Cricket Board says “We will transform this game very quickly”

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England Wales Cricket Board  say “We will transform this game very quickly”

So said England Wales Cricket Board (ECB) CEO Tom Harrison at a hearing at the UK Parliament looking at several claims of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club  (YCCC) on 16th November 2021.

In the UK, the story surrounding both cricket as a sport, the many cases of racism across the sport, the less than diverse culture at YCCC and the (lack of) response from ECB has dominated the news for a few days.

It also worth noticing that the story first hit the headlines when after the YCCC had been suppressing the report looking into the case for more than a year and then almost all of YCCC’s sponsors withdrew or suspended their support.

In front of the MPs former star player for YCCC, Aseem Rafiq, gave a testimony which has truly shocked cricket across in the country and severely damaged the reputation of YCCC. During the session Azeem Rafiq said: “I will not let my son anywhere near cricket”.

You can read more about the case here from the BBC website:

Azeem Rafiq: ‘A trailblazer who has created a watershed moment’ – BBC Sport
 
So, Tom Harrison faces a significant challenge which, he says, he is ready to tackle.

“I would say please understand that we are really sorry for the experiences you may have been through trying to experience cricket in this country,” he says.
“We know we may have let you down. We will fix it fast. We know the survival of our sport depends on it.”

Many membership organisations, within and outside sport, are often having with groups and factions who are unwilling to change and, inevitably, they suffer and don’t adapt and change to the world around them.

So, this article has been prompted by developments in cricket in England, but the principles and challenges apply to most sports, community and membership organisations.

So, how to start your journey towards becoming a more diverse and inclusive place

Based on our comprehensive work with change within community sport, for the sake of goodwill and support here are Sports Marketing Network’s advice:

But first, take a look here and notice the current stats for male cricketers in the UK and the composition of the ECB’s board:

30% of club cricketers in the UK are Asian…

but only 4% of pro cricketers are Asian

First, this is not about policies – it’s about developing a welcoming and open culture and experiences for everyone. We can all download some wonderful policies and then claim that we are diverse and inclusive. But it is about how everyone within your club, group, facility sports body behave and welcome people from the whole community.

It all starts at the door

How do new people feel when they stand outside your place for the first time?  Do they see somebody like themselves, someone they can associate with?

One golf club secretary said to me: “Of course, we welcome new members as long as their handicap is low enough”

As we highlight below there are some key drivers for stepping up change and similarly some key barriers for change:

Create lasting change working with the willing.

The Negaholics can ruin, or delay change, and in our experience, there is no point in trying to change them and/or their views and attitudes, and most importantly don’t try and change them, because you can’t.  No one can. There is no other way than get them to leave, politely, or otherwise. 

The longer they stay on, the more they will poison your organisation, sport and/or club and make your change project even more difficult!

1. Create a sense of urgency  

The first step is all about taking everyone out of their comfort zones; followers and leaders alike. Everyone must understand and see the need for change, and be aware of how urgent this change is. This will create immediate support for an inspiring vision for the organisation.

For a leader to achieve this, they must be open and clear in their dialogue, listing all the issues with current systems, processes and activities, and why they should be changed at this time.

Find that Big Opportunity that could ignite the hearts+minds of your people.

2. Form a guiding coalition 

As this change initiative is a project in itself, it requires a project team to be formed.

The leader should seek to form a group of volunteers who have fully bought into the need for change and understand the goals of the project.

his coalition will manage the general running of the initiative and will encourage all other employees to buy in and aid in its implementation. Ideally, this inner coalition will be formed of individuals from across different sectors of the organisation or team, as this diversity can offer unique approaches to problem-solving and decision-making, but also so that individuals from the wider organisation can buy into the team.

Engage beyond the ‘usual suspects’ and have more brains to thinks, more eyes to see and more hands to do.

3. Develop an inspired vision 

The guiding coalition and leadership now should coordinate to create an inspiring vision for change within the organisation.

By formulating this clear vision, everyone throughout the organisation can understand fully what the project is aiming to achieve within the outlined time frame.

When change is outlined in writing, individuals can truly understand the intent and depth of the initiative, and by aligning it with organisational values and strategies, everyone can understand and buy into the direction. Employees can be involved in strategic conversations to encourage further support for the project.

A great vision motivates people to take action.

4. Communicate the new vision 

 

The predominant goal of the project is to encourage cooperation and support for the vision. Therefore, the way it is communicated to the wider organisation is paramount.

Leaders should take every opportunity to discuss the changes with any individual followers or employees, accepting any concerns or issues on board and integrating them into planning considerations

The new vision needs to be integrated into the activities of all individuals across the organisation, so if any one individual does not accept it, then it can lead to issues with synchronisation and cooperation.

Innovation is less about generating brand new initiatives and more about knocking down barriers to making those ideas a reality.

5. Empower others to enact the vision 

As the employees are those who will be forefront in implementing the change, then they must possess all the skills, resources and confidence to do so.

A good leader will empower their followers to be the best they can be, whether that be through training, coaching, mentoring, or any other method.

As the vision is communicated across the organisation, leaders should become aware of any who are resistant to the change, and they should encourage openness to discover the root of this resistance.

By removing any obstacles to progress in the initiative, and personal development, leaders can relieve this resistance whilst creating empowered and inspired individuals who have bought into the vision.

6. Generate short-term wins 

Nothing is more motivational at the individual level than success. By breaking the project down into smaller, short-term goals, then individuals gain a clear idea of progress but are also motivated by immediate successes.

Once they have achieved these short-term goals, individuals will be inspired to continue to build on these and to reach the next milestone for the initiative.

By acknowledging and rewarding those who are crucially responsible for short-term wins, leaders can motivate individual followers, and others can become more aware of the route that the organisation is taking.

7. Sustain the successes 

Many organisations fail to sustain real change as they declare victory over their change initiatives too early, mistaking short-term wins and immediate progress for long-term success.

Change is a slow process – and to be fully accepted it must be ingrained in the underlying culture, values and objectives of the organisation.

Quick wins are only the beginning of this long-term change, and the organisation must continue to seek improvements and push for new successes.

Only after several successes have been achieved can it be established that the change process is paying off. Leaders should be open to accepting any failures or non-successes, and to listen to any suggestions from followers from across the organisation.

8. Anchor the change 

The final step is for leaders to anchor and truly embed change within the core and culture of the organisation.

Change does not come about and sustain itself alone – all of the organisation’s values and objectives, systems and processes must be inspected and evaluated in the context of the change initiative.

Leaders are responsible for embedding this change at the team level, and altering the behaviours and standards of the team members in order to sustain the lasting effects.

The progress of the initiative must be monitored closely and regularly in order to consolidate it at a deeper level. This should include discussions with individuals from across the organisation, as their inspiration and cooperation with the new change is crucial, and it is easy for this to drop off over time.

Any new suggested improvements or changes can still be integrated into the progress of the project.

Once the entire change process has been completed, the change must continue to be embedded and evolve with the future of the organisation.

It should be used as a starting point in any recruitment or promotion process – ensuring that individuals understand the organisation’s processes, values and objectives, that they buy into them, and encouraging the leadership of those who can continue to drive the change from within.

It should also be included in any training or personal development programmes for current members of staff, implementing it into their learning and everyday tasks.

Individuals should be acknowledged, appreciated and rewarded publicly for actively contributing to the change process. This will consolidate their support for both leader and initiative, something which may be required for similar situations in the future.

Above all; do NOT drop the urgency   

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.”

 

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,

physical activity and health & wellness workforce

Are we focusing on the right areas, skills and methods or

should we be more innovative or flexible?

 

A one-day conference, 17th February 2022,

Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry

In Partnership with:

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

Many people in the sporting workforce do not like to work with inactive people

 A recent survey of the sporting workforce showed only 2 in 5 had any sense that working with inactive people was for them

 The expertise of the existing sporting workforce is undoubtedly extensive, however, a focus on technical skills has held centre stage for too long. Whilst these have a place and education programmes within these areas will continue, we cannot expect the number of people being active to rise solely based on improving technical capability.

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.

One successful programme is the ECB’s South Asian Action Plan which now has attracted 1000 South Asian females who as the new volunteer ‘activators’ will combine coaching and mentoring to inspire and support the next generation of cricketers.

They will support the delivery of All Star Cricket, ECB’s entry-level cricket programme for five to eight-year-olds, in seven cities and act as role models, showing young people the positive part that cricket can play in their lives.

Another key part of developing a workforce that can work with social prescribers and others, to engage with inactive people is to include a focus on people’s mental health in our training programmes, again, something that is not currently being done.

That, again, will require new thinking, new formats and new content.

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.

Another point is whether the ‘system’ makes it difficult for smaller providers to access funding and/or get their courses accredited? Many groups, especially diverse ones, feel more comfortable with local, smaller training providers.

Bringing everybody together

We should 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.

The conference will have presentations from representatives from

  • Providers of accredited and non-accredited training
  • Workforce/Coach development managers
  • Professional development bodies
  • Standard-setting bodies
  • Accreditation awarding bodies

 September 2021

Sports Marketing Network

Shout Nice

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Shout Nice (Råb Pænt)
campaign launched in Denmark

The Danish Football Association (DBU) launches a campaign to improve parent, coach and spectator behaviour and language at community and junior football matches.

Seven out of ten referees at youth and non-league football matches in Denmark have experienced abusive behaviour and language over the last two years (something we fear is far too common across the world, hence why there is a shortage of qualified officials at many football leagues.  There are community leagues in the UK where 40% of matches will not have accredited referees.

In Denmark, over the last two years
  • 55 per cent of football referees have experienced coaches using foul language at them
  • 53 per cent of football referees have experienced spectators using foul language at them
  • 52 per cent of football referees have experienced players using foul language at them
  • 23 per cent of football referees have experienced threats in connecting with a match where they are officiating

In England, 93.7% of match officials say they have experienced verbal abuse – higher than other sports such as cricket (56.5%) and rugby union (53.7%), and significantly higher than in other European countries.

Abuse is still a significant issue, probably the biggest in refereeing. Mental health within referees is intrinsically tied to abuse. According to the Football Association, which governs the game in England, assaults occur in 0.007% of matches, approximately two a week.

 

An FA spokesperson said: “We work alongside our County FA network to offer all referees in their local area appropriate support.

But the story of Satyam Toki, a 28-year-old referee who was left bleeding after being hit by a footballer he had sent off for foul language at a game in Acton, Ealing, London, on 9th August 2020. Officials from around the country looked on in horror as the video clip of this vicious assault was disseminated across referee forums and on social media.

The player who committed the assault received just a warning from police after being given a 10-year ban by the local football association.
Police say they issued the caution after careful consideration, but Toki believes there is an element of racial discrimination to the decision as attacks on white officials have led to assault charges and court proceedings.

 

 Toki says it sends out the wrong message about protecting officials:
“This was an unprovoked attack and I don’t really know why the police have come to this decision. I was injured above my eye and my kit was covered in blood, I believe they haven’t done their job properly. There have been incidents in the past where they have taken individuals to court. I didn’t want to mention it but it feels like discrimination against me. If something had happened against a white official, would it have been taken more seriously?”

Further outrage from Toki’s assault ensued when, upon appeal, the perpetrator of the vicious attack had his FA playing ban reduce by half, to five years. This left many referees feeling incredibly uneasy about going out to officiate at a time when Toki’s assault was on the front and back pages and there was a multitude of other attacks taking place, such another in the same week which left a referee with a perforated eardrum. Many officials said it did not sit right with them that criminals were being allowed to play again sooner, with a groundswell of opinion amongst referees that assaults on match officials should lead to a lifetime ban from football before a referee is killed.

That was was the case in Holland where 41-year-old Richard Nieuwenhuizen was kicked to death by six teenagers and the father of one of the boys when operating as an assistant referee.

Most of the terms used by the spectators whether in Denmark, England or somewhere else we can not print here, but I am sure we have are all aware of them or have indeed heard them ourselves.

Foul language must be kicked out
The Danish Råb Pænt campaign gives a strong hint to players, coaches, spectators and refs to stop using foul language and cheer on the matches using some more encouraging terms.

Bent Clausen, vice-chair of DBU says:

“Football is about emotions, about togetherness and fighting spirit.  That is the heart of football and we shouldn’t change that. But we will not tolerate bad behaviour and offensive language at football matches and that is why we are insistent that we must respect each other and be well-behaved every time we play football.

Especially, we must protect our new and young referees, because otherwise, their bad experiences will cause them to stop refereeing.

The campaign includes a video that, in a slightly humorous way show that you can use an acceptable language jgarjgrjgrejgretjgertjgtej

It also includes posters to be put in changing rooms and clubhouses encouraging people to Shout Nice (Råb Pænt) and Show Respect (Husk Respekten).

 

 

There is also a competition where you can win a shirt signed by the Danish national team and tickets for a Danish international match.

You have come up with something humourous that Danish international goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel could be saying when he is facing a penalty-taker!

The Danish FA puts much emphasis on improving the culture within the clubs and show respect for officials, opponents and everyone else that come to the club. Coaches, committee members and other volunteers should play a key role in developing a more friendly, respectful and welcoming culture all across the club.

And, finally, a question to you:

How you are making sure that you, your club and your team treat the officials, referees, umpires and you come in contact with feel welcome and respected?

Developing and training our community sports and physical activity workforce

Hits: 65

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?

A one-day conference, 17th February 2022,
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry

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.

Many people in the sporting workforce do not like to work with inactive people

A recent survey of the sporting workforce showed only 2 in 5 had any sense that working with inactive people was for them

The expertise of the existing sporting workforce is undoubtedly extensive, however, a focus on technical skills has held centre stage for too long. Whilst these have a place and education programmes within these areas will continue, we cannot expect the number of people being active to rise solely based on improving technical capability.

 

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.

One successful programme is the ECB’s South Asian Action Plan which now has attracted 1000 South Asian females who as the new volunteer ‘activators’ will combine coaching and mentoring to inspire and support the next generation of cricketers.

They will support the delivery of All Star Cricket, ECB’s entry-level cricket programme for five to eight-year-olds, in seven cities and act as role models, showing young people the positive part that cricket can play in their lives.

Another key part of developing a workforce that can work with social prescribers and others, to engage with inactive people is to include a focus on people’s mental health in our training programmes, again, something that is not currently being done.

That, again, will require new thinking, new formats and new content.

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.

Another point is whether the ‘system’ makes it difficult for smaller providers to access funding and/or get their courses accredited? Many groups, especially diverse ones, feel more comfortable with local, smaller training providers.

Bringing everybody together

We should 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.

The conference will have presentations from representatives from
 

  • Providers of accredited and non-accredited training
  • Workforce/Coach development managers
  • Professional development bodies
  • Standard-setting bodies
  • Accreditation awarding bodies

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.