What is your purpose?

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What is your purpose? Do you know?

Do your members, stakeholders know? Does the community know?

In the business world, it is a fact that purpose-driven companies witness higher market share and grow faster, all while achieving a higher workforce and customer satisfaction.Over the years I have asked leaders in sports clubs and bodies, public health bodies, activity providers and many others the simple questions: “What is your purpose? What are you for?”

To be honest, most of the answers were either all over the place or they were very narrow such as “we are a football club, we are a leisure centre or we are a sports body”. Those attitudes will not help create enterprising, sustainable organisations which can develop a real impact for members, stakeholders and the wider community, rather the reverse.

A clear purpose is everything to an organisation. It articulates why an organisation exists, what problems it is here to solve and who it wants to be to each human it touches through its work.

All our work over the years has demonstrated that sports and community bodies with a clear purpose create deeper connections with people and communities, attract and retain talent, and indeed funding and thus achieve greater results and impact

Authenticity is paramount

 Unfortunately, we have also seen cases, some bodies come up with a clever strapline highlighting their, alleged, wider purpose while at the same time continuing ‘just being sport’ and people and the community see straight through that.

 

To paraphrase Groucho Marx:

So here are some ways you can demonstrate your authenticity in everything you do:

 

  1. Tell your story and make it impactful, demonstrating your commitment to creating an impact
  2. Walk the walk by being transparent and accountable for everything you do. There is now incredible transparency and we all have data at our fingertips, and you can achieve ‘trusted status’ by opening up new connections while growing your impact and scope.
  3. Put all humans at the heart of your decisions, by leading with purpose by occupying a meaningful place in the hearts and minds of all the people you touch.
  4. Let the purpose evolve, revisit your body’s cultural DNA and engage with siloed people and refine who you are in the world

So why does your centre/club/body exist?

Where have you come from? How did we get here? What makes us unique to members, volunteers, partners and the wider community

 

Getting people on board

It’s paramount that you take people with you and that they feel fully connected with your purpose. Unfortunately, we have seen cases where that was not the case with members, volunteers and staff and the whole thing falls flat.

This can not just be communicated through a presentation/statement from the Chair and/or a glossy Powerpoint presentation.  This is about commitment and execution – day in, day out!

How Edinburgh Spartans Academy’s purpose is ‘Here for good’

The charity is based in one of Scotland’s most deprived areas, Pilton, and seeks to deliver a positive impact through the power of people and sport in the local community and beyond.

They seek to achieve this through the delivery of a wide range of community-based programmes. E.g. from various youth work-based provisions to opportunities for young people to enjoy recreational activities and the chance to play in a safe, clean and modern space.

They provide a wide range of volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and support the education of young people through their Homework Clubs,

Alternative School and by providing a full-time youth worker for 2 local primary schools.  They also deliver football coaching programmes for children from age 3-12 years. 

They are recognised as one of the leading sport-based charities in the country and held up as an exemplar project by the Scottish Government.

Since 2008, The Spartans Community Football Academy has been working with the local community and their partners to deliver programmes and initiatives that have a lasting positive social impact in North Edinburgh.

 

Here for Good helps Edinburgh Spartans make a massive impact during Covid-19

A social enterprise doing good…

Spartans Community Football Academy is mindful of the challenges facing many young people and their families in our local area. They operate their facilities and community coaching programmes as a social enterprise, reinvesting profits back into the business to support our positive social impact in the community. When you buy coaching sessions for your kids or simply have a cup of coffee in our cafe you are helping them to change lives through sport.

Dealing with food insecurity 

After thrusting into the food insecurity space in 2020, they needed to continue to play their part, to do something relevant and sustainable. In addition, they wanted to supplement and support newly established provisions created to help tackle this ever-increasing social need.

Their new ‘Roots Shoots and Scores’ food production and sustainability education programme was launched and has flourished this past year. As part of this new innovative programme developed in partnership with ReThink Food Futures, school children learn about social business and are allowed to lead, manage and run a weekly pop-up pantry, which provides local families with a weekly food parcel. Families are invited to make an affordable donation if they are in a position to do so.

 In addition, their ‘blue coats’ have played a key part in helping to support local children and young people this past year. New projects – such as Sphero Superstars – have helped to improve children skills set, heighten engagement levels and shine a light on the amazing talent and capabilities which exist in our local Primary Schools. Now more than ever, they are driven to play their part in helping to close an attainment gap that has sadly increased as a result of the pandemic.

Running their “Girls in STEM” programme

 

Their Still Kicking programme attracts women of all ages each week. A welcoming place to socialise and be physically active. Free to attend every Thursday in Edinburgh.

Next blog:

How Westquarter & Redding Cricket Club went from a small cricket club to a community hub and #MoreThanAClub

Innovation in community sport – a training and support programme

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Innovation in community sport –

a training and support programme

Community sports leaders must rethink the way they adapt and innovate

 

Webinars and a guide helping you to develop and deliver new ideas and initiatives

Innovation is alive and kicking in community sport – are you innovating?

 
Ever since some rugby players in the USA more than 100 years ago introduced the forward pass and thus set the foundation for what is now American Football we have seen regular innovations in sport and physical activity.  Some don’t really last, but most are ignored, or even ridiculed, by people within ‘The System’.

Often these developments and innovations are not developed by people at the top, but by some ‘silly’ people out there in the communities who then take their initial wacky idea and make it come to life.  But as you can see here the ‘people up there’ can indeed come up with great ideas, as is the case with England and Wales Cricket Board. (see below)

How the ECB got 101.000 5-11-year-olds to try cricket and got tens of thousands of new spectators to watch elite cricket

Cricket has often been seen as a somewhat conservative sport but over the last few years, amazing innovative programmes such as All Star aimed at 5-8-year-olds and the newer Dynamos programme aimed at 8-11-year-olds have an amazing impact on the number of kids trying cricket – this summer that number reached 101.000

The ECB also launched the shorter cricket version, The Hundred, this summer where women’s and men’s matches were played on the same days and the whole atmosphere was live and exciting – thus attracting thousands of new, young spectators.
But it is also worth noting that prior to the launch of The Hundred, there was considerable negative murmerings from the more diehard cricket supporters. No pain, no gain

So, how prepared are you for the way that people’s habits may have changed and what impact that could have on whether they are returning to your place/centre?

Many people have been running with their dogs, walking with neighbours, cycling for the first time, playing family football in the back garden or doing online fitness classes via Zoom, Peleton or Youtube.  How are you going to get those people to (re)join your club/centre?

Can a football club run a family football festival? Could a leisure centre organise social cycling starting and finishing at your car park? Could a rugby club organise a charity dog walk in aid of a doggy charity using their clubhouse as a base? Could canoeing, swimming and cycling organisations, say, learn from Parkrun and set up casual social sessions? Of course…

Social innovation is a concept that is gaining traction the world over. It focuses on solutions (products, services, models, markets, processes etc.) that simultaneously meet a social need (more effectively than existing solutions) and lead to new or improved capabilities and relationships and better use of assets and resources. In other words, social innovations are both good for society and enhance society’s capacity to act.

Within sport, whether using ice hockey in Northern Ireland to bring Catholic and Protestant communities together, Nagin Ravand, an Afghan football-mad refugee is getting other females from a multi-cultural community in Denmark to play football or Salaam Peace who runs a community engagement programme that uses sports and social education to bring people together from diverse backgrounds in East London, the innovation we are seeing in sport for change is extremely important for engaging and bringing communities together.

We must get more people active and play sport and become engaged within their community.  Post-pandemic we have seen many people change their habits, and we must develop ideas and initiatives that can really engage and activate people.

We are all creative, but sometimes we all need some inspiration and support…

The good news is that we are all creative, but sometimes people do get stuck and need a boost of energy to get their creativity and innovation focus back on track. And sometimes it’s that the job hasn’t been about being creative before and now it is a sure recipe for brain-freeze for people whose day to day job isn’t looked upon as creative.

The days of the ‘lone genius’ locked away in a room coming up with brilliant ideas are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

New research shows that teams of disparate people working together with a variety of points of view accelerate the creative process and make innovation more possible but of greater importance, more relevant to the whole company.

Through SMN’s creativity training the predictable, new possibilities will emerge, including the absurd, the inappropriate, even the dangerous.

However, out of a bit of irreverence and rule-breaking comes original and innovative thinking, even for those who absolutely are convinced they aren’t creative.

Your company may need to have various individuals or teams sharpen their creative capabilities to keep pace with your aspirations. Like so many organisations right now, you may be undergoing big changes and your people have to rise to the creative challenge to stay on top.

It may be that you simply need to have some additional innovative tools to spark creative thinking and get people outside those prescribed ‘boxes’ even if those boxes have proved excellent in the past.

Sports Marketing Network’s innovation in community sport programme can help you developing and delivering great, effective and efficient innovations and initiatives

Svend Elkjaer, the presenter
Svend Elkjaer is the founder and senior partner of Sports Marketing Network. Helping providers of community sport and physical activity to become more vibrant, visible and viable he has worked extensively with innovation and enterprise in community sport and physical activity across the world.
The Sports Marketing Network is a growing international community of like-minded people. People who want to develop and deliver more vibrant, visible and viable sport and physical activity initiatives, right there in, and for, their communities. People who want to learn from best practice, from ideas and thoughts from across the sector and beyond and who are looking for a one-stop source.

Two delivery options

Delivery option 1:

The open programme includes three 45-minute webinars supported by a 24-page guide.

The three webinars will be engaging and interactive:

Innovation in community sport 10 am BST 6th October
Identifying challenges and opportunities 

This webinar will cover the importance of listening to people’s lives and promoting curiosity and making people challenge their assumptions

It will also look at and give you tools for generating ideas and initiatives and we will also go through how to test and launch new initiatives

 

Innovation in community sport10 am BST 20th October
Adopting new skills for innovation while you also learn how to apply them in everyday work

 This webinar will cover how to look at digital technology to create innovative solutions and give you methods and tools for generating ideas.

We will also cover how to develop new formats for your sport and activities and deliver your sport and activities at new places.

 

 Innovation in community sport10 am GMT 3rd November

Failing, learning, adapting, improving and moving on – making innovation happen

 This webinar will cover how to work with different partners and providers to attract new participants

We will also give you thoughts, tools and to-dos on how to become an innovative club, centre or body and overcome reluctance to change

To participate in the webinars and to receive the guide is £35 per person and it is free for members of SMN’s premium service, Sports Enterprise Network

 

Delivery option 2:

The bespoke programme can be delivered on your premises or online and can be adapted to suit your exact needs. For an informal discussion about this option, please contact Svend Elkjaer on either 01423 326 660 or email him on svend@smnuk.com

Sweating the Asset

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Sweating the Asset

Introducing Facility Enterprise for community sports clubs and facilities

Facility Management, Community Sports Enterprise and Community Impact all coming together

Report from a Sports Marketing Network webinar, run by Svend Elkjaer, Founder/Director

Asset transfer is a growing phenomenon…but not everybody should do it!

Asset transfers of community buildings and sports facilities have taken place across the UK for a few years now.  In many cases, they have gone well and many community groups and sports clubs now run their own facilities and can grow their impact in the community.

Some are in a brilliant state, well-maintained and generating income to help for the upkeep of the facility and the running of the clubs. However, there are, unfortunately. also, too many sports facilities, which are in a bad state of repair, being left to the elements and not a place where no one, apart from the club diehards, wants to spend any time. 

So, this can be a daunting task for people who normally are volunteers with little experience in fundraising, planning laws, budgeting and the dozens of aspects involved with developing your community sports facility.

Unfortunately, we have seen too many examples where these developments don’t go to plan, in some cases with dire consequences:

  • the club/organisation does not have the leadership and enterprise experience to make the facility viable and it soon falls into disrepair
  • the club/organisation just wants to be ‘just-a-place-for-sport’ and because there is little no connection with the community, the place is under-utilised
  • due to a lack of experience, good advice and thought-through strategy, the facility is not designed to meet the requirements for running a viable enterprise

Over the years, Sports Marketing Network has worked with probably more community sports facilities than most other people and we have seen some fantastic places, where the clubs/centres can maintain and develop their facilities through strong management and enterprise.

Svend started the webinar by defining sports facility management as overseeing and managing leisure centres, gyms, or other sports facilities, such as practice courts, swimming pools, etc.

Common duties will typically include preparing current financials for the owner of the facility, managing staff and inventory, as well as ordering supplies, equipment and scheduled maintenance or repairs.

He then presented this slide

 

This slide highlights how important innovation and community engagement is for developing and delivering a really great and financially sustainable sports facility.

That is highlighted in this slide which highlights the importance for your facility to be that hub for the community where community groups, institutions, authorities and so on partner up with your facility and all parties benefit from sharing values and links.

Sport and our facilities must create shared value with its communities

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.

Any centre/club that wants to share value with its community must open up the club and the way it operates to people from outside its ‘inner circle’. By gradually engaging with new groups and institutions e.g. from Women’s Institutes to colleges, you will also connect with new audiences who will bring new ideas, people and skills to your club. 

 

Svend then introduced the concept of the Community Sports Enterprise where, as the slide shows, there are eight key strands to develop a well-run, sustainable enterprise facility. Those eight strands are interdependent so every facility enterprise must constantly be working on maximising the experiences they provide, the way they generate income and so on.

 

The webinar then introduced the concept of the balanced income model where facility enterprises develop various funding and income streams from donors, funders, partners and customers ensuring they are less reliant on one single one.

 

Svend then discussed change and leadership and highlighted how often change programmes fail because there are too many people who are afraid of change and their own role in that strange new world.  He highlighted this little story he heard on his local radio station.

 

Svend then discussed change and leadership and highlighted how often change programmes fail because there are too many people who are afraid of change and their own role in that strange new world. 
He highlighted this little story he heard on his local radio station.

He then also listed the 12 key paths to developing and delivering successful projects:

 

  • Get the vision and scope right and get all stakeholders to agree on what the project is trying to achieve
  • Defining major deliverables – do a sanity check (you can’t deliver eternal health and happiness in an afternoon!)
  • Plan the project – Get the BIG picture. Allocate time, activities, resources and financials remembering that a good plan is much more than just a schedule or list of activities
  • Planning is important – the plan is an expression of the planning/thinking that’s gone into it
  • Identify key risks and issues – what can you influence as opposed to worrying about things you can’t – then have a plan B: Say, what happens if it rains at the day of the cricket festival
  • Learn from others’ mistakes – you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself
  • Focus on getting the job done and not necessarily on how it is done
  • Good, honest communication with your project team and any other groups and stakeholders is crucial
  • Overcome complacency – work with real urgency.
  • Motivate team members and stakeholders to deliver quality results. Saying thank you and give people small cool gifts. You can be popular and liked and getting things done
  • Know your key numbers – all the time (participation, income, costs, resources spent and time left).
  • Ensure that every day you are closer to your targets – the best way to miss a target or budget is bit by bit and hope you will catch up tomorrow!

He then suggested that every facility should consider subletting space to community services such as health centres, beauty salons, vets or as in the case of Westquarter & Redding Cricket Club who are renting out one of the buildings on their ground to a children’s nursery, so apart from the very welcome rental income they also get loads on local young families using their car park and becoming familiar with the club.

 

 

He then highlighted the importance of providing
a great customer experience, ie in the case of how you serve your coffee:

Then followed some great case studies where community sports clubs and enterprises had delivered some amazing transformations of existing places, from tennis clubs, climbing centres and skate parks – as Svend says

“it can be done”, just get on with it and use the three 3s.

 

To listen to the whole recording of the webinar click here and if you want to have a chat with Svend on how he can help with sweating your asset and run a viable, enterprising facility contact him 01423 326 660 or email svend@smnuk.com.

Sweat the Asset webinar

Welcoming Sport

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Welcoming Sport –
developing a more welcoming culture across community sport

 

Let’s build an awareness, training, communication and award programme designed to increase diversity and inclusion across community sport

 

 

You can watch a recording of a presentation of some of our thinking around Welcoming Sport here
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.

The sporting landscape has changed enormously in recent years. Government and community expectations for good governance, integrity, equality, member protection and child safeguarding means that providing safe, fair and inclusive sporting environments is no longer an aspiration, but an imperative.

 

How Northumberland Cricket Board (NCB) developed a diverse and inclusive Board

The NCB was formed in 2010 and initially, it comprised white men with either a cricket and/or local authority background.  Russell Perry, the Chair then decided that to become a more relevant and representative group they had to bring in people with a different background and skillset.

They brought the first woman on to the Board, who opened up NCB to the world of social media and stuck a chord with their much younger staff.

The process was led by Claris D’cruz, a local charity barrister/consultant and an NCB Director.

Gradually, they broadened the scope of the members of the Board, challenged groupthink and brought in new contacts and skills, which helped them to engage better with their community, funders and the ECB.

The board now has twelve members, three women, three of Asian descent, four in their forties and two in their thirties.

The demographic of the communities in which sport operates has also changed dramatically. Our culturally, linguistically and gender diverse communities are looking for sporting options and experiences that celebrate diversity, promote inclusion, and most importantly, make people feel like they belong.

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

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

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

How Bright Star Boxing attracts non-boxers
One of the over 50s sessions in progress at Brightstar
Bright Star Boxing Academy is unlike any other gym. Set up by founder Joe Lockley in 2015, it started simply as a way to get fit and practise boxing in Shropshire. However, since its inception, the gym has become a pillar of the community, helping people from across the West Midlands to get fit while also tackling mental health issues.
Today Bright Star runs sessions for groups ranging from women who have suffered sexual
abuse to homeless people those young people who are excluded or at risk of exclusion from school and social prescribers.

Every Saturday the gym also hosts ‘Counterpunch’, a group aimed specifically at encouraging males to talk about their mental health.

Counterpunch helps the club reach out to vulnerable people, empower them and make
positive changes to their lives by offering informal mental health support from its coaches – many of whom have experienced mental health problems themselves

Making inclusion happen

Everyone should have the opportunity to be actively involved in whatever sport they choose, in whatever capacity they choose. Each sporting organisation should be committed to being inclusive and open to all members of the UK community regardless of age, gender, disability, cultural or religious background or sexual orientation, or other attributes that may add to any person feeling excluded or isolated.

But the reality is, a tale of missed opportunities still exists. Sports and clubs are missing out on entire groups of potential members, players, administrators and volunteers. More importantly, people who want to play sports feel, for a variety of reasons and barriers, excluded and don’t want to become involved.

Welcome to our club?

Golf club secretary: “Of course, we welcome new members,
as long as their handicap is low enough”

 

Those challenges and opportunities exist within culturally and linguistically diverse populations. gender inclusion, homophobia and sexuality, people with a disability, race-based inclusion and religious vilification.

The Welcoming Sport programme aims to improve on that situation

The six components of the programme:

1. Involvement of NGBs, Active Partnerships, leisure trusts, associations representing the less engaged groups and so on

We propose that all potential stakeholders are invited to intro meetings held at strategic locations across the UK.

 

“Asian communities are an important part of the football landscape and should
be better represented across the game.

It’s like in any business if you’re only selecting from a smaller section of the population then what are you missing?”

Gareth Southgate

The purpose is to secure the buy-in from these organisations many of whom may not have been ‘in the same room’ before although they, and their clients, would benefit considerably from a more welcoming culture and behaviour across community sport.

It is therefore key that they, as far as possible, speak the same language and send out the same messages which, unfortunately, is not always the case. The intro meetings should each run for, say, two hours.

We will present the programme and content and listen to feedback and comments and fine-tune the format and content.

We see these intro meetings as an important element in developing the Welcoming Sport movement.

Flyerz Hockey are drawing disabled people into hockey across the UK

‘Flyerz’ hockey is the name widely associated with grassroots disability, inclusive hockey in Great Britain. There are now more than 20 Flyerz sections across England, Wales and Scotland, providing inclusive hockey for disabled people.

In 2011, Access Sport’s Disability Inclusion Programme was launched to support local community sports clubs to become more inclusive of disabled young people. Access Sport partnered with Waltham Forest Hockey Club to create the first fully inclusive hockey section in England, which was named ‘Forest Flyerz’ and inspired other clubs to introduce ‘Flyerz’ hockey.to Access Sport supports hockey clubs in starting their Flyerz section, providing them with the tools and resources they need in their journey to become inclusive of disabled individuals.

In 2011, Access Sport’s Disability Inclusion Programme was launched to support local community sports clubs to become more inclusive of disabled young people. Access Sport partnered with Waltham Forest Hockey Club to create the first fully inclusive hockey section in England, which was named ‘Forest Flyerz’ and inspired other clubs to introduce ‘Flyerz’ hockey.to Access Sport supports hockey clubs in starting their Flyerz section, providing them with the tools and resources they need in their journey to become inclusive of disabled individuals.

Kate Page, Development Manager for Disability Inclusion at Access Sport says, “don’t hesitate! Don’t overcomplicate. There’s no right time – just do it!”. Adapt only when needed. Try to keep sessions similar to the mainstream sessions – adapt or simplify only when necessary”, wise words we think.

2. Awareness/social media campaign 

In 2016 SMN was commissioned by England Golf to develop and deliver an initiative to stimulate and encourage innovation across golf: #MoreThanGolf.  We recommended to England Golf to start out with a social media and PR campaign, fronted by the then CEO, Nick Pink.
That was the first time this type of campaign had been run by a sports body, and as far as we know, the only NGB that has used social media to engage their stakeholders, invite their input, ideas and generally engage with the world around them.

An email account innovation@englandgolf.com was set up and the campaign received 500 email responses. 

 

Half of those said that “there was nothing wrong with golf”, that “this campaign was waste of time and money” and that “BBC should show every minute of the British Open and then the kids would want to play golf”.

But, the other half thanked England Golf for listening, for inviting ideas etc. and many put forward ideas and suggestions, some of which we would have never thought of ourselves.
One of those email responses then asked:
Some internet research then showed that dogs are welcome at many golf clubs across the world,
but we also heard stories about members being rejected from golf clubs because they brought their dogs and “that was against the rules”.

Full stop. It is worth noting that 30 per cent of UK households have a dog.

Then we were alerted to the fact that you can bring your dog onto the Old Course at St Andrews, the home of golf (peak green fee £195.00).  (If you bring your dog to Sunningdale Golf Club (green fee £275) the dog gets a free sausage). 

So, if your dog is welcome at some of the UK’s most prestigious golf courses, surely all other courses should follow suit.

We then came across this website from Germany where you can book onto golf courses where you can bring your dog. 

Every year in South Shields, outside Newcastle, the world’s largest Dog Walk takes place with 34,000 dogs and their owners, raising £ 1 Mio for doggy charities. Also, 20 National Trust properties run dog walk in aid of Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, so they raise money for a good cause and attract visitors to their properties.

 

 We told those stories at England Golf’s sell-out innovation conference, that SMN organised for them at Villa Park, which brought together 200 people from across golf keen to be inspired to develop new initiatives.

 We propose to a similar social media/PR campaign with a strapline such as #MoreWelcomingSport where we invite ideas and examples on how we can make sport more welcoming, diverse and inclusive. 

 
We reckon that, out there, there are plenty of good examples and ideas that we then can share and highlight through the campaign.
 

Getting females from multi-ethnic communities to play football 

Nagin Ravand is an Afghan refugee whose parents moved to Denmark in 2002, so she was brought up in a very egalitarian ‘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, 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.

 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.

3. Workshop/webinar programme 

Using the combined expertise and experience from SMN together with feedback and ideas gathered during the first two steps of the programme we will develop a series of face to face workshops and follow-up webinars.

Over the years, SMN has developed a toolbox that we tend to use when we develop our courses:

  • Thoughts: Through story-telling, examples and inquisitive questions we challenge the status quo and help you think outside the box and build an edge to growth
  • Tools: We provide you with a wide range of simple tools on how you can achieve best practice, improve and grow the business in simple steps
  • To-Dos: Having decided which tools to use, we can then give you simple templates and action points – to use there and then

At this stage, we reckon there will be a programme with a blend of face-to-face workshops and online webinars.

We propose to offer a 3-hour intro workshop called Welcoming Sport where we go through how providers of community sport can develop and deliver great, welcoming experiences for everyone regardless of their background and skills.

Modules and also webinar topics can include

  • Modernising your board to become more diverse and inclusive
  • How to become a more diverse and inclusive place
  • How to run a really great Open Day for all
  • First impressions count – how to get new people through the door
  • From sports coach to welcoming activator
  • From Performance and Pathway to Pleasure and Participation
  • Using social media to attract and engage people
  • Working in partnership with non-sport community partners
  • Making people wanting to come back by giving them great experiences
  • How to become a hub for your community
No doubt, our engagement  with partners and our social media campaign will bring out other topics and aspects which we will then incorporate into the programme.
Modules and also webinar topics can include

  • Modernising your board to become more diverse and inclusive
  • How to become a more diverse and inclusive place
  • How to run a really great Open Day for all
  • First impressions count – how to get new people through the door
  • From sports coach to welcoming activator
  • From Performance and Pathway to Pleasure and Participation
  • Using social media to attract and engage people
  • Working in partnership with non-sport community partners
  • Making people wanting to come back by giving them great experiences
  • How to become a hub for your community
Mixed Ability Sports breaking down barriers

Mixed Ability Sports (MAS) was conceived to promote social inclusion and meaningful interaction between individuals and groups who wouldn’t necessarily share paths in their local communities. At least not in ‘normal’ circumstances.

Many of their participants have experienced – or still, experience – exclusion, social isolation and segregation daily because of their perceived diversity, and MAS is their only asset.

An asset to their physical, social and mental wellbeing, a space of equality, rights and equal opportunities. A crucial part of their identity.

Mixed Ability sport has the potential for positive impacts at the individual, club and societal level:

  • At the individual level, participants reported both physical and mental health benefits, increased self-confidence and self-determination as well as a sense of belonging in the Mixed Ability team, club or group. For example, one participant stated ‘It’s made me more confident about doing other things. When I start learning new things, and if I haven’t done it before, I get really nervous … and since I’ve come here I don’t feel I get nervous anymore.’ Antony Binns, Mixed Ability boxing participant.
  • At the club level, respondents reported a more inclusive club culture, new members and a membership more representative of the local community, more accessible infrastructure and coach development. A representative from one of the Clubs embracing Mixed Ability said ‘Mixed Ability has transformed our club culture. It makes me wonder how we can make the rest of society more like this!’
  • More broadly, the impacts included the meaningful inclusion of disabled participants in mainstream sport. Also, participants reported shifts in perceptions of dis/ability, a raised awareness of barriers to participation in sport and other areas of society.

4.    Online library resource with guides, case studies and webinar videos

Over the years, SMN has acquired considerable experience with building comprehensive libraries of resources supporting innovation and enterprise within community sport, and our current premium service, Sports Enterprise Network comprises one of the biggest libraries/resources of its kind.

We are proposing that Welcoming Sport, over time, build a similar database/library covering how to deliver welcoming, inclusive and diverse sport with guides, case studies and webinar videos that we are constantly producing for the Welcoming Sport project.

Initially, SMN will produce a 32-page guide on How to become a Welcoming place for sport, which and we will then produce add-on guides and so and build this all-encompassing library covering all aspects of delivering welcoming, inclusive and diverse sport.

 5.    Awards programme with conference and award presentation

In 2015, working with Cricket Scotland on the #MoreThanCricket programme, SMN helped them to introduce an awards programme for their clubs that matched the ambitions
Cricket Scotland had for their clubs and got them away for the traditional awards, for ‘best coach’ and so on.

The new categories were: 

  • Biggest Change-Maker at a Scottish Cricket Club
  • Scotland`s Most Welcoming Cricket Club
  • Best use of `Bite-Sized` Volunteers
  • Best use of Social Media
  • Most Innovative and Effective Income Generation
  • Strongest Community Engagement

The impact was considerable, as the whole support and training programme was also geared towards improving the clubs’ performance in these six areas.
The awards were presented at the annual Club Enterprise Conference.

We would like to propose that we include a Welcoming Sport Award programme in this project
The awards could include: 

  • The overall most welcoming place for sport
  • The most welcoming sports club
  • The most welcoming leisure centre
  • The most welcoming sports project
  • The most diverse and inclusive place for sport
  • Most welcoming coach/instructor in community sport

The awards could be presented at an annual Welcoming Sport conference where we highlight best practices, showcase great examples, bring in ideas and thinking from customer service, hospitality, retail and entertainment and generally, inspire bodies, clubs, enterprises, charities, coaches and others.

6. Network with e-news and sharing of stories and lessons learned

As the project gathers momentum, we propose that we set up the Welcoming Sport Network where we, say, monthly, share ideas and best practices, run webinars, follow-up meetings and generally support the Welcoming Sport movement and momentum to keep the whole ethos growing.

Sports Marketing Network – a strong, credible and experienced partner

Since 2006 SMN have helped physical activity and community sports providers to share best practice on how to become vibrant, visible and viable and develop innovative and enterprising enterprises.

We have been described as positive disruptors and we have worked with a wide range of sport, physical activity and community organisations helping them to adapt, change and become better equipped to the changing landscape.

More than 4000 community sports providers from across the have participated in one of our Grow Your Club workshops, benefitted from 1:2:1 consultancy and mentoring, attended one of our conferences, participated in one of our webinars or read one of our Guides, so we have developed an unparalleled knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges for the enterprise and innovation aspects of community sport and physical activity.

Thousands of people involved with community sport and physical activity across the UK and Scandinavia have participated in one of our ‘hot topics’ conferences covering issues such as Innovation and Enterprise in Community Sport, More Disabled People into Sport, Delivering great sport and physical activities for and with ethnically diverse communities, More Girls into Sport, Britain’s Active Parks, Disability Sport or Sport for Disabled People and A Healthier Nation through Sport and Physical Activity.

We have also developed and delivered year-long projects for Cricket Scotland, Rugby Football League, Football Association Wales Trust, Copenhagen City Council, Ulster University, sportscotland, London Sport, Sport Hub Denmark Golf England, Sport Wales and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity/Burgess Sport so we have considerable experience in developing and delivering, sometimes complex, blended, innovative award-winning projects which make a real difference.

Sweating the Asset

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Sweating the Asset
Introducing Facility Enterprise for community sports clubs and facilities

Facility Management, Community Sports Enterprise and Community Impact all coming together
Workshops, webinars, guides and consultancy

Intro webinar 10am BST Thursday 2nd  September 2021

Too many sports facilities and clubhouses are not maximising their potential in terms of engaging with their communities, attracting new people and partners and generating income – they need to sweat the asset!

How it works – an outline

You have decided to develop your own facility, take on asset transfer or develop your existing facility/clubhouse, all something most clubs only do once in their history, if at all.
So, this can be a daunting task for people who normally are volunteers with little experience in fundraising, planning laws, budgeting and the dozens of aspects involved with developing your community sports facility.
Across the UK there are 1000s of clubhouses at our community sports clubs which are bases for 100.000s of people enjoying their favourite sports and, in many cases, they are also places for social and community activities.

Some are in a brilliant state, well-maintained and generating income to help for the upkeep of the facility and the running of the clubs. However, there are, unfortunately. also, too many clubhouses, which are in a bad state of repair, being left to the elements and not a place where no one, apart from the club diehards, wants to spend any time. 

Unfortunately, we have seen too many examples where these developments don’t go to plan, in some cases with dire consequences:

  • the club does not have the leadership and enterprise experience to make the facility viable and it soon falls into disrepair
  • the club just wants to be ‘just-a-sports-club’ and because there is little no connection with the community, the place is under-utilised
  • due to lack of experience, good advice and thought-through strategy, the facility is not designed to meet the requirements for running a viable enterprise

Over the years, Sports Marketing Network has worked with probably more community sports facilities than most other people and we have seen some fantastic places, where the clubs are able to maintain and develop their facilities through good management and enterprise.

Tynemouth CC – from struggling cricket club to dynamic cricket enterprise

At Tynemouth Cricket Club the clubhouse is the base for a really enterprising clubs that play a tremendous role in its community, but it was not always so.

In 2005 the club had a falling membership, run down facilities and although they had a history of producing good juniors they were struggling to get teams out.

They started a community programme in local schools which saw the saw junior numbers increase and they also decided to do something about the clubhouse and launched a buy a brick appeal. The money came flooding in and they reached their target with time to spare.

Other organisations supported the project, such as the local fire station which donated the entire commercial kitchen.

Season 2006 saw the start of their work with Chance to Shine, as one of the first clubs to get involved in this fantastic initiative.

ECB also selected them as a club for a series of Sky TV test match lunchtime programmes called Clublife. Six programmes followed various aspects of the club’s work and this led to an enormous interest in the club from all parts.  

The rewards of all this publicity cannot be overstated as all of a sudden it opened doors and gave the club credibility with organisations, people and most important, funders. 
They decided to employ a part-time club development officer to undertake their school visits and coordinate the club junior programme.

Initially, they worked with six schools in primary and middle ages. This saw a large influx of new juniors and with that volunteers from the ranks of parents who came to enjoy our new clubhouse.

This “good news” story building on our already growing reputation led to further successful grant applications and bar take/subscriptions. 
As many had come into the club in June/July they were able to run holiday camps. These included young leader training, where older juniors helped out, learnt IT skills, running a club shop as well as coaching skills.

They received children from backgrounds cricket previously hadn’t really reached and the Youth Justice Board Awarded £5000 to extend the programme to other schools.

Income soured, volunteers soured – the place thrived as a centre of our community

In 2010 their reputation had grown to the extent we were commissioned by the Local Authority to deliver in as many schools as they could across the year.

As their volunteer base grew and people became engaged with the club they raised funds for pet projects – allowing them ownership! 

Out of season fundraising became significant – it started with a small group of parents pooling fireworks and having a party. 24 years later they fireworks attract 9000 people and generate £24,000 profit.

 

All kinds of agencies help due to their standing in the community and the Beer Festival the club works with CAMRA and local Rugby club and share proceeds and donate to a local charity each year.
They have also developed partnerships with other organisations to commercialise their ground maintenance and ensure regular cash flow throughout the year and allowing them to retain full-time groundsman.
 
And finally, the club’s annual turnover has gone from £43k to £164k.
They developed a massive community network if Tynemouth CC had stayed as ‘just a cricket club’ they would have had no chance of raising the funds required and to generate the income to make the facility financially sustainable.

We call this ‘facility enterprise’ or ‘from sports club to community hub’. 

This thinking then influences

  • the way the clubhouse is designed around community needs (while still accommodating sport)

  • the way it is funded (community grants/social investments/ low-interest loans)

  • the way the enterprise funds its activities through events, sporting and otherwise.

Creating Community Sports Change Makers

Introducing Community Sports Change Makers:  

An enterprise which changes people’s lives through sport, in a vibrant, visible and viable way

The model helps community sports organisations to understand how by having the right vision and by improving on all their eight strands as a Community Sports Enterprise, they can also deliver on five change areas.  These go hand in hand: “You can’t make a difference in people’s lives if you are not a sustainable enterprise, because you won’t be around for long”.

So, how do we develop welcoming clubhouses and community facilities which are designed to be community hubs, and build cultures and skills which enable the club to become a viable community sports enterprise?  In short use our facilities as bases for creating Community Sports Change Makers.

 The sweating the asset – introducing facility enterprise for community sports programme will help community sports facilities and their clubs to develop the capability and capacity to be great facility managers, community developers and income generators.

Workshops, Webinars, Guides, Consultancy/Mentoring

Obviously, this requires a different approach to the one where ‘winning the league ‘ means everything, but the ironic thing I have seen many cases where the ‘community sports enterprises’ also improve their sporting prowess while changing lives and communities.

What Sweating the asset cover:

  • Developing and agreeing with your club’s vision
  • Getting the whole club behind you
  • Reviewing the situation internally and externally 
  • Getting the legal structure right
  • Funding your development/build
  • Getting your project management right
  • Facility management – how are you going to manage the facility
  • Developing sporting and non-sporting events
  • Introduce innovative ways of engaging with your customers and your community

 

  • Learn how to run your club effectively and efficiently
  • Develop new ways of working in order to generate new income streams
  • How to manage a vibrant community sports club by developing your culture and skills
  • Attract and retain skilled and passionate volunteers
  • Making a real change for your community and local people
  • How to best assess your potential for working with community partners –  what are your assets, relationships and skills?

Upcoming Webinar 

Introducing Facility Enterprise for community sports clubs and facilities

Facility Management, Community Sports Enterprise and Community Impact all coming together
Too many sports facilities and clubhouses are not maximising their potential in terms of engaging with their communities, attracting new people and partners and generating income – they need to sweat the asset!

Free Intro Webinar Book your place here  
Thu, Sep 2, 2021 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM BST