Take a listen: how feedback has sparked positive change
6th June 2018
While the current 2018 Club Survey aims to find out what affiliated clubs think of Volleyball England, the most recent previous surveys, conducted in 2015 and 2016, were focused on the membership and participation. The findings revealed three key areas which were important to members: club funding, safeguarding and competitions. The feedback has been crucial in helping Volleyball England provide a better service to the membership.
For club funding, a support guide has been released which takes clubs through the process of writing a bid for grants.
When it comes to safeguarding, the process of applying for DSB checks has been streamlined and website has been revamped to provide more information about safeguarding best practice.
Competitions are a large part of what Volleyball England offers, and it has worked to engage the membership into having more input in how their competitions work and are delivered.
“Previous surveys were very much ‘volleyball audits’ that helped Volleyball England gain a better idea of who the membership is,” explains Simon Griffiths, PR and Communications Director, who has helped develop the current Club Survey with Research and Insight Director, Seyram Atubra – whose research expertise we explored in Seyram’s recent ‘On the Board’ profile piece.
“Previous surveys have already helped to improve what we’re already offering. Now, we want to build on that and find out more about what the clubs expect from Volleyball England.”
As the survey looks to be the catalyst for further improvements, here we take a look at how the previous surveys have helped make positive changes…
This year a club ‘Funding Support Guide’ was launched to help teams gain financial support. The free downloadable guide takes you through different pots of funding a club can apply for and how to write a brilliant application. It comes with two useful resources: a funding flowchart, which maps out each stage of the process of gaining funding, and a project plan, which poses the questions you need to answer in your bid for funding.
The HUB also began to offer a funding support service. Before hitting submit on a bid, clubs can send them for a final check to an expert at the HUB who can recommend any changes that would increase the chances of a grant being awarded.
“One recent bid was successful in gaining a grant of over £6,000 and there are more bids currently in process which we have helped with,” says Vicki Carr, the HUB’s lead on funding support. “Creating an easy to download PDF guide means all the essential information is easily shared and clubs have a resource to refer to every step of the way during their bid for funding. The guide also has lots of top tips about fundraising.”
Leading on safeguarding
The fact that safeguarding was flagged up during the previous surveys as an important topic to the membership is testament to how seriously the volleyball community takes it responsibilities.
In the wake of the feedback, the safeguarding section of the Volleyball England website was updated with more information and FAQs to give more guidance. This made it easier for clubs to ensure they have the correct safeguarding procedures in place and the HUB staff are still always on hand to provide support to clubs.
Applying for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate - formerly a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) certificate – was moved away from a paper-based process to an online application. This sped up the process of getting a certificate from three months down to just seven days.
“As an organisation Volleyball England is rated as green by the Child Protection in Sport Unit,” says Rob Payne, Volleyball England’s Core Market Coordinator and lead on safeguarding. “This reflects how the HUB and membership have worked together to encourage and implement safeguarding best practice.
“For example, the HUB would receive queries from clubs who wanted to check that their Club Welfare Officer was suitably qualified. The HUB staff created a page on the website where clubs could find a role description, training requirements and guidance for an incoming Club Welfare Officer”.
Keeping it competitive
While the financial challenges the national governing body has faced in recent times have enforced some difficult decisions regarding the future of some competitions, Volleyball England has remained fervent in their goal to provide top class events.
The delivery model of events has developed as the membership have engaged more to help with running competitions. Volunteers have become even more of the driving force behind the running of competitions. For example, the Sitting Volleyball Grand Prix and Student Cup preliminary rounds are delivered solely by volunteers, from setting up the courts to sending the results to the competition team at the HUB.
Volunteers are being more engaged at an organisational level too. More members are coming forward to join working groups so the volleyball community can shape the future of what it deems one of its highest priorities.
“Despite the financial challenges, we have been committed to providing competitions that the teams enjoy and are beneficial to the progress of the players,” says Jonathan Moore, Volleyball England Competitions and Events Coordinator.
“It may not always be possible to deliver everything that we would want, but we use the resources we have to provide the best competitions we can. The membership is vital to that – from giving their feedback to the incredible volunteers who give up their time to put on the events.”
Developing a better service
The 2018 survey of club secretaries will help to build on the changes made because of the previous membership surveys.
“As part of the board’s ongoing commitment to engaging with and listening to the membership, the current survey is aimed at establishing the clubs’ perception of Volleyball England, its strengths and weaknesses, and what they want and expect from the governing body – so we can develop the strategy and use our resources in the way that best serves the members,” says Simon Griffiths.
The full rationale behind the survey was explored in Core Market Officer, Sam Jamieson’s piece on what the survey plans to capture and how it will impact on Volleyball England’s strategy.
If you are a secretary of an affiliated club, remember to complete the survey to help ensure your club’s views are heard.