Welcoming Clubs – Develop a more welcoming culture across
community sports clubs
A comprehensive training and support programme for community sports clubs and other providers
- with a guide on becoming a Welcoming Club – Develop community sports clubs that are welcoming to everyone regardless of background, ethnicity or ability with advice, ideas and case studies
- three webinars with case studies from community sports clubs that have benefitted from adapting a welcoming and inclusive approach
- a support network for community sports organisations to help them to develop a Welcoming Club one-to-one mentoring support from Svend Elkjaer, founder and principal of the Sports Marketing Network
Our community sports clubs and other providers could benefit greatly from the added benefits of being a Welcoming Club
Community sports clubs need to adopt a new mindset and learn a new skill set – taking the best from successful social enterprises and the hospitality sector. They have to recognise that sport operates in the experience business and that it is competing for people’s leisure time and money and has to attract people away from online shopping, watching Love Island, apathy, etc. by providing better experiences for each customer segment.
Life is changing and community sport has to change with it, full stop. Or even better – if you listen to people and their lives you should be able to anticipate the changes in their needs and wants. You can then adapt your offering and service so you are always that half a step ahead.
Develop great leadership and management
Amazingly, very few clubs put much focus on how they lead and manage themselves. Many somehow expect that having a few people on the committee and a 32-year old constitution will ensure that their club is well-run and going forward in the right direction and at the right speed, both on and off the pitch.
I am not suggesting there is one best leadership and management style, which suits all sports clubs. There are many different styles and each suits various situations. The key is to be aware of what style is right for you, at this moment in time.
SMN have seen plenty of examples where the right leadership, individually and collectively, can make a significant difference to the growth and development of clubs and have, unfortunately, also seen too many examples where bad, or lack of,
You are not ‘just a sports club’
You are in the experience business
So, be honest, how welcoming is your club? Here are five simple statements; which one fits best in how people at your club feel?
Please now ask as many people, as possible, within your club which of the five statements below best describe the culture and attitude within your club. Then listen and act on their comments.
- We are completely focused on being welcoming, be it towards players, members, supporters and sponsors and we are aware of their different needs and we work hard to satisfy those needs
- We are getting increasingly welcoming although not everybody may be as welcoming as we would like. We know how we want to improve and we are working hard to get there
- We need to focus less on internal and political issues and more on being welcoming
- We rarely talk about being welcoming – do we really know what that is?
- We are a sports club – why should we be talking about being welcoming?
Despite continued efforts, and various initiatives, community sport and physical activity in England 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 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 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 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.
For many people, great coaching is roughly 10% technical skill, 20% being reactive and able to think on your feet and about 70% being nice to people. In their research into the sporting workforce published in 2017, London Sport asked almost 2000 regular Londoners what they’d mostly be looking for in a sports leader and things like ‘focused on fitness’ and ‘focused on technique’ came pretty far down the list. What came out consistently on top were qualities like ‘motivating’, ‘friendly’ and ‘not going to judge me’.
The first-ever comprehensive programme helping to develop Welcoming Club – community sports clubs that are welcoming to everyone regardless of background
- You will receive a 36-page guide on becoming with advice, ideas and case studies
- You will be invited to three webinars on how to become a Welcoming Club – community sports clubs that are welcoming to everyone regardless of background
- case studies from community sports clubs that have benefitted from adapting a welcoming and inclusive approach
- The one-hour webinars will be held at 7 pm GMT on
Wednesday 19th January 2022
Wednesday 9th February 2022
Wednesday 23rd February 2022
- You will be invited to join a support network for community sports organisations to help them to develop #MoreThanAClub
- You will receive one-to-one mentoring support from Svend Elkjaer, founder and principal of the Sports Marketing Network