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Funding community sport  


How to develop a sustainable business model for providers of sport and physical activity

How can governing bodies, enterprises, charities and other providers of community sport and physical activity generate the income required to deliver their work


4th September 2019, University of Hertfordshire


Strategies, policies, experiences, real stories and successes to be told, lessons to be learnt, ideas and experiences to be shared.



8.45 – 9.30 Registration and Tea/Coffee


9.15 – 9.30 Welcome and setting the scene

Chair, Svend Elkjaer, Founder/Director, Sports Marketing Network

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Svend Elkjaer is founder and director of the Sports Marketing Network, a leading consultancy and information provider with community sport and physical activity. Being described as ‘a positive disruptor’ Svend has worked across the UK and Denmark with all types of providers and funders helping them to become vibrant, visible and viable.

9.40 – 10.10 How providers of community sport and physical activity can develop a balanced income model

Svend Elkjaer, Founder and Director, Sports Marketing Network

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Too many organisations in this sector are over-reliant on top-down grant funding and therefore have to deliver on objectives set by funders, good or bad.Only but the largest sports bodies have got the resources to employ dedicated commercial staff so how do the rest of us develop a model and initiatives which can help generate the income required to deliver our work in the community.So how do we develop a more enterprising culture and skillset across community sport and physical activity? How do we combine day-to-day operational aspects of generating income with our overall mission?

This presentation will provide delegates with specific advice and tools, supported by practical case-studies on how providers from across the sector can become financially sustainable.. 

10.10 – 10.40 How to secure new public-sector funding

Melanie Antao, Specialist Advisor for Funding, London Sport

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It is vital for providers of community sport and physical activity to develop robust project proposals to secure new public-sector funding and provide evidence base to support project roll-out opportunities.

They must also develop insight models to identify project roll-out opportunities aligned to funder priorities.

This presentation will use real case-studies where London Sport have worked with providers and brokered meetings between project leads and key funder decision makers and facilitated engagement between project leads and Local Government stakeholders to secure local buy-in. This has helped various providers raise hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding.

10.40 – 11.10 Generating a surplus through innovation and transformation

Ken Masser, Chief Executive, Rossendale Leisure Trust

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IIn 2015 Haslingden Sports Centre (built in 1972) was a standard community leisure centre in the small Lancashire district of Rossendale. Now rebranded, ‘Adrenaline’, with a range of adventure activities sitting alongside a more traditional fitness and sports offer, the centre is a regional family attraction. This story is not only one of innovative facility development and community based marketing initiatives, but also the essential organisational and cultural changes that have made success possible.

11.10 – 11.40 Tea/Coffee


11.40 – 12.10 From 100 members to vibrant and visible community sports enterprise with more than 2500 members

Melissa Anderson, Managing Director, Valleys Gymnastics Academy

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Established as a Limited Company, with social and community aims underpinning the ethos and operating culture of the club, VGA has become a vibrant and visible community hub across South Wales. The club has grown significantly in the past 5 years and is now the largest club in Wales by some distance – with a membership exceeding 2500. The club has won several awards over the past 4 years, including Welsh Gymnastics Club of the Year and the Business Wales Social Enterprise of the Year (Consumer Facing) and is regarded as a true market leader. This presentation will provide insight into the ideas and practices which have helped develop Valleys Gymnastics into such a thriving social enterprise.

12.10 – 12.40 How can alternative forms of finance be used to develop trading activity in community and social enterprises within the sports and physical activity

Matt Smith, Chief Executive, Key Fund

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As grants become increasingly competitive to obtain, how can alternative forms of finance be used to develop trading activity in community and social enterprises within the sports and physical activity, to enable these organisations to become more sustainable in impact and financial terms?

12.40 – 13.10 Organic fundraising for sports clubs – The Power of Adult Panto

Simon Plumb, Marketing Consultant – The SPA Group Ltd

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The rugby club is on its uppers – membership is falling rapidly, the club is loss-making, open to theft, poorly administered and morale is on the floor. Sound familiar?Desperate times need desperate measures so a small group of players and partners, to keep the creditors at bay, created a show to bring members back, attract non-members in and generate much-needed income. What started as a modest, one-night laugh grew to become an eight-night, £50k income-generating monster and, arguably, secured the future of the rugby club.

The Lymm Panto, from small beginnings, became a world-famous institution and is now in its 32nd consecutive year. The scripts are sold worldwide and the Adult Panto template, when adopted by other clubs, works time and again, helping sports clubs create a thriving, vibrant atmosphere and build year-on-year success. Furthermore, this fun-filled activity brings disparate groups together, creating cohesive teams, working for each other and the community.

13.10 -14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 14.30 How to sustain challenging and innovative work

Navjeet Sira, Director of Design and Impact, Change Foundation

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The Change Foundation was founded in 1981 following the Brixton riots in south London, using cricket as a tool to promote community cohesion and peace during the conflict in the heart of the local community. For 39 years The Change Foundation has been delivering sport for social change programmes designed and led by young people creating opportunities for marginalised groups to make positive change using a variety of sports and mentoring.

This presentation will demonstrate how The Change Foundation has been able to sustain challenging and innovative work by sharing:

– Insight into the charities business development journey– How to translate your USP’s to help you ‘sell’ your work– Analysing and using your network– Examples of meaningful and high performing partnerships– Insight into sector trends

14.30 – 15.00 How governing bodies can help their clubs become more enterprising

Karl Lingham, Chief Executive Officer for the Hertfordshire Football Association

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The Football Association (FA) and County FA’s Club Improvement Programme looks to support clubs in developing themselves into safe and sustainable community organisations and throughout the National Game Strategy 2018-21 this will be a key objective.In Hertfordshire the focus has been to support all clubs, both, adult and youth, but success has come from developing ‘super clubs’ with 11 clubs in the County, having 45 teams or more within their structure. This is the country’s largest network of clubs of this size and the presentation will look at how that has been achieved, its influences, who’s helped and what the future holds for this network of clubs.

15.10 – 15.30 Strength in Numbers

Tony Jameson-Allen FRSA, Co-founder & Director, Sporting Memories Network CIC &
The Sporting Memories Foundation

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Founded in October 2011 to test out a possible intervention to engage older men in activities that might alleviate the impacts of loneliness, dementia and depression, this session will chart the journey of Sporting Memories from its roots of the two co-founders working with 10 care homes in West Yorkshire to a sustainable, income generating international organisation.

Having trained over 700 partner organisations and volunteers in the delivery of sports reminiscence, developing a credible evidence base and impact reporting, through academic collaboration, has seen over 130 free, community based, volunteer led, Sporting Memories Clubs established. Sporting Memories move to including accessible physical activities to its sessions has in the past 18 months attracted funding in excess of £1.5m from organisations including Sport England, the Welsh Government, Sport Wales and Public Health Wales, Life Changes Trust, Robertson Trust, Spirit of 2012 and Sport Scotland.The Sporting Memories Foundation worked with the BBC in the making of the ground-breaking documentary by Alan Shearer; Football, Dementia and Me, in which Shearer visited a Sporting Memories club. Eight years on from founding the organisation, Sporting Memories now collaborates with 100s of organisations to support former footballers and older fans living with dementia, depression or loneliness. .

15.30 Summing up / Close