Grow your sports club in the ‘new normal’ world

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Grow your sports club in the ‘new normal’ world

Inspiration, training and support directly to you and your club

Community sports clubs are facing unprecedented circumstances as many people have changed their habits and way of living and working.

The world of sport is no different from the world of technology or commerce where the rate of change is increasing all the time.  Sports 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 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!

Many people have got used to exercising more informally, often with family and friends, so may be less likely to go back to take part in more organised sport.  While many people have expressed an increased in volunteering and playing a role in their local communities, too many clubs hibernated during the lockdown and may not be first on people’s minds when it comes to finding a place to volunteer.

Also, most businesses, big and small, are very cautious when it comes to spending money on marketing, so sponsorship income is going to be hard to come by.  Combining that with a possible decline in membership income, finances may be hit hard.

But, it is not all doom and gloom. 

We are also seeing many community sports clubs who have been engaging with their members and their communities during the lockdown and have seen great benefits arising from that.  We are also seeing some great examples of clubs using digital communication like never before and all saying they will not be going back to old ways of engaging and communicating.  

Now you and your club can learn from best practice from community sports providers from across the world – join the Grow Your Club programme and have access to guides, webinars and remote mentoring on how to make your club vibrant, visible and viable.

You can learn from Westquarter & Redding Cricket Club and how they grew their membership by 800% and won the Local Club of the Year in Scotland Award

You can learn from Valleys Gymnastics Academy and how they have grown from 100 members to 3000 and winning the British Gymnastics Club of the year

You can learn from BK Skjold, Denmark’s biggest football club and how they are #MoreThanAClub and are engaging with the wider community, including running arts events

Annual membership of the Grow Your Club programme and the Sports Enterprise Network

Annual membership  is just £49.50 and when you join you will receive a copy of our 52-page Grow Your Club guide and you will also have unique access to a comprehensive library of:

  • Conference reports
  • Webinars
  • Guides
  • Presentations
  • Network meetings
  • 10% discount on SMN Events

You will also have access to our remote mentoring service where we can, online/digitally, answer your questions and give you support (on a fair-use basis).
Some of the topics we will cover include:

  • More players/athletes at your club
  • Generating more income for your club
  • More volunteers at your club
  • Better leadership and management of your club
  • Improving your club’s internal communication
  • How to raise the profile of your club
  • Your club as a community hub

Packed with case-stories, thought-pieces, advice, checklists, tools and action guides
So, we will inspire and engage you, we will communicate with you in jargon-free language, provide you with real case studies and give you tools and tp-dos you can use here and now.
 
And, if you have any questions relating to running and growing your club, just get in touch and we will do everything we can to help.
 
Now that many governing bodies of sport and other sports organisations are cutting back on their club support programmes here is an opportunity to benefit directly from the most comprehensive support programme for community sports clubs – directly on your screen, in your own time.   

You can also learn more about Grow Your Club click here and the Sports Enterprise Network click here

To join the Grow Your Club programme and the Sports Enterprise Network click here

Watch a brief intro video to the Grow Your Club programme here.

Governing bodies, sports organisations and others who support community sports clubs: If you are interested in discussing how we can work together to inspire and train your clubs to become more vibrant, visible and viable, then  please get in touch   

 Sports Marketing Network – the leading provider of enterprise training and support for community sports clubs

Since 2005 more than 4,000 people from clubs, County Sports Partnerships, governing bodies, leisure centres, community groups and other activity providers have participated in SMN’s seminars and events.

SMN has also advised, consulted and run training programmes for many organisations and public bodies including the RFU, FAW Trust, England Volleyball, Sport Wales, England Handball, Welsh Rugby Union, Badminton England, Cricket Scotland, British Gymnastics, England Squash, Rugby Football League, Welsh Athletics, England Athletics, Universities, a couple of dozen County Sports Partnerships and 45+ local authorities from Liverpool to Bolsover.

What they say about SMN’s Grow Your Club work:

“Your mentoring has helped me and the club develop. Our external message is so much more clearer now and communication throughout the club is much better. A real community has certainly been started”

 
Chris Lewis
Secretary, Ty Celyn FC

“I would strongly recommend Svend Elkjaer of SMN to any sports club which wants to develop into a welcoming, sustainable community sports enterprise.”

 
Jonathan James
Chair, Doncaster Belles Ladies FC

I would recommend Svend Elkjaer of SMN to sports organisations looking to grow
their community clubs and their membership. He delivers relevant and professional support and advice to help sport and clubs to grow and develop.“ 

David Marshall                                                                                                          Head of Development, , British Gymnastics

“Svend has a unique blend of understanding what makes businesses successful and how community sports operates and manages to get the message of the need for change across in an interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking way. Feedback regarding his sessions has been excellent.

 

Adrian Leather

Executive Director,, Lancashire Sport

A wake-up call from a young player – could this happen in your sport or your club?

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“But when matches came, I was the one left on the sideline and younger people were getting game time ahead of me.

I was very upset coming home from every match.  I was crying to my parents and saying
“Am I bad at this sport?”
This is the cry from a 14-year old boy from Ireland who gave up plating the game he loved because the coaches didn’t think he was good enough and they and the other players ignored him.

The editor knows the identity of the young man.

While you are reading this please bear in mind that SMN’s sister enterprise #MoreThanSport Academy is running a workshop called the Welcoming Coach. For more information click here 
 

“I am a 14-year-old boy from Limerick, Ireland and I want to tell you my story with regards to the GAA and how it affected my life.
It all started when I was six years old playing hurling. I didn’t have much interest in the game but I still played it because all my friends from school were playing it. As time went on, I began to love the game of hurling but it was very competitive. I went to every single training session and tried my best.

But when matches came, I was the one left on the sideline and younger people were getting game time ahead of me. I was very upset coming home from every match. I was crying to my parents and saying “Am I bad at this sport?”

That is when I became very shy and lost confidence in myself. At this stage of my life,

I wanted to give up the sport and move on but I gave the coaches a second chance.
So I went back playing hurling.

A year on, I went to the first training session for my new age group. All my friends were up there from school and they turned their back on me. They never attempted to talk to me or make me feel part of it. When I did get a game, it was always as number 15. It was always me, corner forward. Never moved from their to another position, most times not getting any game at all.

 I felt, at that age group, the coaches only wanted to coach their own sons and favourites. These players never attempted to pass the ball to anyone on the them, only themselves.

 I would come home upset and disappointed and saying while banging my head off a wall, “why am I not getting a go at this sport”. But I kept going back because I loved the sport. At this stage I didn’t really trust my teammates, coaches and more importantly my club. 

I only kept playing hurling because I enjoyed the sport. My parents tried to talk to the coaches and the club, but they didn’t listen and turned their back on my parents.

A year on it was another new age grade for me. We had a few training sessions and a couple of challenge matches. However, there was a very important championship game coming up and the two coaches were getting very competitive.

 

 

We had a few training sessions before that game and the coaches were roaring at us because they felt we weren’t ‘doing it right’. They had an attitude of ‘win at all costs’ and didn’t care who they upset. I was coming home shocked and upset over the carry on of the coaches at such a young age group.

So, the big important game of hurling for our club was about to begin. We went out for a 15 minutes training session before the game, we were all called into the dressing room for the team to be called out. The 15 people were called out and it wasn’t me who was starting the game. They were younger people started ahead of me at that game and lots of other games also. I was furious but I didn’t show it at that time. We all ran out of the dressing room and everyone was in position. The match began.

The team my club were playing against were unbelievable and our coaches didn’t shy away from letting us and everyone around, know how they felt about my team’s performance.

All the parents were shocked, but what can they say? Half time came and our team were losing. The coaches didn’t even look at me or even think of me being put on to the field.

However, they did put a person on before me who didn’t go to training or the previous matches. The second half began. Our team were still losing and our team coaches were furious. About 15 minutes into the game they still didn’t think of putting me on the field. The match was over, our team lost and the coaches were furious with anger.

They told us to run into the dressing room and take off our jerseys and leave them hooked onto the hook. I was the first person into the dressing room and took off my jersey.
I ran out to the car and we drove off my parents were shocked over the coaches behaviour and furious with anger by the coaches not giving me any game.

I was at home upset and angry over the coaches because they didn’t give me a game. As a 13-year-old boy, I shouldn’t have been feeling the way I was. I felt let down, lonely and isolated by my peers and my so called friends.

That is when I made a very difficult decision. I gave up hurling. I didn’t want to see myself like this anymore. Coming home upset and depressed over a match or a training session. A year went by and I was still very ‘down’ that I couldn’t play hurling again.

At the same time, the Limerick senior hurling team were having the greatest year of hurling since 1973. They won the All-Ireland in August of 2018 and I was at the game. But I wasn’t happy. Not for Limerick winning, but for myself knowing that I wasn’t playing hurling. A game I love.

People saying “wow, Cian Lynch is unreal who does he play for?” Someone says “Patrickswell”

People ask me, who I play hurling with, I say “no one” Even saying that word makes me feel very upset. This topic is always discussed by adults but I wanted to give it from a child’s side.

When I played hurling at a young age, I felt isolated, left out, no enjoyment, loneliness and no confidence. The coaches didn’t care about my feelings, they only wanted to win at all costs. Even now I find it very hard to trust adults and especially adults who are over team sports.

My teammates, who I thought were my friends, were not. They never passed the ball to me, never talked to me, looked at me weirdly and left me out. I was at a down low and always felt nervous around people.

As I have said already, I was completely isolated at a sport I love. I can honestly say, I have been affected by what I had to go through at a very young age.

My message to you is, if I can help another child or a coach of a team to not let this happen that is why I wanted to tell my story and let people know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that you will get through it, the hurt and the pain of being left out and overlooked.

There is so much sadness in life but playing sport should not be a sad experience but for clubs to allow coaches to do this to children like me should hang their heads in shame.”

Connecting, enabling and driving The Activity Economy

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Connecting, enabling and driving

The Activity Economy

 How the Activity Sector now, more than ever,

needs to pull together, innovate and collaborate

Conferences with lead-in and follow-up webinars 

Connecting, enabling and driving

The Activity Economy

An innovative collaboration, through conferences with lead-in and follow-up webinars and guides designed to develop a benuine partnership between private businesses, social enterprises, charities and public sector bodies engaged in the activity economy.

Our objective is to facilitate collaboration, debate, learning and connections to shape system-wide and nation-wide solutions.

We also believe that this post-COVID-19 period is the time and a huge opportunity to encourage change and innovation in order to help facilitate an exciting future for the activity economy across the UK.

Sport and physical activity have the power to do many things. They have the capacity to impact on our economy and lifes in a big way. We must collectively work to ensure sport is accessible, inclusive and affordable, leaving no-one behind.

What is the Activity Economy?

Today, the £ Billion global activity economy incorporates such as sport, active recreation, health & wellness, and the technology, tourism and media related to those areas.

The activity economy thousands of people are powering the economic and social prosperity of the community. Whether it’s the thousands of people attending the Conwy Half-Marathon, the Melrose Sevens or The Great North Dog Walk in Southshields every year with the subsequent impact on the local economy, the impact on those providing short-term lodging for travellers, cyclists and ramblers or the impact on the local economy of arts, culture or food festivals, or the 250.000 social runners across Wales, these are all interlinked.

33,000 dogs and their ‘owners’ take part in the Great North Dog Walk

Conwy Half-Marathon fills the street

Melrose Svens brings thousands to the Borders

Whereas, Silicon Valley is a leader in technology and London in financial services – many nations possesses the natural resources – the people, environment and enterprise – to be  global leaders in the activity economy.

But being a global leader rarely happens by accident.  It happens from planning and a commitment to pursuing that plan. Now, more than ever, does the sector across the UK need to pull together, innovate and collaborate.

The key sectors within the Activity Economy are organised sports, active recreation, design and infrastructure, tourism, equipment, apparel and accessories, media and content, arts & culture, higher education, and health & wellness.

Some of the key sections in the Activity Economy

Powering the Activity Economy together

For too long, the activity economy and its players have simply been a sum of its parts. The result is that the ecosystem that supports active nations is fragmented. We are proposing that we should focus on collaboration and connecting the diverse players to enable them to review, reflect and learn how they should together more efficiently as a system today and in the future.

This innovative collaboration is an attempt to encourage people to become more active, in all sorts of ways, to enable the communities and drive the economy forward, in this post-COVID-19 period of the ‘new normal’.

Kickstarting the Activity Economy after the pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has presented us with challenges and changes to all aspects of our lives and the way that the providers within the Activity Economy will be operating in the future.

A key question is how the new ‘normal’ going to look like and how you will respond.

Will the way that we enjoy being active, in all sorts of ways, be changing and, if so how can we adapt to that?  We are already experiencing many changes in people’s behaviour in the way we exercise (or not) and we are also seeing many great examples of community spirit, some of them, but perhaps not enough, coming from community sport.

Many providers within the activity economy are in danger of not playing a big enough role in people’s lives right now and are not at the front of people’s minds.  When all this is over and people’s habits have changed those who were visible during the crisis will have a much bigger chance of regaining, or even improving, their reputation and standing in their communities. 

The way forward

We are proposing setting up an innovative collaboration which will help bring together all the players within the Activity Economy and drive a bteter partnersip , increase the profile, improve skills and create synergies between the different players.

Project Kickstart – Connecting, enabling and driving

The Activity Economy

 How to deliver enterprising live experiences in the new ‘normal’ world

A one-day conference, supported by interactive webinars on innovative solutions to drive the Activity Economy forward

Strategies, policies, experiences, real stories and successes to be told,

lessons to be learnt, ideas and experiences to be shared.

Three lead-in webinars 

To introduce participants to the Project Kickstart approach they will be invited to participate in three one-hour long webinars which are designed to help them think and act in a new way where they maximise their opportunities for innovation, change and action.

The main objective for these lead-in webinars is to help participants be more open ready for the conference.

  1. Listening, learning and collaborating

This webinar will cover to be more user-focused demonstrate empathy and finding innovations and solutions that respond to human needs and user feedback.

We will focus on how to step into the user’s shoes and building genuine empathy for your target audience – we call it listening to people’s lives.

 The webinar will also cover how to pool a diverse variety of perspectives and ideas; this is what leads to innovation! How to collaborate with others including bodies and people from outside your normal network and sphere – creating shared value.

  1. Developing ideas and experiment

 We will focus is on coming up with as many ideas and potential solutions as possible. This webinar will also cover how you can ideate where there is a designated judgment-free zone where participants are encouraged to focus on the number of ideas, rather than the quality.

  1. A bias towards action

 This webinar will cover how to turn your best ideas into prototypes, testing them, and making changes based on user feedback. You must be prepared to repeat certain steps in the process as you uncover flaws and shortcomings in the early versions of your proposed solution.

 

 

 

Conference

This one-day conference will bring together people from a wide range of providers and partners with the active economy.  Delegates will have the opportunity to listen to senior representatives, learn from grassroots entrepreneurs and great case-studies and get inspired to kickstart the activivity economy.

 The conferences will try and discuss questions such as:

  • How do we provide great customer experiences and grow the experience economy whilst at the same time meeting the strategic objectives of external partners and funders, whether they are from sport, health, tourism or hospitality?
  • How do we engage with the many partners, providers and bodies involved with the sector?
  • How can we engage and communicate better using digital communication tools?
  • Do we need new partners and providers and what role can the bodies play in that process?
  • 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 help the current providers and bodies to become more innovative and enterprising and to start thinking ‘wrong’?
  • What does the provider within the active economy of the future look like? How can our current providers change and adapt to be relevant in a changing world?
  • How do we develop a more welcoming and relevant workforce?
  • How do we encourage innovation and enterprise to develop new initiatives to get people into the active economy?
  • What does real success look like?

These events focus on these issues, highlight best practice and provide thoughts, tools and to-dos on how you too can become a sustainable community sports provider playing a key role in the Activity Economy.

 

Three Follow-up Webinars

Over the three months following on delegates will be invited to participate in three follow-up webinars where they learn more, listen to other people’s experiences and stay motivated on their journey.

Want to learn more about the Actvivity Econnomy collaboration, then get in touch.

How sports and exercise bodies can rejuvenate themselves to be ready for the ‘new normal’ world

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How sports and exercise bodies can rejuvenate themselves to be ready for the ‘new normal’ world

What traditional providers can learn from the entrepreneurs and innovators across the sector

Over the last few months, the community sport and exercise sector has seen unprecedented challenges and opportunities which some have embraced and many others have ignored or avoided. There is little doubt that those who kept engaging with their members and their community will be in a much stronger position as we slowly enter the ‘new normal’ world.

We have previously highlighted great community sports enterprises such as:

Valleys Gymnastics Academy from Wales
Burgess Sports from London
and from Denmark
Beder-Malling Idrætsforening
and BK Skjold

In different ways these providers, all based in diverse communities adapted to the conditions imposed by lockdown extremely quickly and competently, despite being in unchartered waters.  Also, they did not wait for instructions from ‘above’ but built on their already brilliant relationship with their local communities and then developed new competencies, like running training sessions via Zoom or used their kitchen to cook meals for people who were shielding. 

That ‘can do’ attitude has been an invaluable asset
But, it has to be said, this approach has been rare.
Some sports and leisure bodies suffer from a lack of engagement with the communities they are supposed to be serving and a bureaucratic, risk-averse culture and processes.

So, here is an example of the traditional organisation structure of the governing body of sport which is fairly identical to most similar bodies across the world.

Most traditional sports bodies have a function-based organisation chart, where everyone knows their role and no one ‘rocks the boat’, but the challenge that this type of organisation simply can’t handle rapid change and certainly not all the many changes that are happening around us now.

These types of organisations can’t avoid mistakes if they fail to see them coming and they can’t benefit from opportunities if they are blind to them.
So they must work on their professional development, or they’ll lose out. But even if you give a leader the exact answers they need, if they lack professional development…they’ll ignore it. If you lack professional development and enterprise, real improvement always sounds scary:

To them it looks like this: Improvement = change = risk = fear
So, they end up being overtaken and out-manoeuvred by start-ups who are closer to the markers, act quicker and see Instagram and other social media as their home ground.

The ‘organisational chart’ of these start-ups could look like something like this below. They may not have a five-year strategy and an eight-page procurement policy, but they tend to be closer to their markets and are willing to learn and adapt.  And, often they start because they experienced an unfulfilled need in their daily life and decided to solve that problem, themselves.

So, what lessons be learned from all this?

How can ‘traditional’ sports bodies develop a more enterprise and responsive culture and business?

Let’s look at the organisational structures, the culture and the roles and personalities of the leaders:

Remember that The old system simply can’t handle rapid change, neither can it handle many aspects changing at the same time. Hierarchies and standard managerial process, even when minimally bureaucratic, are inherently risk-averse and resistant to change. Part of the problem is political: Managers are loath to changes to chances without permission from superiors. Part of the problem is cultural: People cling to their habits and fear loss of power and stature.

 

Born Barikor spreads the word about innovation, enterprise and social media in physical activity to the traditional sports bodies

Award-winning sports social entrepreneur Born, who in 2013 founded the incredibly successful Our Parks / and has helped 100,000 people, many from marginalised groups become active and who has been using social media at an unprecedented level within the physical activity sector.  Born Barikor: Sports Industry Entrepreneur, Battle Rapper, Radio Producer/ DJ, Grime MC, Sportsman, Pharmaceutical Science Graduate former Community Development Officer. Born is now a Trustee for Active Surrey, British Olympic Association and the Lawn Tennis Association, so some traditional bodies are listening to the change-makers – well done.

So the change requires two things

  • Setting up an Enterprise Network alongside your current hierarchy
  • Developing more Entrepreneurs and Producers within your organisation
The Enterprise Network
 Alongside the existing hierarchy invite volunteers from across the organisation to set up specific networks/project groups.  The groups should focus on specific issues that can help your organisation become more change-ready, including topics such as “engaging with our markets using Instagram or TikTok”, “reviewing our community partner network’ or “developing a corporate purpose”.

What is key here is that you try and involve as many people as possible – you will be amazed by the talents and skills that are hidden across your organisation.
It is also key that you try to encourage a want-to and get-to mindset and emphasise that people have the power to become change agents and feel that they have permission to do so.

Engage with people’s heads and hearts. If you only appeal to logic and numbers you will simply not develop a genuine desire to contribute to positive change and give people a feeling of ownership.

Celebrate the quick successes and see your Enterprise Networks grow

Developing more Entrepreneurs and Producers

In parallel with setting up the Enterprising Networks and ensuring that the people involved are involved and engaged, you also need to develop some new skills and cultures. 

The challenge with mature, traditional organisations is that they end up being risk-averse and put more emphasis on policies and on how things are being done, than on producing results.
You need to develop/hire those Entrepreneurs who are the visionaries of the organisation, seeing things on a global scale, rather than looking inwards towards the current state of the organisation and leading towards what it can be. 
These individuals are crucial to the overall development of organisational strategy, allowing them to stay ahead of competitors and exploit new and unique niches in the market. These individuals have a greater vision of new opportunities and threats to the organisation and are therefore important in the process of preparing for and handling any unexpected or planned changes. 

You will also need Producers who feel responsible for the finished product, and who are generally tasked with meeting all the smaller goals and objectives of the organisation, ensuring that each individual achieves what is required of them. 

The five steps for transforming your sports and leisure body

Remember, external crises, such as the one we are facing can be a real opportunity for able and agile community sports and physical activity bodies.
So, get moving now, at pace and full power. 

Remember what Rahm Emmanuel, Chief of Staff for Barack Obama said:

PS. If you want to talk about booking SMN to run specific online support for your colleagues, clubs, providers and others, then please get in touch with me

Svend Elkjaer svend@smnuk.com 01423 326 660

The Natural Health Service – focusing on what the great outdoors can do for our bodies and minds

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The Natural Health Service – an innovative
collaboration focusing on what the great outdoors
can do for our bodies and minds
 Conference, lead-in and follow-up webinars, and networking

The outdoors is playing an increasing role in our health

There is a growing movement towards using the outdoors in the prevention and treatment of physical and mental illnesses and it can also add significant social benefits.

People who spend at least two hours a week in nature experience better health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who do not visit nature at all during an average week.

More widely, patients often benefit from non-medical interventions such as an exercise class, learning a skill or joining a community group – often referred to as ‘social prescribing’ – and this takes place outdoor as ‘green prescribing’.

Green prescriptions could also save the NHS money – 2019 research by Leeds Beckett University and The Wildlife Trusts suggests that for every £1 invested in health or social needs projects that connect people to nature, there is a £6.88 social return.

Environment Secretary George Eustice announced on 17th July a £4m pilot project to test whether getting patients to join outdoor activities and spend more time green spaces could prove an effective treatment for a range of physical and mental ailments.

The scheme, which is due to start in the autumn and run for two years, will see patients in four English locations encouraged to join cycling or walking groups, take outdoor exercise classes, join tree planting projects or take up gardening.

Green prescribing already up and running in New Zealand 

Green prescribing has been up and running in New Zealand since 1998, and eight out of ten GPs there have issued green prescriptions to patients.

Patients are allotted a support worker who encourages them to be more active through phone calls, face-to-face meetings or a support group. Progress is then reported back to the GP. 

One survey found that 72 percent noticed positive changes to their health, 67 percent improved their diet and more than half felt stronger and fitter.

 

It’s fascinating to see this link between exposure to nature and better health and wellbeing.

Outdoor exercise is good for people of all ages

Even the shortest walk can do you good

However, with the pressures currently facing primary care, many GP practices can’t spend the necessary time with a patient to link them with the most appropriate activity.
Research also indicates that many GPs are not familiar with local opportunities for prescribing outdoor activities

One can then discuss whether the providers should develop a higher profile and a better relationship with prescribers and/or should improve their outreach to providers?
Research into shinrin-yoku – Japanese forest bathing – for instance, suggested that various psychophysiological benefits can be gained from merely sitting passively in natural versus urban settings.

There are many ways of motivating and taking physical activity specific to local people in their local parks, green spaces or waterways.

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 green space that only serves as a children’s playground or a football training ground is not fulfilling its potential,
Also, while green spaces are important we should 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.

Running in Burgess Park in Southwark, London

Wild swimming has become increasingly popular during the pandemic

The possibilities for our green space as places where local people engage and are active are numerous and there is considerable scope for residents to share their experiences of using the outdoors, to help people come up with ideas. It is also important to recognise that visibility in the outdoors makes it easier to see people like being active – reducing the fear getting involved. 

There are also many 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.

Powering The Natural Health Service together

For too long, the providers and prescribers within the health sectors, activity providers have simply been a sum of its parts. The result is that the ecosystem that supports a Natural Health Service is fragmented. We are proposing that we should focus on collaboration and connecting the diverse players to enable them to review, reflect and learn how they should together more efficiently as a system today and in the future.

This innovative collaboration is aimed at representatives from wildlife trusts, 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.

The Natural Health Service – the Collaboration

An innovative collaboration, through a conference with lead-in and follow-up webinars and guides designed to develop a genuine partnership between private businesses, social enterprises, charities and public sector bodies engaged in using the outdoor to get people engaged and active.Our objective is to facilitate collaboration, debate, learning and connections to shape system-wide and nation-wide solutions.

We also believe that this post-COVID-19 period is the time and a huge opportunity to encourage change and innovation to help facilitate an exciting future for The Natural Health Service.

Kickstarting The Natural Health Service after the pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has presented us with challenges and changes to all aspects of our lives and the way that the providers and prescribers within the outdoor activity sector will be operating in the future.A key question is how the new ‘normal’ going to look like and how you will respond. Will the way that we enjoy being active, in all sorts of ways, be changing and, if so how can we adapt to that?  We are already experiencing many changes in people’s behaviour in the way we exercise (or not) and we are also seeing many great examples of community spirit, some of them, but perhaps not enough, coming from the outdoors providers.

The next step

We will be launching The Natural Health Service as soon as we know that we can safely run public events in the UK, hopefully soon.  In the meantime, we will start highlighting best practice in the UK and beyond.  So, if you want to learn more, share story or some of your thoughts on the matter, please get in touch

We are very excited about the Natural Health Service project and we hope that  you will want to become involved

A new association launched in Denmark

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Idraets-Platformen-Sports-Hub-Denmark

A new association launched in Denmark

A new association launched in Denmark for the broader community sports sector to support, develop and upskill the s sector

The community sports sector in Denmark has over the last few years undergone an amazing transformation with thousands of new jobs, providers and educational opportunities. This new association will contribute to a stronger, joint identity within the community sports sector and create a hub for development and collaboration within the sector

The vision for Sports Hub Denmark (IdrætsPlatformen Danmark) is to strengthen community sport in Denmark by supporting the visibility, skills development and new collaborations between a wide range of providers within Danish community sport.

Despite a large number of volunteers involved with community sport, there are more than 25.000 people employed in the sector and there are many connections with public education, culture, experience economy, public health etc.
Sports Hub Denmark will facilitate development and collaboration between both established providers and community sport-related start-ups, personal trainers, public and commercial facilities and sports providers, suppliers, educationalists, social enterprises, staff and managers in larger clubs, sports students and educational institutions, local authorities and many more.
Sports Hub Denmark wants to contribute to a stronger identity for the sector and better understanding in the wider community for the challenges and opportunities of the community sports sector, including:

  • increased awareness and involvement for all providers and sun-sectors
  • stronger skills development and clearer career opportunities within the whole sector
  • establishing new networks and partnerships across the sector

The launch of Sports Hub Denmark comes at a time when the community sports sector is getting increasingly professionalised and is meant to be a call for collaboration with the volunteers within community sport. At the same time, the wider community has an increasing focus on and expectations for the community sports sector’s role and potential concerning economic growth, public health, experience economy, community and inclusion aspects, etc.

StreetMekka provides exciting sport and play opportunities for young people who don’t fit in with the traditional sports club.

Strapline: “We Love Asphalt”

Idrætebiblioteket (The Sports Library)

is based in a Housing Association and instead of books you can borrow all sorts of sports- and play equipment – from footballs, scooters, skateboards, sledges and much more.

Recovery Bulls provides opportunities for sport and social interaction for those who have felt the belong in the traditional sports environment

An experienced and diverse Board was confirmed
at the Hub’s first AGM on 29th June 2020.

It includes Mette Bock, former Culture and Sports Secretary in the Danish government.

She has senior positions in the Danish media sector, including as Director of the public Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

CEO is Henrik Brandt,

Who founded and was CEO of the Danish Institute for Sports Studies for ten years and prior to that he was an award-winning sports journalists on Jyllands-Posten, a leading Danish broadsheet.

Svend Elkjaer, Founder and Director of the Sports Marketing Network sits also on the Board, and the UK-based consultant, event-organiser and positive disruptor within community sport said:

“This is a fantastic initiative to bring together the wider community sports sector in my native Denmark, and a massive opportunity to raise the profile and further accelerate the increasing impact the sector has.

Exciting times for community sport in Denmark

Across the world, during corona pandemic, we have seen governments and Sports Councils calling for increasing innovation and engagement from community sport, which has not always been easy for the existing sector, often run by volunteers.

I feel other countries can learn from this initiative in Denmark”, ends Svend Elkjaer.

Sports Hub Denmark will open for membership from both individuals and organisation and business memberships around August. 

During autumn the Hub will launch several networks, meetings and activities covering a wide range of topics for the community sports sector.