The Community Sports Volunteering Summit 2021

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The Community Sports Volunteering Summit 2021

Four webinars and a one-day conference on managing, enabling and inspiring the volunteer workforce in community sport in the ‘new normal’


17th February, 17th March, 14th April, 19th May 2021
1st July 2021, Technique Stadium Chesterfield

Balancing the need for strong governance and compliance with the requirement to build a volunteer-friendly culture

With community sports reliant on the volunteer workforce, knowing how to effectively recruit, retain and manage volunteers is crucial to organisational and service resilience – particularly in the context of increasing financial, social and regulatory pressures.

So, why do many, if not all, community sports clubs report that they struggle to recruit and retain skilled and passionate volunteers?  And at the same time, it appears that very few clubs do have active programmes for volunteer leadership and management.

We also come across sports bodies who tend to almost over-burden their club volunteers with all sorts of admin, reporting and governance work – could we not be a bit more considerate when it comes to asking clubs and volunteers for stuff!
So, a key question is about how much focus we give to creating and sustaining great volunteer experiences and to help strengthen leadership and develop an open and enterprising culture across community sport.

This programme provides the opportunity for volunteer and workforce managers to spend some quality time on personal development, networking with colleagues and participating in a host of motivating masterclasses and discussions focused on volunteer recruitment, retention, training, support, and management.
Webinars and Conference – all useful, practical stuff

4 one-hour engaging and interactive webinars


The first webinar is free to attend.

The next three webinars cost £45 to attend (£35 for members of the Sports Enterprise Network (SEN)
To attend the actual conference, and the three webinar costs £155.00 (£130 for members of the Sports Enterprise Network)

Introduction Webinar
Identifying potential volunteers in your community 17th February 10 am BST

Traditionally, many community sports providers have been relying on former players/athletes and parents as their main pool of volunteers and often the focus on who was available for a particular role and not whether the had the skills and attributes to fulfil that role.

At the same time, there is clear evidence that clubs and other community providers who are engaged with the wider community and are #MoreThanAClub are finding it much easier to identify to skilled and passionate volunteers than those who are ‘just sport’.

This webinar will provide participants with thoughts, tools and to-dos on how to become that community hub which can become an attractive place for ‘community connectors’ to engage and volunteers.

We will also go through practical steps on how to map your community partners around you and how to run a Community Launch to present your great work.

3 Webinars 

This programme is a must-attend for anyone working in community sport, and will help you to improve your recruitment processes, grow and develop

your workforce, and maximise the impact of your volunteers.

How to recruit and welcome volunteers 17th March 2021, 10 am BST

We know from our gyms and leisure centres that the first experience and the induction plays a significant role in the newcomers’ perception of the club and the length of their membership. The same thing also applies to volunteering in community sport so we will
We will also be covering the important aspect of clubs and providers being ‘volunteer friendly’ by welcoming new people, encouraging bite-size volunteering, avoiding lengthy meetings, having fun, having great internal communication and training and supporting people.

The webinar will draw on real-life experiences from many community sports providers and give participants ideas and tools to develop some great practice when it comes to recruiting and welcoming volunteers.

Leadership and management of your club and your volunteers 14th April 2021. 10 am BST

Leadership in voluntary-run sports clubs is a complex issue as people are involved with their clubs for lots of different reasons and that therefore to develop one common culture within a club can be difficult. But the difference between good, and not so good, leadership cultures and practices can have a significant impact can on the growth and success, and otherwise, of our community sports clubs.
In different ways these providers, all based in diverse communities adapted to the conditions imposed by lockdown extremely quickly and competently, despite being in unchartered waters.  Also, they did not wait for instructions from ‘above’ but built on their already brilliant relationship with their local communities and then developed new competencies, like running training sessions via Zoom or used their kitchen to cook meals for people who were shielding. 

This webinar will give participants ready-to-use tools and ideas on how to improving the leadership at your club.

Rewarding and thanking your volunteers 19th May 2021, 10 am BST

Volunteer recognition is probably an area where most community sports providers fall down.  ‘Thank yous’ and birthday cards are indeed rare occurrences, especially if you not one of the ‘diehards’. How many governing bodies do have an award for ‘Best leadership at a community sports club’ or an award for ‘Best bite-size volunteer recognition programme’?
If community sport is to attract and retain skilled and passionate we will have to give much more attention to giving them great experiences, social interaction and a sense of belonging (that ‘welcome’ and that club T-shirt can do wonders).

This webinar will go through the many ways that you can recognise volunteers on social media videos to Christmas cards and everything in-between

The webinars and conference will cover topics such as:

  • Creating a more diverse volunteer workforce
  • How to research what volunteers want to gain from the experience and what they can offer to ensure an individual’s skills and personal contribution to an organisation are fully utilised
  • How to simplify the recruitment process for volunteering to act quickly on expressions of interest
  • Developing new skills through digital roles, including online recruitment and digital cataloguing of stock availability
  • Applying new solutions and ideas for supporting outstanding recruitment, retention and management of volunteers
  • Driving diversity and supporting improved approaches to inclusion and outreach
  • updates on how voluntary organisations can enhance professional development for volunteer managers
  • How to understand what motivates volunteers and how to keep them interested in the 2020s
  • How to develop volunteer-friendly environments that fit in with people’s lives workforce manager
  • What are the specific challenges when it comes to recruiting and retaining officials, referees and umpires
  • Improve the communication process between your organisation and volunteers/prospects
  • Not all volunteers are coaches – how to recruit people with leadership, marketing, financial and community experience to our sports clubs
  • How to motivate and inspire volunteers to welcome change and innovation
  • How to deal with volunteer burnout and mental health
  • Improving the internal communication on our community sports clubs to improve motivation and engagement

Who should attend this programme:

Volunteering Managers, Workforce managers, Heads of Participation and anyone who works on a regular basis with volunteers working in governing bodies of sport, sports development departments, Active Partnerships and other organisations involved with community sport.

The organisers

Sports Marketing Network (SMN) is a unique organisation where physical activity and community sports providers can 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, More Girls into Sport, Britain’s Active Parks and A Healthier Nation through Sport and Physical Activity, to name a few…


Want to learn more or get involved, then get in touch with Svend Elkjaer on 01423 326 660 or email him on

Connecting, enabling and driving Scotland’s Activity Economy – Conference and Webinar series

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Connecting, enabling and driving Scotland’s Activity Economy

18th November 2020 – 17th February 2021

Online and  Conference at The Barracks Conference Centre, Stirling FK8 1QZ

Connecting, enabling and driving Scotland’s Activity Economy

Presented by:

An innovative collaboration, through a conference with lead-in and follow-up webinars and guides designed to develop a genuine partnership between private businesses, social enterprises, charities and public sector bodies engaged in Scotland’s activity economy.

First webinar on 18th November with the conference at

The Barracks, Stirling on
17th February 2021

Our objective is to facilitate collaboration, debate, learning and connections to shape system-wide and nation-wide solutions.

We also believe that this period is the time and a huge opportunity to encourage change and innovation to help facilitate an exciting future
for the activity economy in Scotland.

What is the Activity Economy?

Today, the £ Billion global activity economy incorporates such as sport, active recreation, health & wellness, and the technology, tourism and media related to those areas.

In Scotland, the through the activity economy thousands of people are powering the economic and social prosperity of the community. Whether it’s the thousands of people attending the Jedburgh or Inverness Half Marathons every year with the subsequent impact on the local economy, the impact on those providing short-term lodging for travellers, cyclists and ramblers or the impact on the local economy of arts, culture or food festivals, or the thousands of spectators at the Melrose Sevens Rugby, these are all interlinked.

Whereas, Silicon Valley is a leader in technology and London in financial services – Scotland possesses the natural resources – the people, environment and enterprise – to be a global leader in the activity economy.

But being a global leader rarely happens by accident.  It happens from planning and a commitment to pursuing that plan. Now, more than ever, does the sector in Scotland need to pull together, innovate and collaborate.


The key sectors within the Activity Economy are organised sports, active recreation, active travel, infrastructure, tourism, arts & culture, education and health & wellbeing.


Three lead-in webinars

To introduce participants to the Connecting, enabling and driving Scotland’s Activity Economy collaboration they will be invited to participate in three one-hour long webinars which are designed to help them think and act in a new way where they maximise their opportunities for innovation, change and action.

The main objective for these lead-in webinars is to help participants be more open ready for the conference

 1. Listening, learning and collaborating  18th November 2020

This webinar will introduce participants to the concept of the Activity Economy and the objectives for the collaboration.

It will also cover how to be more user-focused demonstrate empathy and finding innovations and solutions that respond to human needs and user feedback.

We will focus on how to step into the user’s shoes and building genuine empathy for your target audience – we call it listening to people’s lives.

The webinar will also cover how to pool a diverse variety of perspectives and ideas; this is what leads to innovation! How to collaborate with others including bodies and people from outside your normal network and sphere – creating shared value and collaboration.


2. Raising the profile 16th December 2020

In today’s fast-changing world everybody involved with the Activity Economy must develop a better understanding and skillset of raising their profile, both individually and collectively. 

Individually, developing better use of digital marketing and community engagement are key factors in growing the reach and scope. Collectively, the Activity sector must develop a stronger profile and platform in order to ‘be invited to the table’.

This webinar will provide participants with clear ideas and tools on how their own profile and that of the sector as a whole, through thoughts, tools and to-dos.


3. A bias towards action 13th January 2021

This webinar will cover how to turn your best ideas into prototypes, testing them, and making changes based on user feedback. You must be prepared to repeat certain steps in the process as you uncover flaws and shortcomings in the early versions of your proposed solution.

This webinar will introduce participants to the ‘baby-step’ approach where many small steps eventually will help you make ‘that giant step for mankind’.

Most elite academies are quite clear that they focus on developing talent, whereas social walking groups celebrate companionship and fresh air. 

The challenge comes when there is no agreement within a club or group what kind of experiences they want to provide and who they want to serve.  Some coaches may want to win and others want to give people fun. 

It is imperative that work out who want to serve and what kind of experiences you want to provide.

Conference 17th February 2021

 The Barracks Conference Centre, Stirling

This one-day conference will bring together people from a wide range of providers and partners with the active economy.  Delegates will have the opportunity to listen to senior representatives, learn from grassroots entrepreneurs and great case-studies and get inspired to kickstart the activity economy in Scotland.

The conference will try and discuss questions such as:

  • How do we provide great customer experiences and grow the experience economy whilst at the same time meeting the strategic objectives of external partners and funders, whether they are from sport, health, tourism or hospitality?
  • How do we engage with the many partners, providers and bodies involved with the sector?
  • How can we engage and communicate better using digital communication tools?
  • Do we need new partners and providers and what role can the bodies play in that process?
  • How do we engage the local community and promote community leadership and play our part of the fabric of our local communities??
  • How do we help the current providers and bodies to become more innovative and enterprising and to start thinking ‘wrong’?
  • What does the provider within the active economy of the future look like? How can our current providers change and adapt to be relevant in a changing world?
  • How do we develop a more welcoming and relevant workforce?
  • How do we encourage innovation and enterprise to develop new initiatives to get people into the active economy?
  • What does real success look like?

Book your place

SPECIAL rate for members of  SAAF, Sported, Senscot and SEN

The future of the sports club, leisure trust and centre in the new normal world

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A free webinar with inspiration and ideas from leading experts and practitioners

The future of the sports club, leisure trust and centre in the new normal world

What options and opportunities we have to develop and invigorate our community sports providers and places

Several months in after the Covid-19 outbreak there is still considerable uncertainty as to how providers and places for community sport and physical activity will operate, adapt and progress in the future. Here at SMN, we have certainly seen a vast difference in the culture, performance and enterprise across the sector, with several providers adapting and engaging with their members and their communities, whereas almost went in hibernation.  Of course, that was also affected by local, regional and national circumstances. Of course, in many places, we are seeing redundancies and lay-offs which, no doubt, will also affect the skills and capabilities within our places for community sport and leisure.
Several months in after the Covid-19 outbreak there is still considerable uncertainty as to how providers and places for community sport and physical activity will operate, adapt and progress in the future. Here at SMN, we have certainly seen a vast difference in the culture, performance and enterprise across the sector, with several providers adapting and engaging with their members and their communities, whereas almost went in hibernation.  Of course, that was also affected by local, regional and national circumstances.
Of course, in many places, we are seeing redundancies and lay-offs which, no doubt, will also affect the skills and capabilities within our places for community sport and leisure.

So, these are challenging times but they also represent an opportunity for introducing new thinking, new partnerships, new technology and new ways of operating

 This webinar will highlight some of the options available, based on best practice from across many nations and will aim to inspire people within the sector on how to develop and evolve

SMN have brought in two leading community sport and physical leaders to present and participate in this webinar. One from a successful multi-sports club in Denmark and one from a successful leisure trust from Manchester, England.

The webinar panel team:

Christine Winding-Lauritzen, General Manager, Beder-Malling Idrætsforening (BMI) Christine has been instrumental in the amazing at this enterprising community sports club. Beder-Malling is a borough within Aarhus, Denmark’s second city with a population of approximately 10,000 and the club is an amazing hub for this community, with 3000 members enjoying sports and social activities. It is based at a local leisure centre, Egelund Idrætscenter which includes two sports halls, a 25-metre pool, tennis courts, football pitches, beach volley court and petanque courts. As a multi-sports club, it incorporates 16 different separate clubs and the whole culture is focused around both the enjoyment and benefits of being physically active and community aspects and bringing people together.

Their volunteer-run café runs all sorts of activities and brings in thousands of people and in 2019 was nominated for the Danish Sports Prize. Yes, a cafeteria! Due to all this great, led by Christine, the local council has decided to build more facilities at the centre, including a community library.

So, Christine certainly has a thing or two to say to about the possible future for the community sports club.

 Chris Rushton, Chief Executive, Active Tameside Tameside is a Borough in Greater Manchester with a population of around 225.000 people and is in the top 20% of the most deprived areas in the UK and where approximately 10% of the population have a disability or special need and roughly 10% of children live in poverty. Active Tameside has over the years has been transformed into a social enterprise with a strong focus on health and social outcomes. There is a wide range of leisure and sports facilities, but what makes the organisation stand out, is a wide range of (non-sports) partners and its work and delivery out in the community. The trust operates 9 leisure centres, 4 family attractions, 7 gyms, 5 swimming pools, 3 thermal spas, 3 creches, 5 cafes and 2 community cafes which serve 10.500 members and many others.

Chris Rushton, Chief Executive of Active Tameside, said: “We set out to support our communities as much as possible during the lockdown and I’d like to say a huge thanks to our services and staff for the vital work they have done and are continuing to do at a time which has been difficult for many.

Chris will have some exciting ideas and insights as to how leisure centres can become hubs for their communities.

The introduction will be given by Svend Elkjaer, Founder/Director, Sports Marketing Network (SMN) Svend has been running SMN for 15 years and has been described as a ‘positive disruptor’ within community sport and physical activity and has worked with hundreds of clubs, centres, sports bodies and community organisations helping them to become more innovative and enterprising and innovative.

Especially during the global lockdown has Svend been engaging with providers across the world sharing experiences on how best to develop a more able and agile culture and skillset to adapt to the rapidly changing world.

After the presentations there will be Q&A session and participants will have the opportunity to voice their opinions and put forward their ideas and experiences.
We reckon the webinar will last 45 minutes and it will be recorded and shared afterwards
Join the weebinar here

This webinar is free to attend, and members of the Sports Enterprise Network are also invited to book a 30-minute Zoom-session with Svend Elkjaer to discuss and get advice on how they best can adapt their particular club, centre or body to the new normal world.

You are more than welcome to send your questions and observations before the webinar to

Community sport and Coronavirus – the way forward

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Community sport and coronavirus – the way forward

How do we respond now, prepare for life afterwards and how will society change because of the virus and how do we respond? 

The community sports sector across the world is facing unprecedented challenges due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and we all have to adapt and learn from each other. 

  • How do we respond now, with clubs, facilities and centres closing down and events and classes, matches and festivals being cancelled?
  • How do we prepare for life afterwards?  How do we get people back? How will people’s habits change and how can you respond?
  • What is our new ‘normal’ going to look like?

 At SMN we do not have the answers but we feel that it is important that we all share our thoughts and experiences from across the world. Copenhagen can learn from Sydney who can learn from Manchester, and basketball can learn from streetsports and so on.

We are linking up with experts and providers from across community sports so you will have access to best practice.

The format from this series is that you link on to SMN’s webinar page and we will start each webinar with a brief presentation and you will then have the opportunity of sharing ideas and experiences on how you are dealing with this issue.

In between the webinars we will be producing follow-up notes which we will be sharing.

We reckon each of the webinars will last 20 – 30 minutes and they will be recorded and made available on SMN’s website.

If you have particular points you want us to cover please let us know.

We look forward to hearing from you and, hopefully, you will want to join us.

PS. If you want to talk about booking SMN to run specific online support for your colleagues, clubs, providers and others, then please get in touch with me Svend Elkjaer  01423 326 660

                                                                     You can registrate and book directly below

You can now access this webinar on the SMN GoToWebinar channel