physical activity we must engage the head, heart, hands, and yes, hormones!

A plan without passion is just delusional, a wish list and passion without a plan equals chaos.

The agenda within community sport and physical activity are increasingly focused on getting inactive people active and on creating social good and change through sport and physical activity.

 This is bringing together many bodies, institutions and people who previously did not engage with sport and who have no experience of working with sports and physical activity providers.  Also, many governing bodies and traditional sports bodies have little experience in working with ethnic groups, community enterprises, patient groups, youth clubs and the many other community organisations that engage with many of the inactive groups.

 But, the challenge is that if we are to attract and retain inactive people and play a broader role in society we need to think differently, have more empathy with groups with whom we have never worked before and be more flexible in the way we engage and communicate.

 

We must engage the head, heart, hands, and yes, hormones!

The Head will normally produce a framework, blueprint, strategic plan or something similar which are supposed to give an overview and structure to the project. Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say.  The challenge is that there are too many cases where these weighty documents are produced in splendid isolation from ‘the real world’ and with little or no reality checks.

 Yes, there are lots of abort points, risk assessments and check and balances but the danger is that these fine documents are soon forgotten when they have been used to get the project approved.

It takes a very brave project manager to propose a review of the project against the original plan. 

The Heads do a great job of solving the problem on paper but don’t give enough consideration on how to motivate (heart) people to take action, or specifically what the direct reports (hands) need to be doing or how to involve those weird and wacky Hormones. Lots of high-power thinking, but that is about it. The solution is too theoretical, complex, or radical.

 Advice to the Head: Leave that office, go out and really learn about the lives of the people and communities you want to work with, have genuine empathy with them, be brave and tell your bosses the true version and don’t promise the earth. (Remember, all those promises may come back to haunt you):

What they say

“We will deliver the Olympic legacy we’ve promised”, Tessa Jowell, Olympics Minister, 21st July 2009

“Key London Olympic legacy ‘a failure”, Tessa Jowell, former Olympics minister, 5th July 2015

hearts love sport

The Heart represents by definition the emotive aspects of getting inactive people and for sport and physical activity to play a bigger role in people’s lives. I think that most of us work with community sport and physical activity, and have an emotional attachment to our work and involvement with the sector and the area.

 

But I have also met too many people who ‘love their sport’ and can’t understand why the BBC doesn’t show their sport day in and day out. I know I am exaggerating, but only slightly.

 

Yes, most innovators in community sport and physical activity embark on their journeys due to a passion for the area.  Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t ensure the hardship and set-backs they inevitably endure. But the successful ones understand that they have to work with the Heads, while at the same time use their Heart and community engagement to deliver real results.

Yes, most innovators in community sport and physical activity embark on their journeys due to a passion for the area.  Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t ensure the hardship and set-backs they inevitably endure. But the successful ones understand that they have to work with the Heads, while at the same time use their Heart and community engagement to deliver real results.

 

The sad news is that the Heads often only engage with the Hearts when the latter have proved their point.  Remember, the Hearts were not part of developing The Strategy.

 

We must ensure that the Heads who produce the strategies always involve the Hearts, Hands and Hormones to ensure that they survive and succeed when they have to be executed.  Flexibility and responsiveness are key.

bad hands and good hands

Out there in the community are the Hands.

They are the people who work at community or leisure centres or volunteer at sports clubs or community groups and generally ‘just get on with it’. They deliver, day in and day out, but many of them, unlike the Hearts, just want to deliver their stuff, coach whoever turns up at their sessions, but the notion of getting participants to take selfies to spread the word or sending out follow up text emails or texts, simply does not feature in their thinking.

The Hands are invaluable when it comes to delivering sport and physical activity to people like themselves, i.e., active people who turn up on their own initiative.  But often they lack empathy with inactive people and the barriers those people feel they experience – maybe they love sport too much to understand people who don’t?

Hormones think wrong

And then finally we have the Hormones

They are the ones who, come hell and high water, will want to make things happen.  Often, they have little time for strategies and plans; they just want to get on with.  In many communities they make a significant positive impact, often ignored and overlooked by the Heads.  If indeed they meet, the Heads find it very difficult to work with the Hormones as the latter use innovation and enterprise to make an impact. 

This doesn’t always fit in with strict frameworks operated by the Heads. 

 

So how do you use this? If you want to run a successful project, you really want to get to full engagement of the Head, Heart, Hands and Hormones.

 

Whenever working in change, when you are trying to understand people or when you are just trying to persuade them of something, it can be very helpful to consider all four H’s in your analysis and plans. If you can get the Head, Heart, Hands and Hormones all working together, then you can make a real impact.

 May 2022

Sports Marketing Network

plan vs reality

Northern Thunder Powerchair FC – a challenging and rewarding journey

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Adam Parry, Sports Development Manager, Percy Hedley Foundation

Another great presentation at

Disability Sport or Sport for Disabled People
A one-day conference focusing on how to increase
disabled people’s participation in sport and active recreation
16th May 2013,
English Institute for Sport, Sheffield

Northern Thunder Powerchair Football Club is one of the largest Powerchair Football Clubs in the world and is also extremely successful in its competitive elements. This growth in the club has taken place over 6 years and has been a challenge when taking in to account the cost of the sport and the physical disabilities the participants have.
Rising from one participant for the first three months through to over 40 weekly participants as well as satellite clubs around the region Northern Thunder has been at the forefront of Powerchair Football nationally and internationally and Adam Parry will present to you some of the elements of this challenging and rewarding journey. In 2012 they were presented with an EFDS Star Club Award.

Adam Parry has been involved in the development of disability sport and clubs for 16 years. He currently manages the Sport Development programme for the Percy Hedley Foundation and in particular leads on the development of Powerchair Football and Wheelchair Basketball. Within powerchair football he is also the Director of Competition for the International Governing Body, FIPFA.

A new workforce for a more active and healthy Britain

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A new workforce for a more active and healthy Britain

Developing and training our community sports and physical activity workforce

Are we focusing on the right areas, skills and methods
or should we be more innovative or flexible?

In partnership with  

A one-day conference, 17th February 2022,
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry

Presentations from

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.

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. 

This conference will bringing everybody together

We will 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.

Programme and presenters include

Introduction
Chris Johnson, Chair, North of England Activities and Training

Adapting and changing our approach to make it easier for people from all areas of society to enter and move through our sector
Spencer Moore. Director of Strategy at CIMSPA
Steve Mitchell,

Engagement, Environment & Relationship: Understanding People
Justyn Price, Head of Coach Development & Insight, The FA

Creating an agile, flexible, and resilient workforce
Eleanor Ower, People Development Lead, Sport Wales

Developing the workforce who can engage ethnic minorities in the outdoors
Mohammed Dhalech, Outdoor diversity campaigner

Empower unique individuals and professionalise the industry workforce.
Stacey Doherty, Director, Transcend

How to identify and support the workforce required to get people active
Ian Carey, Director, Joanne Dodd, Partnership Officer, Active Black Country

How to develop the workforce required to manage and lead a flagship programme ‘Active Row’ reaching over 3,000 young people
Matt Rostron, CEO, Emily Coe, Director of Programmes, London Youth Rowing

To book your place

click here 

Welcoming Clubs – Support Programme

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Welcoming Clubs – Develop a more welcoming culture across

community sports clubs 

A comprehensive training and support programme for community sports clubs and other providers

  • with a guide on becoming a Welcoming Club – Develop community sports clubs that are welcoming to everyone regardless of background, ethnicity or ability with advice, ideas and case studies
  • three webinars with case studies from community sports clubs that have benefitted from adapting a welcoming and inclusive approach
  • a support network for community sports organisations to help them to develop a Welcoming Club one-to-one mentoring support from Svend Elkjaer, founder and principal of the Sports Marketing Network

Our community sports clubs and other providers could benefit greatly from the added benefits of being a Welcoming Club

Community sports clubs need to adopt a new mindset and learn a new skill set – taking the best from successful social enterprises and the hospitality sector.  They have 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 community sport has 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.

 Develop great leadership and management

Amazingly, very few clubs put much focus on how they lead and manage themselves.  Many somehow expect that having a few people on the committee and a 32-year old constitution will ensure that their club is well-run and going forward in the right direction and at the right speed, both on and off the pitch.

I am not suggesting there is one best leadership and management style, which suits all sports clubs.  There are many different styles and each suits various situations.  The key is to be aware of what style is right for you, at this moment in time.

 

SMN have seen plenty of examples where the right leadership, individually and collectively, can make a significant difference to the growth and development of clubs and have, unfortunately, also seen too many examples where bad, or lack of,

You are not ‘just a sports club’
You are in the experience business

So, be honest, how welcoming is your club?  Here are five simple statements; which one fits best in how people at your club feel?
Please now ask as many people, as possible, within your club which of the five statements below best describe the culture and attitude within your club. Then listen and act on their comments.

  1. We are completely focused on being welcoming, be it towards players, members, supporters and sponsors and we are aware of their different needs and we work hard to satisfy those needs
  2. We are getting increasingly welcoming although not everybody may be as welcoming as we would like.  We know how we want to improve and we are working hard to get there
  3. We need to focus less on internal and political issues and more on being welcoming
  4. We rarely talk about being welcoming – do we really know what that is?
  5. We are a sports club – why should we be talking about being welcoming?
Our community sports clubs must become welcoming towards the WHOLE community

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 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.

We must develop community sports clubs that are welcoming to everyone and ‘not just people like ourselves’

We must develop pro-active behaviours, options and actions to make people from all backgrounds, ages and abilities feel welcome, respected and that they belong at your club/centre.
Being inclusive is about following best practices for what sport/physical activity should be so that everyone can get the most out of it.

Diversity is the mix of peoples’ different attributes and backgrounds and a good way is to think about diversity is to think about your local community. Does your club reflect the diversity of your local community? Diversity is the mix of people, inclusion is trying to get this mix to all work together in harmony.

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’. 

The first-ever comprehensive programme helping to develop Welcoming Club  – community sports clubs that are welcoming to everyone regardless of background

  • You will receive a 36-page guide on becoming with advice, ideas and case studies
  • You will be invited to three webinars on how to become a Welcoming Club  – community sports clubs that are welcoming to everyone regardless of background
  • case studies from community sports clubs that have benefitted from adapting a welcoming and inclusive approach
  • The one-hour webinars will be held at 7 pm GMT on

Wednesday 19th January 2022

Wednesday 9th February 2022

Wednesday 23rd February 2022

  • You will be invited to join a support network for community sports organisations to help them to develop #MoreThanAClub
  • You will receive one-to-one mentoring support from Svend Elkjaer, founder and principal of the Sports Marketing Network

This whole package is available at just £58.50 with £ 12.00 Early Bird discounts (£46.50) for bookings made before 15th December 2021.

Group discounts are available for governing bodies, sports councils and others.

#MoreThanAClub – Support Programme

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#MoreThanAClub – Develop community sports clubs that are hubs for their communities

A comprehensive training and support programme for community sports clubs and other providers
 
  • with a guide on #MoreThanAClub – Develop community sports clubs that are hubs for their communities with advice, ideas and case studies
  • three webinars with case studies from community sports clubs that have benefitted from adapting a welcoming and inclusive approach
  • a support network for community sports organisations to help them to develop #MoreThanAClub
  • one-to-one mentoring support from Svend Elkjaer, founder and principal of the Sports Marketing Network

Most of our community sports clubs and other providers could benefit greatly from the added benefits of being #MoreThanAClub

At a time when there is an increased focus on how we can create a more coherent society, there seems to be considerable scope for sports clubs to play a pivotal role in our communities. At the same time, many of our clubs and other providers could benefit greatly from the added benefits of engaging with new audiences in terms of new users, volunteers, sponsors and community partners.

The challenge is that too many sports clubs suffer from ‘sporting myopia’ where the main success criteria are being associated with sport only: number of users or members, the performance of the first team or the elite athletes and everything else has to support that. So what happens out there in the community and the ‘real world’ is often regarded as a bit of an irrelevance, even a nuisance, sometimes.

But we have also seen many examples where sports clubs have benefitted in terms of membership and income from playing a stronger role in their communities. And with a stronger focus on sport’s ability to change people’s lives, there is an even stronger scope for sports clubs to play a bigger role in their communities and the lives of people around them and become #MoreThanAClub.

Clubs that are #MoreThanAClub sits in the middle of their community and they can play a vital role for its community. This can help the club attract more skilled and passionate volunteers as a wider range of people will want to be involved with the club and they also generate more income as more people come to their matches, events and sponsor the club – it really is that simple.

The slides below highlight how that the more your club is part of its community

  • the more likely you are to attract volunteers from the wide community (and not just parents and formers players)
  • the more likely you are to generate income as more people care about your club and attend your events, and so on

Here are some of the benefits your club could gain from being a community hub:

  • You can reach out to and engage with potential users, members, supporters and partners
  • You can develop new income streams through events, commissioning and partnerships/sponsorships
  • By being more relevant, you can attract more members and volunteers
  • You can become ‘a better club’
  • It will help you generate support from within your community which may prove useful ‘when times are tough’ and you need their support

Why your club should be more than #MoreThanAClub and become a hub for your community 

Great sports clubs work for and with their communities, and as a consequence, both parties benefit. They are in reality Hubs for their Communities. They link up their assets, skills and relationships with people, groups and institutions in their communities.

The benefits of this approach can be considerable in terms of growing membership and volunteer base, increasing income and helping to ensure that the club and the community is sustainable in the long term.

One of the key aspects of every successful sports club I have been in contact with is that they see themselves as a key part of their community and see themselves being in a two-way relationship where both parties benefit.

At the same time, it saddens me to see so many of our clubs and often even bigger ones, who ignore their communities for ages and live in their own, isolated world.  But then when they fall on hard times, they suddenly demand support and money from that community they profess to serve, but in reality, they have ignored.

You must share values with the rest of your community 

The shared value test: Ask your club and your current/potential community partners What can we do for you? What can you do for us? What can we do together?

So what is Shared Value and how could it work for your sports club? Shared Value for sports clubs and other activity providers can be defined as a new kind of partnership, in which both the club and the community contribute directly to the strengthening and development of each other

Sharing value is not about sharing the value that already exists – it’s about expanding the current pool of value and creating synergy. This then benefits everyone as 2 + 2 becomes 5.

Take your club to your communities – demonstrations in shopping centres, parks and housing estates. Invite people to ‘have a go’ sessions. Go where people are, engage with them and then welcome them, when they come to your club.

The first-ever comprehensive programme helping to develop
#MoreThanAClub – community sports clubs that are hubs for their communities

A comprehensive training and support programme for community sports clubs and other providers
  • You will receive a 36-page guide on becoming #MoreThanAClub – Develop community sports clubs that are hubs for their communities with advice, ideas and case studies
  • You will be invited to three webinars with case studies from community sports clubs that have benefitted from adapting a welcoming and inclusive approach
  • The one-hour webinars will be held at 7 pm on
      Thursday 20th January 2022
Thursday 10th February 2022
Thursday 24th February 2022
  • You will be invited to join a support network for community sports organisations to help them to develop #MoreThanAClub
  • You will receive one-to-one mentoring support from Svend Elkjaer, founder and principal of the Sports Marketing Network

This whole package is available at just £58.50 with £ 12.00 Early Bird discounts (£46.50) for bookings made before 15th December 2021.

Group discounts are available for governing bodies, sports councils and others.

Book your #MoreThanAClub – Develop community sports clubs that are hubs for their communities Support programme here