As part of our new ‘Club Matters Meets’ feature, we caught up with Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England. In the interview below, we discuss how sports clubs can maintain the ‘New Year, New You’ excitement towards health and fitness throughout the year, we explore the challenges for sports clubs in 2018 and hear more about Jennie’s role in the game-changing This Girl Can campaign which celebrates its third anniversary this month.
- What has been the biggest achievement for Club Matters over the past year?
2017 was very busy for Club Matters, so it’s tricky to pick out just one achievement. Achievements included: Continued growth in the number of registered users, newsletter readers and demand for workshops. Developing a wide range of new content that covered things like ‘engaging young people, ‘clubs and communities’ ‘supporting talented athletes’ and ‘guidance on anti-doping’. We also launched a public search function for Clubmark clubs. This allows participants and parents/carers to easily find an accredited club near them.
- The theme of this month’s newsletter is New Year’s resolutions and it’s good to see that health and fitness is high on the news agenda during the month of January. How can NGBs and sports clubs maintain this enthusiasm throughout 2018?
Listen to your customers and tailor your activities to meet their needs. Find out what their goals are and think about how you can help them achieve these. Goals may not be about performance – for many members spending time with family or friends, or simply de-stressing from work may be their main aim. Clubs need to think about how they support these ambitions too.
- What are the challenges for sports clubs in 2018 and how can Club Matters support?
As always, keeping costs down and manageable for members is going to be a challenge as costs of equipment, venue hire, etc. continue to increase. Club Matters business planning and fundraising tools can really help clubs with this.
The new legislation coming in May regarding data protection also needs to be considered by clubs. Club Matters will provide guidance on this over the coming months.
- Volunteering plays a major role in the development of sports clubs, how can Club Matters support clubs and their volunteers?
We know that volunteer time is precious so we try to help clubs use this important resource in the best possible way, for example by providing online training modules that you can do at home as well as face-to- face workshops. We are always looking for ways to improve and develop the content to meet customer needs so would welcome any feedback from clubs as to how we can improve.
- You led the team that commissioned the game-changing This Girl Cancampaign, which is celebrating its third anniversary this month. How has this campaign changed the face of local sports clubs in England and women & girls’ attitude towards sport? What can we expect from this year’s campaign?
This Girl Can has attracted many new women and girls into sport and activity or encouraged them to come back after a break. The campaign reminds us that fear of judgement – by other people or by ourselves- is a powerful barrier for many people, and many of the clubs who have adopted the campaign now recognise this in the way they encourage and support their members. This year’s campaign will be digitally led, drawing on our amazing community of over 800,000 women who support the campaign and each other.
- If you could give one piece of advice to individuals / organisation thinking about setting up a new sports club next year, what would this be?
Be really clear on who your customers are, what they want from their activity and how you can meet their needs. Then make sure every decision you make is informed by that knowledge.
- What are your ambitions for Club Matters in 2018- how would you like to see the platform grow and expand?
I want everyone to be able to use this incredibly useful set of resources, so we have to make them even more accessible and easy to use.