Your club has been set up to deliver a sporting/physical
activity programme so few people want to spend their time setting
up and working through club policy documents and procedures.
But a little time spent here at the beginning to make sure that
everything is in place will mean less time and effort resolving
problems in the future.
National Governing Bodies (NGBs) are the bodies of sport
responsible for managing and developing sport in the country they
cover. Their responsibility is also to organise national
competitions, national team selection, talent identification and
the delivery of coach education amongst a whole host of other
They are also charged with providing local support to clubs in
areas such as insurance and heath & safety.
Being affiliated to your NGB (the cost of this varies from one
NGB to another) will allow you to be able to enter competitions,
get your club coaches qualified, be eligible to apply for funding
and a number of other benefits that will help and support you in
developing your club.
For individual benefits, contact your NGB.
Putting together a clear action plan for your club is an
excellent way to formalise your thoughts. It doesn't have to
be a complicated plan - the simpler the better! Why not create a
working group to oversee a
membership recruitment action plan
You may wish to consider asking for help and support from one or
all of the following in getting ideas to attract new members:
To ensure your club has a long and vibrant future it is
important that you have in place efficient and effective
preparation and planning.
Communication is vital to make the local community aware of your
club and the potential benefits to them - the more people who know
about your club and what you have to offer; the more likely they
will tell others and promote your club for you.
The benefits of participating in sport are well documented.
However for many it is important to have a final outcome
rather than just play.
Therefore central to your club is the playing programme. This is
a combination of coaching, training and competition, varing from
sport to sport.
NGB's realise the importance of getting the playing programme
right for children and young people and many are making
recommendations based on the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)
model in their respective sports.
Competition is often what attracts people to join a club and
keeps them in membership. Each person wants to enjoy the sport at
their own level; many want to improve their skills; some want to
engage in competition with others. Some just want the social
interaction but most members will also enjoy some social events
with their friends at the club.
For your club to be successful it is vital that the pathways and
structures in place enable people to learn basic skills, to
participate at a level at which they are comfortable, to develop
their competence and if desired perform at the highest level
The provision of appropriate competitive opportunities for your
club members is essential.
For some it is important to have competitions and therefore a
structure in the form of leagues and tournaments are relevant. The
following are possible ways to deliver a competition programme.
Sports clubs have a vital role to play in providing sporting
opportunities for young people, and young people have a vital role
in providing the future success and development of sports
Before introducing young players to your club however you
need to consider the responsibility of providing and taking charge
of young people and how young people will affect other members of
And don't forget about the wider community. Clubs should
endeavour to create links with these groups as they could prove a
valuable source of new members and volunteers.
Once your membership starts to grow, you may need to find a way
to keep track of who attends training.
A simple membership
record template may help you here.
For a junior club you may want to send out an introductory
letter to parents/carers to give some information about things
like the activities of the club, training times & venue and kit
It's a good idea to create a 'Welcome Pack' for all new members.
This will help them feel at-home more quickly.
A Welcome Pack might include:
It's important to get to know your members as they may have a
skill that could benefit your club e.g. a lawyer to look at any new
policies or legal documentation (e.g. facility lease), a journalist
to write press releases, an accountant to take on the financial
duties of the club (e.g. budgets, funding applications).
There are usually three types of general meetings:
A club AGM is held every year to:
It's important to make sure that the AGM is well publicised
(e.g. information available on the club notice board, local press,
local community buildings) and welcoming to all your members.
The more involved they are in the whole process, the better. It is
also a good opportunity to recruit 'new blood' into the club and
onto the committee.
The club secretary is normally responsible for making all of the
necessary arrangements for the AGM:
sending/giving invites to members and nomination forms for the
election of officers, if they wish.
This meeting is called if at least a third of the club's members
(or the proportion specified in the club constitution) wishes to
amend a club rule, amend the constitution or discuss any other
important, and/or urgent matters which cannot wait until the
Committee meetings are organised by the elected officers of the
club to manage the day to day running of the club. Regular meetings
are important to make sure that the club has a process in place to
plan, communicate and monitor progress.
When you set up your club, the members need to decide what the
best legal structure is for the organisation so that it can be
formally recognised, a bank account can be opened in its name, and
agreements can be entered into to hire facilities.
There are two legal structures that can be considered:
This is the most common structure used by the vast majority of
sports clubs and organisations within the voluntary sector. The
members come together and agree to establish the club with its own
rules and operating procedures. These are then set down in
the Constitution e.g. appointment of office-bearers such as a
chair, secretary and treasurer, the duties, powers and
responsibilities of those appointed and elected and the rules
There is a contractual relationship between the individual
members of the organisation as they have agreed or "contracted" to
come together for a particular purpose. The association has
no existence or personality separate from its individual
This structure is most suitable for:
As this type of association has no legal identity of its own, it
cannot start legal action, borrow money, enter into contracts in
its own name or hold property. If the association exists to
benefit others, the property will normally be deemed to be held in
One serious consequence that you should be aware of with this
type of structure is that if something was to go seriously wrong
ALL the members of the association are liable. So, if the
club goes bankrupt, all the members could be liable for the debts,
irrespective of their individual financial circumstances.
Because this liability is unlimited, those with more wealth could
be hit harder than those with relatively little money.
On the positive side, unincorporated associations are simple to
set up and run. You don't need permission from anyone
else. You create your own constitution and run your own
affairs within these rules. Most clubs are able to insure
themselves against the more common risks and your National
Governing Body is likely to offer an insurance scheme that you can
This is a structure where the company (club) is a legal entity
quite separate from its members. The term 'limited' comes
from the fact that the company's finances are distinct from the
personal finances of their owners. Two forms of limited company
As the club is a distinct legal entity it is easier for the club
to enter into contractual arrangements e.g. to borrow money, own
buildings, or stage large events. It is the club itself,
rather than the individual members, that are responsible for the
club's obligations and debts (unless one of the officers has acted
negligently or fraudulently, in which case the individual remains
personally liable). Individual members can only be held
responsible for the debts and obligations of the club up to the
nominal value of their guarantee.
On the negative side, your accountancy costs will increase and
the company will be regulated by Companies House, which has strict
rules for reporting trading accounts and for the conduct of
directors and other company officials. More details are
available if you visit Companies House.
The Charities Act 2006 (applying to England and Wales) has
introduced modernising reforms to charity legislation. It is now
possible for sports clubs to apply for registration as a
There are two main benefits:
For more information visit the Charity
A constitution sets out the purpose and the rules of your club
Insurance is an essential responsibility for every club. It is
very important to make sure that you have adequate cover to protect
the activities that your club delivers. If you have any
concerns or queries, you should approach your National Governing
Body or your insurance company.
It is always helpful if you can recruit someone with legal
knowledge onto your committee - or to at least know one or two
members who may be able to provide you with friendly legal advice
You need to make volunteers aware of the type of insurance the
club has, what it covers, and any restrictions. Volunteers must
understand and work within their role description and the insurance
company must have details of all volunteer roles.
Volunteer drivers should confirm that their car insurance is
appropriate to cover use of their car for this purpose. The
club should check and update insurance cover for any vehicles it
Coaches need insurance. If you are a member of the National
Governing Body insurance cover may be a part of this
membership; but you should check. Insurance for coaches is
Putting a child protection policy and procedures in place at
your club will help to protect your junior members whilst also
protecting your volunteers.
All procedures should be specific to the particular
circumstances of your sport and your club. Many Governing Bodies
have their own guidelines on Child Protection for clubs and where
these exist they should be followed.
Contact your National Governing Body as a first step to
determine what arrangements they have already made. Where
there is not a policy that you can adopt from your NGB, there are a
number of other ways to help you in developing your own.
A template Child
Protection Policy is available and will provide guidance for
developing a child. Alternatively visit the CPSU webpage on
Developing a Child Protection Policy .
Once the foundations of your club are in place you should be
aiming to develop a child
protection implementation plan.
The implementation plan is a comprehensive plan which ensures
robust child protection procedures are being developed. The
implementation plan is based on the NSPCC 5 standards and focuses
on the following areas of your child protection procedures:
Working on an implementation plan will ensure that your existing
child protection policy and procedures are developed to ensure your
club has a robust approach to the welfare of children and young
people. It is also a useful tool to help evaluate you club's
policies and procedures and to keep them up to date with changing
legislation and guidance.
The Child Protection in Sport Unit have their own website
resources and training events that you can access to make sure your
club has everything in place.
It's important to make sure that the club meets and trains in a
safe environment and that the facilities and equipment you use are
'fit for purpose' and appropriate for the age and ability of the
You can check this by carrying out a 'risk assessment'
- to make sure that the facilities and equipment comply with your
NGB standards. This assessment will help you to:
For classes or accommodation at the National Centre please contact 0845 045 0902