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How to set up a club

Have you ever wanted to start your own community sports club. Not sure where to start? This section will guide you through the process of setting up a model community club in the borough of Islington.

  • Investigate the local sports club scene
  • Active participants needed
  • Facilities
  • Coaches
  • Competition Pathways
  • Volunteer Support
  • Club Structure
  • Funding

The 1st thing to consider is: are there any existing clubs in my local area that are already delivering the sports that I want to set up?
Thoroughly research the local clubs in your area to see if they are already delivering the sort of activity that you are looking to start up. Consider the option of joining forces with an existing club and starting a new team if the club do not offer opportunities for the age group, sex or ability that you are looking to target. Check the sports section or contact the Islington club development officer on 020 7527 1868 sharareh.avazzadeh@islington.gov.uk to get a picture of the local sports club scene and for further help and advice on any of the points mentioned below.

Do you have enough potential participants to set up a new sports club?
Some sports like badminton and table tennis require small teams of up to four to five participants to compete in tournaments whereas other sports like football and rugby can require between 15 and 25 participants to make up a sufficient squad. Consult with friends, family, schools and colleagues to see if the demand is out there for your new club.

Are there sports facilities that you can use in you local area?
Investigate the local sports facilities in the area in which wish to set up your club. Islington has a number of high quality indoor and outdoor sports facilities. However, as a small borough with a high population these facilities are heavily used and preferred booking slots are often over subscribed. Check the leisure centres and pitches section to find local facilities including courts and pitches and the sports section to find what is currently used for your sport. Get an idea of the cost of the facility and any concessions that may be offered for youth, disability or block bookings.

Have you got qualified coaches lined up to run the clubs sessions?
To run a sports club, qualified coaches are integral to the success of the team and the enjoyment of the participants. Coaches also often have insurance cover and certified child protection training with their qualifications. To find out if coaches are available to support your club please contact the national governing body of your sport. For a list of National Governing bodies go to the Sport England website. The Access to Sports project also deliver coaching courses to allow interested individuals to become qualified in their chosen sport.

Are there local competitions or leagues to join?
Contact the national governing body of your sport on the Sport England website, who will direct you to a local organisational structure. Speak to league organisers and enquire about the capacity and qualifying conditions for local competitions. Bear in mind that competition will often require clubs to travel to away fixtures, investigate the travel times and costs before committing to league/competition entry. Try and organise ‘friendly’ matches between local clubs before you enter leagues or competitions to prepare your team for competitive situations.

Use the support of volunteers.
Sports clubs have one of the biggest volunteer workforces out of any mainstream activity in the UK. Consider what roles and responsibilities will be needed to run your club effectively, most community sports clubs will have a minimum of: an organiser (chairperson), someone in charge of the finance (treasurer), someone in charge of the correspondence and information going to players and organisers (secretary). Within smaller clubs one person may take on multiple roles, within larger clubs further roles may be needed to share the workload. To seek volunteers contact London Sport and Voluntary Action Islington.

Get Organised.
Set clear objectives for your club, write a plan of action for the coming year/season. Set your club up as a constituted body. If you intend to be for the benefit of young or vulnerable groups, implement child protection and vulnerable adult procedures. Devise and implement a list of club rules and regulations. Insure your club against any possible risks. Set up an independent bank account in the name of the club with two required signatories. Hold regular meetings with the organising members, hold annual general meetings for all organising members to attend and stand for positions of responsibility. Attend training courses to help improve the running of the sports club. For the above policies and procedures please see examples at the bottom of this page. For further help around the governance of your club visit the Clubmatters website for a step by step guide.

Secure Funding
Once all of the hard work is done you will be eligible to apply for funding for your club. Most funding bodies will not consider applications from sports clubs who do not have the above policies and procedures in place. Sport England have set up a Code for Sports Governance. Organisations seeking public funding for sports and physical activity must meet the this new code. There are 3 tiers to this code and most clubs and organisations will fall under teir 1. Go to the Get Funding page of the Sport Islington website for information about funding sources.

Enjoy the fun
Congratulate yourself on helping to contribute to a healthier, fitter and more active Islington.

Continuing support for sports clubs
If you are already part of an established sports club and would like support, familiarise yourself with the ClubMatters website for free support in good governance, business and financial planning, marketing, facilities management and governance. Support is in the form of online modules and seminars.

Downloadable documents

Example of Club Constitution

Example of Sports Club Action Plan

Example of Sports Club Rules and Regulations

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