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Introducing Facility Enterprise for community sports clubs and facilities



Sweating the Asset

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

Workshops, webinars, guides and consultancy


Introducing Facility Enterprise for community sports clubs and facilities


Interested in learning more about this exciting programme and how we can help your club(s) to become Community Sports Change Makers and run vibrant, visible and viable sports facilities and clubs, then get in touch


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.

The club’s annual turnover has gone from £43k to £164k. And they developed a massive community network

Read case story

They started a community programme in local schools which saw the saw junior numbers increase. 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. Nat West Cricket Force saw enough tiles donated to tile kitchen, shower/toilet area and bar area. 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.

 ‘Facility enterprise’ or ‘from sports club to community hub’

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.

They are also a real hub for their local community and #MoreThanAClub, which makes them much more relevant, way beyond sport.

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 clubs 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
• How to best assess your potential for working with community partners – what are your assets, relationships and skills?

• 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

Who is behind Sweating the Asset –  Facility Enterprise for community sports clubs and facilities?


This enterprise is run by Gary ONeil, a Former England, Lancashire and Yorkshire amateur cricketer with knowledge and experience with developing community sports clubs and non-profit community organisations’ projects and facilities.

Gary developed and delivers these abilities from a background in asset, facilities, logistics and project management roles within an international corporate company and small/medium sized community businesses.

Gary delivers expertise that provides long-term sustainable and beneficial outcomes for the sports club environment and strategic plans together with partners within the community.

Holding a Master in Business Administration, MBA, Svend founded the Sports Marketing Network (SMN) in 2005 for people involved with the commercial, community and marketing issues across all sports and physical activity; be it club, governing body, local authority or private sports deliverer.

Over the last eight years, more than 4,000 sports providers have benefitted from SMN’s services attending our workshops and presentations, being mentored or receiving consultancy. SMN has also advised, consulted and trained a number of organisations and public bodies including the RFU, FA, Cricket Scotland, Amateur Swimming Association, British Gymnastics, Sport Wales, England Golf, England Athletics, sportscotland, etc.