Understanding your Community
Sport has a unique way of making a positive social and cultural impact in communities across the country
Community engagement is pivotal to running an effective and sustainable club. It is important to take a step back from the day to day running of your club to think about the “bigger picture”: Take the time to understand, build and maintain effective relationships; recognise gaps in the community that you could fill; have flexibility to deal with challenges and be creative in finding solutions to community issues.
A deeper understanding of your community will help you identify potential new members, volunteers and projects that your club could get involved with; ranging from coaching education programmes to celebrating ethnic diversity in sport. It could also help you to develop a winning funding application. Rather than supporting a particular club or group, funders are increasingly looking to support projects that benefit or involve the wider community,such as creating welcoming and accessible open spaces.
Recognising the positive benefits that your club is contributing towards
Getting the community involved in your club makes a significant difference; be it volunteering to coach youth, or support with sustaining club members. If your club engages with members of your local community, here are some of the potential benefits you’re contributing towards:
If you are able to recognise the benefits of community engagement of sport in the short term, this may promote wider economic benefits for the community in the longer term such as:
- Promoting lifelong learning and supporting disadvantaged communities to gain specific educational outcomes through sport
- Encouraging crime reduction and community safety by reducing risk of offenses in deprived areas
- Engaging communities to strengthen their social network and sense of community identity
Read on for some examples of existing initiatives which bring these benefits to life:
- Pioneering education programmes such as Sporteducate has been rolled out to 33 London community sports clubs; providing inspiration, motivation and the skills required to negotiate life on and off the field
- National programmes such as Kickz funded by the Premier League, works with local police forces to engage with youth. As a result of Kickz projects, local level crime and antisocial behaviour cases have reduced by up to 50%
- Inspiring Grace is a community action group aiming to engage young males in Burnley and Pendle in sports, and through it develop their network and confidence
Community Engagement in Sport: Getting started
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