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

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 

#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

Environment Agency launches a drive against plastics in sport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Banning soft drinks in plastic bottles

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

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

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

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

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