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The Sport and Physical Activity Partnership for London

Sustainable Community Sport

How community sports providers are meeting the challenges and benefiting from new opportunities created by changes in people's lives and the economic situation. A one-day event 26th June 2012, Vicarage Road, Watford FC

Community sports enterprise – the future for community sport
Svend Elkjaer
Sports Marketing Network

Community sports providers need to adapt to a new mindset and learn a new skillset - taking the best from successful social enterprises and the hospitality sector. It has 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 shopping centres, watching X-Factor, apathy etc. by providing better experiences.
The solution is there: Community Sports Enterprises are organisations which combine their sports activities with the
enterprise culture and skills of the private sector with a strong social and community mission. They attract and serve customers at a profit, whilst serving a sporting, community and social purpose.
This presentation will give an introduction to the concept of Community Sports Enterprise.

Svend Elkjaer is founder and Managing Director of the Sports Marketing Network, which exists to provide thoughts, tools
and to-dos for community sports clubs on how to become vibrant, visible and viable.
More than 3,000 community sports providers from all across the UK have participated in a Grow Your Club workshop run by
Svend. In 2009 he developed the concept of Community Sports Enterprise, which is becoming widely accepted across
community sport and enterprise.

More than just football... how a community programme has grown from one small office to £2m turnover and 22 f/t staff
Rob Smith, Director, Watford FC’s Community Sports & Education Trust

In the early 1990s Watford FC established a Football in the Community Scheme. At the time this consisted of one member
of staff who was tasked with using football as a way of increasing football participation whilst also promoting Watford FC.
How did it all come about? Well it would be fair to say that at Watford the introduction of family areas, player appearances
at community events and community activities was pioneered by the then manager Graham Taylor.
The Community Scheme not only encouraged active participation in activities and events it also played an important role in
addressing a range of social issues. As a result of the good work achieved a decision was made to turn the scheme into a
charitable entity. The primary aim of doing this was to take the community work offered to a new level.
Watford Football Club has a long and proud tradition of serving its community. It has established a reputation as a ‘Community Club’ – a club which actively provides a range of services to those who live in and around the area. It also provides a sense of community to everyone who supports the ‘Hornets’.

Building a successful club like Esprit Gymnastics Club by exceeding customer expectations
Mark Hows, Chairman Esprit Gymnastics Club, Swindon

Mark has worked for the last 30 years in marketing and graphic design when aged only 21 he started his own company, the
mhd partnership ltd.
With no knowledge of gymnastics, other than being married to a coach, he agreed, in 2004, to help 2 coaches, who were training in a Leisure Centre, find a permanent home for gymnastics in Swindon and Esprit was born.
Mark's philosophy of customer first has ensured that in only 8 years, the club has grown from humble beginnings into one of the most successful gymnastic clubs in the South West.
With more than 750 members attending its 20,000sq ft facility, working across Awards gymnastics, Women's Artistic, Rhythmic, Display, Tumbling, Adult and pre-school, it has already produced British Champions, International medal winners and an Olympian competing at this year's games in London.
The centre is also home to Martial Arts, Dance, Pilates and Zumba schools as well as Sports Massage therapists etc. and
regularly holds BG courses, English and GB training and selection events.
Here's how Mark describes the success of Esprit:
"If you ask gymnastics coach how to build a successful club you usually get the same answers…
· Take great coaches
· Give them great equipment
· Give them great premises
· Give them the time they need
· Give them talented children
· Give them lots of funding to support them
Well I’m not a gymnastics coach and know nothing about the sport, so when I agreed to help start Esprit, I looked at that question.
What I saw was, when a coach looks at the question, they think, ‘how do you build a successful ‘gymnast’, but the question
actually was – ‘how do you build a successful club’?
And you create a successful club by first identifying WHO your customer is, identifying what they want and then set about
exceeding their expectations.
Once you have achieved this, you will be on your way to having a successful club and once you have a successful club you will invariably then develop great coaches, working on good equipment, in great premises, with the time and funding they
need to support talented gymnasts."

Meeting the needs of thousands of young people for over seventy years in a welcoming and sustainable way
Director, Hunslet Club

From humble beginnings, the Hunslet Club has grown into one of the biggest youth clubs in the country. The club provides a wide ranging evening and weekend programme of youth based activities including football, musical theatre, break-dance, boxing, Irish dance, performing arts, cheerleading, gymnastics, hip hop, ballet and other leisure activities for over 2,000 young people per week to help them reach their full potential.
Hunslet is an inner-city area in south Leeds and the club was founded during the darkest days of the Blitz, with few material
resources, funding or equipment the group relied on the help and good will of the local people.
Since then the club, now a registered charity, has been meeting the needs of thousands of young people in the area which
has its fair share of challenges.
The club moved into new premises in 1945 and over time the activities developed and membership continued to grow. The
club's current home opened in 1971, providing a main hall and stage, gymnasium, craft and activities room, girls' room, chapel and floodlit playing fields.
The club hit financial difficulties in 2002 but there was plan, but it involved a lot of risk. To boost income, it would mean using the club’s building to run a separate day scheme – a first in the club’s 60-year history. He started off the day-scheme offering a sports programme to young people excluded from school. And, when it proved an overwhelming success, was soon asked to host educational courses there too.
Today, 380 young people attend day courses in plumbing, plastering, hairdressing, beauty, car and bike mechanics and
more, all of which is paid for by high schools across Leeds. And 1,600 young people have gained qualification and
accreditation certificates through the club.
This not only pays for the youth club which opens daily at 4pm, but for an entire building and equipment revamp. The reception area has just been re-decorated at a cost of £100,000 - from the club's own reserves.
With 40+ staff and 2000 members, the club is growing and expanding all the time. This presentation will tell the great story
that is the transformation and success of Hunslet Club.

Sport Wales - Putting enterprise at the heart of club development
Gordon Clark, Senior Officer, Sport Wales

In the past two years Sport Wales has been at the forefront of developing a new approach to club development which sees
enterprise at its heart. For a while grants and support have increasingly been focused towards developing sustainable
community sports providers, often based on social enterprise principles. Sport Wales recently launched Community Sports
Strategy talks about Thriving Clubs - creating opportunities through good enterprise and innovation.
Gordon Clark has often taken the lead in this development. In taking this approach Gordon has fostered a partnership with
the Welsh Business Advisory Service which means that sports clubs are able to access a holistic approach to club development which explores both the business aspects of the club as well as the potential to deliver sustainable sporting
Gordon will share how this approach is contributing to delivering the Vision for Sport in Wales and how Sport Wales are trying to change the culture of the whole sports industry. Gordon has over 20 years’ experience in the sports development world having worked for local authorities in Scotland and England as well as 4 years with Sport England and 8 years with Sport Wales as a Senior Officer

The GROW Model - How can the sports development sector help stimulate growth in sports clubs
Adrian Ledbury, Director with PRO-ACTIVE North London (County Sport Partnership)

The backbone of sport in Britain are Small Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) – Sports Clubs which are predominantly run by volunteers! Sports clubs are worth £530 million to the economy and 25% of all sports participation takes place in a sports club setting covering 2.8 million people per year.
However, membership rates are declining and many clubs face financial difficulties as participants move towards more informal settings and demand higher value. At the same time there are many examples of enterprising clubs doing innovative work to grow their clubs. So how can the Sports Development sector capitalise on these examples of good practice and stimulate systematic growth
in the sports club sector?
Adrian will explore these issues and outline how PRO-ACTIVE North London are approaching this using their bespoke
GROW Model.
Adrian has been involved in sports development for over 20 years in various roles across the UK. Currently the Director with PRO-ACTIVE North London (County Sport Partnership) since 2006, Adrian has also worked for 2 local authorities, Sport England, the Sports Council for Wales as well as a Marketing Manager for an Internet start-up. Adrian has led a number of Organisations through their improvement journeys and is currently supporting the National County Sports Partnership Network with their improvement work.
Adrian is passionate about club development and has developed the GROW Model to support sustainable club development in North London.

Reaching 4,000 people in the community through innovative volleyball programmes
David Rijvers, Chairman, Richmond Volleyball Club

Since David Rijvers established Richmond Volleyball Club in 1993, it has established itself as a vibrant and leading community sport club in the London and has been awarded a number of awards.
While Richmond Volleyball maybe young it is meeting the needs of the local community by becoming the heart of the South West London and Surrey areas delivering a thriving community and schools volleyball programme. In 2011 nearly 4,000
people participated in various club activities.
It operates a Junior Centre of Excellence, has links with 40 secondary schools, three local colleges and runs a thriving club
at Kingston University
In 2011 over 1,700 people participated in Richmond Volleyball community events, such as 4v4 Series (a series of six 4v4
summer tournaments across South West London parks) , International Festival (3 day tournament), Corporate Tournament,
Summer League, Play Sport London, Sitting Volleyball Festivals, Richmond Elite Cup, Love 2, Just Junior Summer Camps, and various community taster sessions in Kingston & Merton in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics.
The club operates a dynamic media programme with 4,900 emails registered on its database. David Rijvers' presentation will focus on the journey so far, the challenges and opportunities Richmond Volleyball is facing, including the drive towards getting its own facility

Legacy Sport - from school sports partnership to a sustainable sporting future
Shaun Fox, Legacy Sport

Coping with government spending cuts, petitioning to save policies and initiatives and finally seeing the light!! This has been and in many ways a very exciting one.
Legacy School Sport CIC was formed in 2011 and is a dedicated 'not for profit' social enterprise based at and supported by
Spen Valley Sports College. Their aim is to utilise the company's specialist knowledg sustainable and accessible opportunities for physical activity, sport and lifelong learning. Links to targeted partners are currently helping us to maximise positive impacts on the public health agenda and community wel concentrate on what we do best.
Being a Community interest Company (CIC opportunities for the local community. A further example is that they strive to deliver experience. They feel that it is more beneficial to train and develop 'Instructors' as oppose to Sports Coaches. This is an innovative and forward thinking way of bridging the quality between teaching and coaching. As an 'Instructor' the link between teachers, young child and instructor will be strengthened through more in Legacy currently work with over 35 schools in the Spen Valley region and the range of specialised services.
Shaun Fox was a teacher: he isn’t now. He is political negotiation to their portfolio of skills. to allow us to deliver programmes that were previously unsustainable.”

Developing a sustainable social enterprise whilst making massive impact on local communities through football
Kelly Davies MBA Founder and Managing Director, Vi-Ability

VI-ability’s founder is Kelly Davies, an ex-international and Liverpool football player with 36 caps for Wales. While studying for an MBA in the football industries, she came up with the idea for Vi-Ability: Helping football clubs to become commercially  sustainable through training up disengaged young people to turn the clubs' fortunes around.
Vi-Ability is a social enterprise that delivers a training programme that introduces economically inactive individuals to the commercial management of football clubs, helping them to gain employability and life skills. They now provide support and solutions in a number of areas across both Wales and England:
They have made a huge impact on local communities helping to address social issues such as health, anti-social behaviour, poor educational attainment and unemployment. They have also led the way in getting non-league football clubs to focus maximizing income and identifying alternative sources of revenue. Ensuring 'financial sustainability' is the foundation upon everything they build from.
A particular highlight was being voted the UK Best Social Enterprise Start-Up of the Year in 2011.
Kelly says: "For me, community sport means doing two things: (1) Providing participative sports opportunities for all members of the community regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, ability or social status; and (2) Broadening the scope of that sporting activity to include educative/sport initiatives, social inclusion/cohesion projects and other community related activities.
In my opinion, the two have to go hand in hand and be done in an innovative/ entrepreneurial way for community sport to become financially self-sustainable in the long term, and to be given the opportunity to thrive - something which is of paramount importance to attract interest and get people hooked for life; particularly from those individuals who have
historically struggled with motivation towards sports."

Region: North London
Type: Other
Venue: Vicarage Road, Watford FC
Date: 26/06/2012 - 26/06/2012
Time: 9-15
Cost: 96.00
Tutor Name: Svend Elkjaer
Booking Requesting Closing Date: 27/06/2012
Contact Name: Svend Elkjaer
Contact Organisation: Sports Marketing Network
Contact Tel: 01423 326 660
Contact Email:
Special Instructions:

How to book: Book your place Email: or complete
and return the Registration Form

Further information: Contact Sports Marketing Network at or telephone 01423 326 660

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