Community Sports Clubs – their future and role

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Is the community sports club a relic of the past, the hub of our communities, the basis for our medal winners or somewhere in between?

Community sports bodies and their 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 shopping centres, watching Love Island, apathy etc. by providing better experiences.

Community sports clubs are also facing strong challenges in order to survive and grow in an increasingly competitive and demanding market. How to attract new members and retain the existing ones, become a hub of the community, grow sponsorship revenue, improve the social life of the club, increase media coverage, benefit from new technology, introduce new revenue streams…

In order to survive and grow community sports clubs must ‘listen to people’s lives’ and develop new ways of running their clubs. They need to become more welcoming to attract and retain members and volunteers and they must ‘speak people’s’ language’ and communicate with them in a modern and engaging way.

How much focus is given to help clubs to develop into innovative and enterprising places, as opposed to someone who has to comply with the numerous demands for information and compliance from ‘above’?

We see an increased desire to start afresh when considering these challenges and opportunities and also an understanding that a more holistic and integrated approach is required…just to run a couple of workshops and then see the world change – it simply does not work.

We have also seen programmes where sports bodies just signpost their clubs to various external providers of training and support and the whole project becomes confused and ‘messy’.

We also have to accept that community sports clubs are all different. Different in their outlook, skillset, outlook, ambition and so on…some want to develop into social enterprises whereas others just want to ‘play their sport in the way they also have done’. So we will have to accept that some clubs will not buy into to become more enterprising and community-hub concept and that we should focus on those who want to become more vibrant, visible and viable.

In some cases, the ‘gazelle clubs’ will then become role-models for the ‘also-rans.

Perhaps there has been too much of a focus on getting clubs to comply with a number of policies which seemed important for people ‘up there’, but not necessarily for those volunteers who just want to ‘do their sport;.

In all walks of life, we are experiencing massive changes: 40%+ of UK households now subscribe to a streaming service, such as Netflix. 24% of the adult population work unsocial hours and 6% of the population are carers…so, how do we provide activities and places which take these factors into account. Does the way we organise training, leagues and events take ‘peoples’ lives’ into account?

If that rugby/football/cricket club which used to field seven teams now are struggling to put out two sides what are we to do?

Yes, we can blame all the external factors as listed above, but if the clubs are not prepared to change, then we can’t force them. At the same time, we are experiencing many clubs who are making a real difference in their communities while growing their membership and perhaps those two points seem to be interlinked.

We are experiencing innovative concepts which have proven very successful in getting inactive people into sport and physical activity and some of these initiatives take place in community sports clubs. However, many do not involve our sports clubs.

Initiatives such as Last Man Stands and All-Star are great examples from cricket Powerleague and Walking Football demonstrate that you can get people to play football and ParkRun and Back To Netball demonstrate that you can people back into running and playing netball. So, it CAN be done, but how often are our community sports clubs involved with these initiatives?

Some governing bodies estimate that around 20% of their community sports clubs are what you could call ‘fit for purpose’. We call those clubs ‘gazelle clubs’. Should we focus our club support initiatives and our funding on those clubs? Over the years I have seen £ millions being spent on facilities for clubs which simply did not have the wherewithal to run these facilities in an enterprising and financially sustainable way. Result: Wasted £££ and lots of grief.

Sports Marketing Network (SMN) has been working with 4000 community sports clubs across the UK and in Denmark on behalf of governing bodies of sports, sports organisations, local authorities and others. We have experienced some fantastic community sports clubs, often run along the lines of successful social enterprises by innovative and dedicated people. However, we have also come across far too many clubs run by ‘diehards’, who were reluctant to change and just waiting for the next grant to arrive.

We now believe that the time has come for a UK – wide debate on the future of our community sports clubs and how we work with them and support them.

We are therefore suggesting that we start with organising a one-day conference called

Basic value is the direct income from membership fees and match/tournament fees.

That income is, assuming that the club is breaking even and still has membership capacity. So, assuming, your annual membership fee is £80.00 and the new member spends £25.00 in match fees, the net annual income is £105.00.

If that member is then a member of your club for six years the total basic lifetime value is 6 times £105.00 = £630.00.
If we look at this in a purely business sense – as, say, a mobile phone company might regard this information – we know that each we shall lose a few members/customers (members), so we are interested in the average period we keep them in the income over that period.
It then follows you can increase the value of that member either by encouraging them to spend more money at your club and/or staying on as a member for longer. As an example, if we get the member to attend the club summer ball at a profit of £25.00 and stay on for eight years instead of six, the lifetime value of that member is 8 times £130.00 = £840.00 (an increase of 33%).

Community Sports Clubs – their future and role
How do we best develop and deliver club support and change programmes which can make a real difference?

  • So, what is the role of our community sports clubs in providing great sports experiences?
  • How do our national governing bodies and other sport organisations best develop and deliver club support and change programmes which can make a real difference?
  • Could we learn from the social enterprise support programmes?
  • Many sports bodies have boards and councils which have members who have ‘worked their way up’ because of their involvement with their clubs. They may not be the people who are best prepared to set the change in motion which is required to help. How do we best introduce club innovation and enterprise mind-set and skillset into our elected boards?
  • Should we more open and honest about the differing ambitions and abilities across our clubs?

This conference is designed to bring together everybody who is involved with developing and supporting community sports clubs across the UK so they can share ideas and experiences.

The target audience includes national governing bodies of sport, County Sports Partnerships, local authorities, sports organisations, educational institutions, funders and others with an interest in increasing physical activity and developing ou community sports clubs.

April 2018
Svend Elkjaer
Sports Marketing Network
01423 326 660
svend@smnuk.com

Bringing everybody together with an interest in raising the profile of the great work that sport is doing in our communities developing even better work and initiatives…learning from best practice both within and outside sport

This event is not about policies and strategies. It focuses on best practice and provides thoughts, tools and to-dos. It provides opportunities for successful providers to highlight capabilities. Real stories and successes are to be told, lessons to be learned, and ideas and experiences to be shared on how to create a more vibrant, visible and viable Sport for Good sector

Are you #JustSport or are you #MoreThanSport?

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Successful providers of sport and physical activity play a bigger role in people’s lives and in the communities they serve. They are more than just a leisure centre or a sports club. They see people as more than players, they see them in a holistic light.

They see the community as a partner. They link up with schools, youth clubs, housing associations and the health sector and work with those bodies and attract players and funding while doing good in their community.

They attract and retain skilled and passionate volunteers from across the community. People with strong social networks and with specific skills are happy to become involved as volunteers on a ‘bite-sized’ basis because they want to be part of something good, without having to commit themselves to attend hour-long committee meetings.

They attract and retain skilled and passionate volunteers from across the community. People with strong social networks and with specific skills are happy to become involved as volunteers on a ‘bite-sized’ basis because they want to be part of something good, without having to commit themselves to attend hour-long committee meetings.

That way they attract many hard-to-reach and inactive groups and become more sustainable.

If it really is that simple to get more people active and for sport to deliver social good and change how come that so few sports bodies are actually going this route? And at the same time, many of the sport for change bodies seem almost uninterested in engaging with the traditional sports world.

Having worked with community sports and physical activity bodies across the UK and Denmark, from small sports clubs to our major sports organisations, I have first-hand experienced how even the smallest club can benefit in all sorts of ways, simply be taking on a broader role in people’s lives and by engaging with its community

Two great examples are Tynemouth Cricket Club http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/tynemouthcc and The Pavillion Sports and Cafe in Haringey http://psandc.co.uk.

There are two governing bodies which have really embraced the #MoreThanSport mindset, Cricket Scotland and England Golf:

For the last two years, we have been working Cricket Scotland on their Thriving Clubs programme where we have helped some of their clubs to realise their potential and grow the number of players and their community engagement.

One of those clubs is Westquarter and Redding Cricket Club, Falkirk.

The committee is transforming the future of the club, which is sited on old farmland into a model for other for other clubs to follow.

The committee invested money into turning an old farmhouse on the land into a children’s nursery which will provide an income for the next 25 years in partnership with Glenbervie Kindergarden which also invested in the project and has the lease.

The 107-year-old club, which plays in the Saturday East Division 2 league, also rents space to an archery club and is looking to become a community interest company to offer more services to the local community.

With the club’s finances now stable they are growing their numbers through their strong involvement with local schools and the community (almost 40% of girls who play cricket in Forth Valley do so at the club) and their recent Family Day which attracted 135 visitors was sponsored by the local Tesco Extra and talks are now afoot of running car park cricket sessions at Tesco.

The club is now converted into a Community Interest Company (CIC) with the view to the club becoming a Community Hub. The launch presentation of this project is due to be hosted at Tesco Extra.

Based on the innovation and enterprise demonstrated by Westquarter and Redding CC Cricket Scotland will in March be running a conference #MoreThanCricketHow cricket and cricket clubs can grow in Scotland. An event focusing on how Scotland’s cricket clubs can play a bigger role in people’s lives and become hubs for their communities.

A couple of months ago England Golf launched an initiative to stimulate and encourage innovation and enterprise across the sport: #MoreThanGolf. SMN was brought into work with England Golf on developing the project.

Since then a number of strands have been developed to help golf in England to grow and become more engaged with the communities around the 1900 golf clubs across England. A board-led project group is considering these projects two of which could include:

Golf and Your Health

A large number of research studies have demonstrated that golf can be a very successful moderate aerobic physical activity. The UK general population is getting older as is the membership of golf clubs, which creates both challenges and opportunities.

This project will support the already work already happening within golf to engage with current, lapsed and potential members by providing services which cater better for their social and medical needs, in partnership with local health agencies, dedicated charities and social enterprises. This will enable them to brand themselves a “Healthy Golf Club”.

One of the current projects sees The Stroke Association working in partnership with Cheshire Golf Association getting stroke-sufferers into, or back into, golf, with the resulting health and social benefits. http://tinyurl.com/hv6lfmb

Golf for Social Good

There are already a number of programs where golf engages with local communities, either through some of the more progressive clubs or through social enterprises, such as Community Golf, http://communitygolf.co.uk who deliver a diverse range of golf activation programmes.

Valleys Golf in South Wales http://valleysgolf.co.uk is a social enterprise which delivers golf coaching, education and training with the objective of unlocking and realising the full potential of the communities in which they work.

In their England Golf Awards 2017, the governing body is acknowledging, for the first time, a club with a particularly strong community engagement. The Strongest Community Engagement winner will be the club with `Community Engagement` at its heart. It involves people and groups from all parts of the local community to grow the game and promote its own long-term sustainability. The #MoreThanGolf project also includes a conference, Grow Golf, aimed at people with an interest in innovation and enterprise in golf. The event includes case-studies, workshops with business advice and ‘Dragons Den’ type event where people can pitch ideas – all learning about and discussing how best to create innovation and enterprise in golf #MoreThanGolf.

Creating #MoreThanSport is not rocket- science, but it does require a change in mindset, which is not always the easiest. Want to learn more about how you can go down this route? Just get in touch.

How to grow sport, while doing social good

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Sport for Social Good – the new strategy for sport in England
A conference designed to raise awareness, share ideas and experiences,
encourage a new culture and develop relevant skills
5th July 2016
Britannia Stadium, Stoke City FC

Building communities through sport
growing sport working with communities

The Government’s strategy for sport and physical activity moves beyond merely looking at how many people take part. In the future, funding decisions will be made on the basis of the social good that sport and physical activity can deliver, not simply on the number of participants. Success in sport will be defined through five key outcomes:
• physical wellbeing
• mental wellbeing
• individual development
• social and community development
• economic development

It is clear that there is a fundamental mind-set shift from looking at the number of adults playing sport to looking at how sport can contribute to national well-being and the economy. There will also be a focus on those people who do not tend to take part in sport, including women and girls, disabled people, those in lower socio-economic groups and older people.

For many ‘traditional’ sports development professionals this new strategy will require a significant shift in the way they work, and they will have to develop a much-improved ability working with providers of community and commercial sport and physical activities, with a wide range of non-sport partners from health to regeneration and with different levels of government.

There is recognition that sports organisations play an important role in increasing physical activity levels through enabling access to sport. Sport has an incredible power to create social change. It can have a positive impact on people’s lives, it can deliver social outcomes in areas such as health and wellbeing, skills, confidence and it brings communities together.

Real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt,
ideas and experiences to be shared

Delegates will come from community sports clubs, governing bodies of sport, local authorities, community sports trusts at our professional and semi-pro clubs, informal sports providers, community sports enterprises, community groups and other community sports providers and community organisations.

Sports Marketing Network, 5 Station Terrace, Boroughbridge,
YO51 9BU or email svend@smnuk.com Tel 01423 326 660

How to grow sport, while doing social good

Hits: 152

Sport for Social Good – the new strategy for sport in England
A conference designed to raise awareness, share ideas and experiences,
encourage a new culture and develop relevant skills
5th July 2016
Britannia Stadium, Stoke City FC

In partnership with

Building communities through sport
growing sport working with communities

The Government’s strategy for sport and physical activity moves beyond merely looking at how many people take part. In the future, funding decisions will be made on the basis of the social good that sport and physical activity can deliver, not simply on the number of participants. Success in sport will be defined through five key outcomes:
• physical wellbeing
• mental wellbeing
• individual development
• social and community development
• economic development

It is clear that there is a fundamental mind-set shift from looking at the number of adults playing sport to looking at how sport can contribute to national well-being and the economy. There will also be a focus on those people who do not tend to take part in sport, including women and girls, disabled people, those in lower socio-economic groups and older people.

For many ‘traditional’ sports development professionals this new strategy will require a significant shift in the way they work, and they will have to develop a much-improved ability working with providers of community and commercial sport and physical activities, with a wide range of non-sport partners from health to regeneration and with different levels of government.

There is recognition that sports organisations play an important role in increasing physical activity levels through enabling access to sport. Sport has an incredible power to create social change. It can have a positive impact on people’s lives, it can deliver social outcomes in areas such as health and wellbeing, skills, confidence and it brings communities together.

Real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt,
ideas and experiences to be shared

Delegates will come from community sports clubs, governing bodies of sport, local authorities, community sports trusts at our professional and semi-pro clubs, informal sports providers, community sports enterprises, community groups and other community sports providers and community organisations.

Sports Marketing Network, 5 Station Terrace, Boroughbridge,
YO51 9BU or email svend@smnuk.com Tel 01423 326 660

How to grow sport, while doing social good

How to grow sport, while doing social good

Hits: 182

Sport for Social Good – the new strategy for sport in England
A conference designed to raise awareness, share ideas and experiences,
encourage a new culture and develop relevant skills
5th July 2016
Britannia Stadium, Stoke City FC

In partnership with

Building communities through sport
growing sport working with communities

The Government’s strategy for sport and physical activity moves beyond merely looking at how many people take part. In the future, funding decisions will be made on the basis of the social good that sport and physical activity can deliver, not simply on the number of participants. Success in sport will be defined through five key outcomes:
• physical wellbeing
• mental wellbeing
• individual development
• social and community development
• economic development

It is clear that there is a fundamental mind-set shift from looking at the number of adults playing sport to looking at how sport can contribute to national well-being and the economy. There will also be a focus on those people who do not tend to take part in sport, including women and girls, disabled people, those in lower socio-economic groups and older people.

For many ‘traditional’ sports development professionals this new strategy will require a significant shift in the way they work, and they will have to develop a much-improved ability working with providers of community and commercial sport and physical activities, with a wide range of non-sport partners from health to regeneration and with different levels of government.

There is recognition that sports organisations play an important role in increasing physical activity levels through enabling access to sport. Sport has an incredible power to create social change. It can have a positive impact on people’s lives, it can deliver social outcomes in areas such as health and wellbeing, skills, confidence and it brings communities together.

Real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt,
ideas and experiences to be shared

Delegates will come from community sports clubs, governing bodies of sport, local authorities, community sports trusts at our professional and semi-pro clubs, informal sports providers, community sports enterprises, community groups and other community sports providers and community organisations.

Sports Marketing Network, 5 Station Terrace, Boroughbridge,
YO51 9BU or email svend@smnuk.com Tel 01423 326 660

How boxing, martial arts and fitness can help marginalised young people

How boxing, martial arts and fitness can help marginalised young people

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This is the title of the presentation given by Rebecca Donnelly MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Fight 4 Change Foundation at Sport for Social Good – the new strategy for sport in England on 5th July 2016 at Britannia Stadium, Stoke City FC.

Fight 4 Change works across London and Kent delivering gang intervention programmes and personal development plans for participants, multi-sports programmes, female only programmes and programme specifically targeting mental wellbeing and physical health. All programmes using sport as a hook for social change and social good.

Fight for Change is also now a National Open College Network accredited centre and design their own course that fit alongside their programmes. These courses help progress young people onto broader outcomes producing active citizens, volunteers, apprenticeships and employment opportunities.

Rebecca’s presentation will cover the journey from setting up the charity in 2009 to run programmes that use boxing as the hook to attract marginalised young men and mentors them to become positive members of society.

Rebecca, with a degree in business from Greenwich University, became at 27 the world under-57kg Thai Boxing champion and was also UK amateur boxing champion. She was awarded an MBE in the 2015 New Year Honours List for services to community sport.

This conference will bring everybody together

Real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt,
ideas and experiences to be shared

Delegates will come from community sports clubs, governing bodies of sport, local authorities, community sports trusts at our professional and semi-pro clubs, informal sports providers, community sports enterprises, community groups and other community sports providers and community organisations.

Sports Marketing Network, 5 Station Terrace, Boroughbridge,
YO51 9BU or email svend@smnuk.com Tel 01423 326 660