07/05/2020

Sport England's Club Matters: a helping hand

Club Matters

It's easy to feel like you're on your own when it comes to dealing with the upheaval caused by COVID-19. For activity providers, the reality couldn't be more different.

Digital platform Club Matters, Sport England's one-stop-shop for sports clubs, groups and organisations, is one of the sources of support available to help deal with the impact of Coronavirus. 

The Club Matters website offers a wide range of COVID-specific resources for sports clubs big and small, geared around keeping your club running, keeping people safe and keeping in touch with members.

Virtual workshops steer activity leaders through interactive sessions around themes such as planning for the future, leadership teams and marketing strategy. 

Club Matters have developed written resources and toolkits offering a templated business continuity plan and briefings on business rates and government financial support.

Above all Sport England believe that clubs continuing to engage members digitally, despite social distancing measures being in place, is absolutely vital. 

"Sport and physical activity is the highlight of so many people's week," said Rosie Benson, Head of Clubs at Sport England.

Club Matters

"It's their social time as well as physical activity and while we're all staying at home, they will miss friends, coaches and leaders.

"Just being able to see familiar faces on a webcam is really important for their wellbeing and mental health.

"We often think about sports clubs as just a place where you go and play sport, but really they're like mini social services and social networks.

"It's really important that clubs stay in touch with members at the moment and we offer resources on how to set up virtual meetings and how committees can operate virtually.

"It's even more important that clubs keep participants engaged so we're ready to get back to normal, whatever that looks like and whenever it happens.

"We don't want people to forget about their clubs and we want to continue to harness people's passion for physical activity when this period is over."

Separately, Sport England's Community Emergency Fund aims to help organisations experiencing short-term funding hardship due to the ongoing crisis. 

Awards of between £300 and £10,000 are available. 

Sport England believe that while the future is uncertain, there's no better time to consult members or participants on what they want their club to look like going forward.

Weight training

Whether it's changes to volunteering roles or the structure of sessions, staying at home offers some a perfect opportunity to plan the future of their organisation.

Rosie said: "Now's a really good time to reach out to members and find out what they think about your club.

"It's easy to think people aren't busy during lockdown - it's not downtime for everyone - but it is a chance to do some really important things we don't normally have time for.

"Our resources offer practical help on how to run a club-wide survey, how to get a picture of the health of your club.

"It's never been more important to use what resources we can to stay connected, keep members motivated and keep communication going.

"There are lots of resources on Club Matters to strengthen what you already do.

"Our message would be to stay safe, stay positive, stay connected and use this time to reflect on how you're going to come back and make your club as good as it can be."