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Community Engagement for Sports Clubs

When we talk about community activity we are referring to the way that community clubs establish ongoing relationships and engagement with individuals and organisations with the aim of achieving a collective vision for the benefit of their local community. This resource has been developed as a guide to assist clubs in developing community activities, it signposts other useful resources and provides a short case study.

 

The purpose of a community club is to serve the broader interests of the community. To achieve this, the club needs to engage with the community to identify how they can work in a way that supports local needs. The unique role that clubs play in local communities enables them to be a focus for community activities. By creating goodwill and responding to local needs, clubs can attract support from individuals and organisations who were not previously engaged.

What does good community engagement look like?

In 2015, the government produced its strategy for sport, Sporting Future: A new Strategy for an Active Nation. This highlighted the need for wider national engagement in sport and physical activity and established a focus for future funding decisions based on the social good that sport and physical activity can deliver. The strategy was based on a framework for measuring successful outcomes in:

  • physical wellbeing;

  • mental health;

  • individual development;

  • social and community benefit; and

  • economic development.

 

A fundamental principle of community ownership is the way in which the club engages and serves the interests of its members and society. Therefore, community owned clubs are particularly well placed to deliver the outcomes of the strategy.

Demonstrating the impact of community engagement

Collecting information on the level and impact of community activity assists clubs in discussions with potential partners and also provides material that will encourage more individuals to contact the club about their initiatives. This can be as simple as just collecting data on the number of individuals (age and gender) participating in each activity, and the number of events held. This can be enhanced by developing surveys on how participation has supported individuals’ wellbeing. Collecting evidence on the impact of community activities will also assist clubs seeking funding from external sources. Many funders require evidence of the social impact outcomes achieved by organisations.

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