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

Sweating the Asset

Hits: 48

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