How to deliver enterprising community sport in the new ‘normal’ world – how to kickstart Webinar

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Deliver enterprising community sport in the new ‘normal’ world 

How to deliver enterprising community sport in
 the new ‘normal’ world – how to kickstart

An engaging and informative webinar
  Tuesday 24th November 2020 10 am GMT

Project Kickstart – a webinar presenting a ground breaking concept and toolbox designed to help community sports bodies and providers to get up to speed as soon as possible after the coronavirus pandemic

It’s football, but not as we know it

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It’s football, but not as we know it

How three community football enterprises from Denmark are demonstrating the power of ‘bottom-up’ initiatives

Getting females from multi-ethnic communities to play football

Nagin Gavan is an Afghan refugee whose parents moved to Denmark in 2002, so she was brought up in a very ‘Danish-style’ culture. Relatively quickly she discovered that she was a good footballer and she never considered that it was unusual in Denmark to see girls playing football wearing a hijab.

When she was 12 the family moved to Gellerup an area in Aarhus, ´the which is a multicultural community where many residents come from countries where females do not normally play football.

So, Nagin started a girls section at a local football club and gradually people got used to seeing this group of females playing football in hijabs she learned how to engage with both the girls and the parents. When she realised that some of the parents were concerned that their daughters were missing out on their school work due to football, she started study-classes alongside the football sessions.

Since then Nagin has won several sports and community awards and is now an ambassador for getting females from multicultural backgrounds to play football.

In between, she is also a second-year student at Aarhus University.

With an adventurous heart and an open mind, she is a true role model, fighting the barriers for girls and women to be active in sports.

Nagin is in doubt about the importance of her efforts. She sees herself as part of a greater integration process, which in the end is about developing a broader framework for young people in the area. At school, you should be able to talk to everyone, regardless of where they live.

“It’s all about having the same opportunities, regardless of whether you live in a high-rise block or a leafy suburb”, she says.
Growing up in a multi-cultural community such as Gellerup does present some challenges, says Nagin. That is why this is the feeling of community at the football sessions. It’s about giving young people some opportunities where they can meet around some activities.

For Nagin, young people from deprived areas must get the same opportunities and experiences as other young people.
”It is important that we give Muhammed and Aamirah something to talk with Svend and Maria about. It is about giving the young people something they can have in common” she points out.

Celebrating European Week of Sport



On Sunday the 20th September Nagin brought together 100 local girls and women to introduce and encourage them to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle in connection with the European Week of Sport.

Here is how local TV covered that occasion

She also brought together 100 young men from across the city to a football tournament the same day which made lots of people smile and created new friendships.

Playing a strong role in the wider sporting landscape in the city

There are certainly some very ambitious to develop a whole sporting, leisure and community area in connection with also building a new Superleague football stadium and the city’s leadership are now recording videos with interviews from local community leaders. And, yes, Nagin is one of those people who has been interviewed. The interview is in Danish, but we wanted to share this confirmation of her influence and status. I do wonder whether how many places there would a similar person representing females from a multi-cultural community area would be asked to make a similar contribution.

Nagin wins another prize

The PlanChildren FoundationGirl awards every October in connection with the International Girls’ Day in October, a person, organisation or company that makes extraordinary efforts in the field of gender equality by contributing to changes in attitudes and by taking action to promote gender equality.  The 2020 Award has just been awarded to R

Playing a strong role in the wider sporting landscape in the city

Football reminiscence is a relatively new concept which is taking off in the UK, Spain and Sweden where patient associations, football clubs and care homes have joined forces to offer conversation groups focusing football memories for older people with dementia.

Jonas Holsbaek, an occupational therapist based in Copenhagen, Denmark has just finished a pilot project called FC Mindelund (‘FC Memory Lane’).

The concept for this particular programme is to have a mix of group therapy and physical activity – incorporating three parts: the first where items such as football shirts, photos, balls or ticket are used as a basis for a conversation around football memories. The second element is football training including penalty kicks, passing, dribbling or something else depending on the level of dementia and fitness. The third element is a kind of post-match chat over a beer or soft drink where they talk about the training and what they want to do at the next session.

Fælledgården, the care home where the football reminiscence pilot happened

It is important to point out that initially, the plan was to run the sessions at one of the best community football clubs, BK Skjold, men it proved easier to run it a local care home with 193 flats and a special block with 30 dwellings for people with dementia.  This tallies with the experiences from other similar projects of the importance of running the activities close to people’s homes in an environment they know.

Experiences with this and similar projects are that participation leads to better mental health, quality of life and level of activity and that the social aspects and having conversations around something they all have in common, football, is stimulating the participants.

The plan is now to develop a package and, literally, a toolbox, with equipment, manual and checklists and then offer that to other partners across Denmark.  Also, Jonas Holsbaek is planning in the future to split the participants into two groups depending on the level of their dementia.

Denmark’s most charitable football club

Playing football against famous clubs and at highly unusual places, while raising £££

In 2007 a bunch of 30+ guys started an Old Boys football team in Hinnerup, a suburb of Denmark’s second city, Aarhus.  The idea was to set up a team which could enjoy playing football and socialising in best old-boys style while also being ambitious, serious and innovative and create some ‘never-seen-before’ initiatives.

They quickly went on their impressive journey and in their first year had one exhibition match where they played against the cast of a cult TV programme based around some football nerds and which attracted a gate of 2700.

Simon Schiølin and Anders Lunde, the two main people behind the project both had a background working in management positions at sportswear brand, Hummel, so they had a good network of Danish footballers who had been playing in the big clubs across Europe.

So in 2008, they started their journey playing matches against old-boys teams from major clubs, starting with the Spanish side, RCD Espanyol. 

This then lead the team to give 500 DKK (£60) to each player with the brief to use that as seed money to raise some sponsorship funds which initially then grew to 250.000 DKK (£30.000)

They then developed a relationship with the Danish Red Cross and the club continued their innovative work and later that year could give Red Cross a cheque for 1 million DKK (120.000 DKK) which meant that 1500 poor kids in Uganda received a complete football kit and 400 footballs were also sent to the kids.

Since then they have played legends from elite clubs including Celtic FC, Ajax Amsterdam, Hamburg, Tottenham Hotspur, FC Barcelona, Arsenal FC

They have also played inside the gates of Danish maximum security prison, played some Danish expatriates in Dubai. They have played in the desert, Arctic and Shanghai.  They have also played at The Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium. the highest stadium in Europe (at an altitude of 2,000 m above sea level) – they do get around.

They have over the years raised money to provide 50 houses in Burundi working with Danish charity ADRA

They also played Denmark’s longest football match 10 hours, donating 250.000 polio vaccines to UNICEF

In 2015 they launched their UNICEF CUP which over the years has included teams such as the TV Presenters, the Comedians, the Engineers, the Youtubers, the Musicians, the UNICEF volunteers and many others.

What really impresses me is ´not just the innovation in terms of who and where they play, but also the amazing fundraising and partnerships with charities and NGO´and the persistence, doing this, year after year – very impressive.

Anders Lunde and Simon Schiølin and the rest of the team are considering which ways forward, but we are convinced that they will keep playing in all sorts of places and raising loads of money for good causes across the world.

1500 football kits donated to kids in Uganda 

Highlighted on Danish prime time TV click here  

Meeting Diago Maradonna

Presenting another cheque for Red Cross

Playing football in the Arctic

Playing FC Barcelona – one  the very few other football clubs who are allowed to wear the UNICEF logo on their shirts

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

The conventional sports, leisure and fitness sector needs to have a rethink – NOW!

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The conventional sports, leisure and fitness sector needs to have a rethink – NOW!

At the time in writing in the UK, certainly England, there is considerable debate and upheaval within the conventional sports, leisure and fitness sector because it is not included the many businesses and organisations within the leisure and entertainment world that will re-open, following social media guidelines, on 4th July.

There seems to be a sentiment that leisure centres etc. are there to engage with all those inactive people who right now are hugging their settee and whose health is going deteriorate almost overnight if they can not come down and enjoy their spinning classes.
Yes, I appreciate that we are talking about the livelihoods of many people but, as we point out later, we have to ask ourselves do we exist to help people to become and stay active wherever they way or does it have to be in a gym etc?
Because the fact is that in the UK and the Republic of Ireland the population are more active than before the lockdown, as the graph below shows:

Of course, the way people are active now has changed and it is running, cycling, walking and home fitness which engages the population and the leisure industry needs to think about how it can meet people here and build on the benefits they’re getting now.

The industry needs to get a better and clearer picture of who they serve:

Is the Prosumer, Consumer or Nonsumer?
Kristine Sørensen of the Global Health Literacy Academy, based in Denmark has developed this simple segmentation model which splits people into three categories who will respond to the crisis in different ways

The Prosumer is the one who doing classes at home, running for an hour every day, etc. etc. 

They will be back at the clubs, leisure centres and fitness clubs, but they will probably also maintain some of their new habits. 

There is considerable scope for the traditional providers for developing online activities to complement their traditional offer and to improve their retention rate.

The Prosumer wants to stay fit and win. They want good coaches and instructors who can help them achieve their ambitions to perform better, run faster and longer and/or win competitions.

The Consumer would like to stay fit, somehow, but it is not the only thing that matters.
They need to have fun and be motivated and the social aspects of doing sport and physical activity are very important to them. 

They would like to improve, but winning does not matter to them.  They are more likely to play football or cricket in the park as in a club or join a social running group, such as Mums on the Run or Parkrun

The Consumer wants to do Small Sport.

They don’t want coaches, but Activators, who can nudge them that little extra bit.

The Nonsumer often has an intense dislike of taking part in any sport or physical activity. The last place they want to go to is the traditional sports club or leisure centre.

They often have underlying health problems and/or addictions, so any improvements in their level of physical activity can have a considerable positive impact.

The Nonsumer wants understanding and patient support.

They prefer to be active in their own environment, on their doorstep, supported and motivated by people like them or who they know and trust.  The last thing they want is a coach.

So which one of these segments do you serve?

Sadly, our work over the years has confirmed to me that most Nonsumers find the traditional gym and fitness centre very intimidating and, that the majority of the people who run those don’t know how to deal and with that, growing, segment.

But, that is where public health feels that the sector is not delivering, because these are the exact people that they want to work with to improve their health and life span. As one public health specialist said to me, ‘the sector is too elitist, more worried about income than need and too focused on making the active more active”, sorry, his words, not mine.

Active Tameside – focusing on health and social outcomes 

This dynamic social enterprise, based in a suburb of Manchester decided some years to ‘think wrong’ and now delivers a wide range of services to the local community and local authority

Just look at their Active Education programme which includes:

  • PE – Coaches in Schools programme
  • Bikeability – road safety cycling programme
  • School swimming – curriculum
  • Healthy eating and family cooking programmes
  • Mental health and physical activity programmes
  • Little Bikers – early years Pre-pedal programme
  • British Cycling – Go-ride school and community program

Activating a group of ladies during the lockdown

In a couple of days SMN will be publishing a comprehensive article about the great work that Active Tameside are doing in their local community.

Sports Marketing Network offers
a workshop to help the sector transform

How to kickstart your organisation deliver enterprising community sport ansd physical in the new ‘normal’ world

A one-day interactive workshop providing on a combination of best practice from across all community sport and physical activity delivered in a thought-provoking, idea-generating, practical and entertaining way.

The workshop will cover;

  • The world of VUCA which roughly translates into ‘it’s absolutely crazy out there!”.  V is for Volatility, about the speed of change. It is associated with fluctuations in demand, turbulence and short-time to the world around you. In short, high volatility means rapid change.
  • U is for Uncertainty which refers to the extent to which we can predict the future. C is for Complexity and relates to the number of factors we must take into account, their variety and the relationship between them. A is for Ambiguity is the lack of clarity in interpreting something. It is vagueness in ideas and technology.
  • How to benefit from a serious crisis – accelerating innovation and change
  • How to adopt a disruptor mindset – managing risk and opportunities without losing focus.
  • ‘Old thinking’ focuses on maintaining the status quo and cherishes ‘the way we do things around here’, whereas ‘young thinking’ focuses on how to disrupt the existing set-up. We will work with you to encourage disruption within your organisation and how to work with external disruptors. How to think ‘young’.
  • How to drive change by ‘working with the willing’ and ignore the negaholics
  • We also look at embracing and embedding new technology to grow your reach. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the growth in the use of social media and digital technology. So, every sports body and provider must now take a serious and innovative look at how they can further benefit from being more enterprising in the way they use technology to engage.
  • How to develop lateral thinking. taking a creative approach to a problem or challenge and think creatively or “outside the box” to find solutions
  • How to be a force for good – focus on sustainability and social impact.  Community sport can become climate-friendly and play a role in reducing CO2 emissions. This is no longer just a ‘good’ thing to do, it is becoming a ‘must’ thing, and now is the time to take a serious look at that.
  • Adopting purposeful and ethical practices that will enhance your value. Organisations are increasingly being asked “What is your purpose?” and that for sports bodies that has to be more than just getting people active, for you to have a real impact.
  • You must be a hub for your community and your stakeholders.
  • If you want to make a real impact you must become a hub for the community, a place ‘where people live their lives’, or, as we call it #MoreThanSport
  • Who do you serve?
    • The Prosumer:  Loves being fit and doing sport. They will always be there
    • The Consumer: Will be active if the offer and experience is the right one
    • The Nonsumer: Will require a lot of support and attention to become (and stay) active
  • How you can combine online and offline activities

Throughout the workshop, delegates will be given practical examples and tools and to-do-lists to help them to implement the changes required back at work.
If you want to learn more please get in touch.
Svend Elkjaer, + 44 (0) 1423326 660