Listening in: what will the 2018 club survey reveal?

20th June 2018

Listening in: what will the 2018 club survey reveal?

Volleyball England wants to better serve its members. That’s why the national governing body are reaching out to clubs to get their perception of Volleyball England and what it provides.

A link to a survey has been sent to each club secretary asking them to give feedback on behalf of their club. Over 45 clubs completed the survey within just 72 hours of the survey going live, so if you haven’t already make sure you take the opportunity to give your club a voice.

With responses to the survey coming in, we chatted with Regional Working Group Lead Bryan Youlden for his thoughts on what the survey will reveal.

With the survey nearing the deadline for completion of July 1, 2018, Bryan believes it could reveal some home truths.

“I don’t think the perception of Volleyball England will be a positive one,” explains Bryan, who with over 30 years’ experience at the grassroots level of volleyball is well placed to speculate on the survey’s findings. “Most people are so focused on their own club – they are entrenched in what they are doing and will not see what Volleyball England is doing.

“When Volleyball England had Relationship Managers in each region that made such a difference as there was on the ground help for clubs. Now those roles don’t exist, it is important to break down barriers that exist between the clubs and Volleyball England. Co-operation and understanding is needed from both sides as when it comes to it, we’re all in this together.”

Bryan immediately hits upon one of the key ways in which Volleyball England can improve the way it works: communication.

“The easiest criticism of Volleyball England is effective communications,” says Bryan. “Part of the problem is many people will ask themselves ‘what does Volleyball England do for me?’ It provides courses, competitions, GDPR support etc but it is not always recognised that someone has to provide this. I think some people don’t recognise the services that are available.

“Improving communication will help and the website also needs improving to. It is a two-way process though and people should also try to be proactive in knowing what Volleyball England is doing.”

As well as communicating better what it currently offers, Bryan thinks there are areas which will be highlighted in the survey which Volleyball England needs to provide more help with.

“Help with applying for funding is a valuable resource,” says Bryan, who himself has held many of the leading roles on club committees. “Previously, the HUB offered help with putting funding bids together. That was a good service as many clubs don’t know where to start with finding funding. Many volunteers at clubs are so busy delivering volleyball that they need help in building their club.

“When I was in the West Midlands, our club had successful bids and shared our applications with other local clubs. They used them as templates for their own bids, something similar from the HUB would be really helpful.”

Volleyball England has launched the Funding Support Guide which helps clubs understand the different funding pots which are available and explains how to write a brilliant bid. The HUB also offers to check any applications before clubs send them to give their expert feedback.

Funding advice though was not the only thing Bryan believes clubs want to see the national governing body add to what it offers.

“We lack coaches, refs, funding, and it would be good to gain some assistance with club admin and advice on how to recruit new players and volunteers. There are a lot of people and clubs out there with a lot of experience and it would be good if Volleyball England could share best practice.

“For example, if a club wins club of the year it would help others to know how they achieved that. It would be good to answer the questions of why did they win it? What is it they are doing well? How can other clubs learn from them? That would be useful as there are many areas in which clubs need help and guidance.”

“There used to be the Volleyball England Club Mark award scheme which set targets of things clubs has to achieve. That often opened people’s eyes about what you needed to do and educated them on how to improve their club.”

So while Bryan highlights funding and club support as the key areas he thinks need development, the research is only one half of the story. Volleyball England will then need to turn that insight into positive changes. This is part of a longer-term plan to integrate members’ views into planning and decision making and Bryan agrees that it is going to take time to implement the things the membership needs.

“There is no quick solution for delivering what the membership wants,” says Bryan. “It’s about working over a period of time to build trust and engagement. Hopefully the survey can begin to break down barriers and will help Volleyball England find more ways to add value to the membership.

“The clubs also need to take responsibility too for adding value to their own clubs. The key thing is that Volleyball England is listening and making changes the membership asked for. For example, the level one coaching course has been reduced it the time it takes to complete and it now focuses on six versus six volleyball. That’s a prime example of how feedback from the membership can help deliver change.”

Volleyball England is listening – so make sure that if you’re an affiliated club that your secretary completes the survey to represent your club’s views.

Listening in: what will the 2018 club survey reveal?