What does affiliation do for grassroots clubs?
8th August 2018
If your club plays in the National Volleyball League (NVL), then it is easy to see the value of affiliating to Volleyball England. It allows your club to enter the national league and National Cup, which is delivered by the national governing body.
For non-NVL clubs though, you may have asked ‘what Volleyball England does for me?’. Being an affiliated club though has a bigger impact than probably meets the eye.
All affiliated clubs gain access to the club membership benefits. The recent feature ‘9 reasons for clubs to affiliate’ explores these perks in detail – check it out to see how your club can make the most of its membership.
There are some benefits which will save your club money. The insurance covers your members for injury and providing proof of cover can help you gain reduced hall hire at some venues (well worth checking with your venue). Fully funded DBS checks and discounts on items from the Volleyball England shop, such as scoresheet pads and kit through Volleyball England’s partners Kitlocker.com are also part of the package.
Where many grassroots clubs can often benefit even more from affiliation is through the support in club development. Many clubs fed back that they really needed help in accessing funding. So the ‘Funding Support Guide 2017-18’ was launched which guides clubs through where to look for funding and how to put together a brilliant application. The HUB also supports clubs in their bids for grants by checking applications and giving advice.
South Hants Falcons VC were recently awarded a Sport England Small Grant of £6,450 after using the support service. The club needed the money to develop a new junior club to provide 11-18 year olds in the Portsmouth area the opportunity to play volleyball. In a quest for funding which saw a couple of applications rejected, the club secretary Ryan Gunner got in touch with the Volleyball England HUB, and Project Delivery Team Lead Victoria Carr supported their bid for funding.
“Victoria proved essential to our application,” says Ryan. “She was on hand to discuss the application process, having sound knowledge to guide us in our application. Many emails and calls went back and forwards providing essential information to shape our application. Victoria’s help was invaluable.”
Seeing clubs develop and offer a positive experience of volleyball is at the heart of what the national governing body offers. That’s why in the membership area, there are lots of downloadable advice sheets and resources clubs can use to help them operate. These include template documents of club constitutions and governance, introductory letters to parents of junior members, session plans and codes of conduct. There are also lots of guides to things such as job roles on a club committee, how to put on a volleyball taster session and how to write a good press release.
Volleyball England are also able to keep clubs up to date of developments and point them in the direction of trustworthy advice and resources. Last May saw the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come into force which sets the new standard of handling personal data and impacts all organisations, including sports clubs.
Volleyball England created a GDPR guidance section of the website, guiding clubs on what they need to do to adhere to new regulation. The section of the website has helped clubs from all levels of the sport, with the section gaining over 500 views. It also shared with members links to the Sport and Recreation Alliance GDPR toolkit which provides clubs with template resources covering the fundamentals of the new law.
The HUB are also on hand to support clubs. From safeguarding guidance and club development advice to competitions queries and courses, members can always contact the HUB for any enquiries.
The greater good
Affiliation extends beyond clubs gaining support in helping them deliver volleyball. Being part of Volleyball England gives clubs at grassroots level input on shaping the whole sport.
When the level one coaching course was revamped earlier this year, the views of clubs from the grassroots were a vital part of the feedback on the course from the volleyball community. They key change has seen the award now focusing on how to coach six versus six volleyball.
Being affiliated gave grassroots clubs a voice to shape the products and services they want from Volleyball England. Many members of clubs from different levels of the sport have taken the new look course already and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Two hundred and thirty six learners took coaching courses or workshops last year, this represents more than one upskilled coach for every two affiliated clubs last year alone.
Volleyball England is eager to listen to all clubs from the core market so it can deliver more to the whole of the core market. Secretaries of affiliated were asked to complete the Club Survey 2018 which looked at their perception of Volleyball England. The research is being processed to gain an insight which will drive the agenda for change moving forward. The headline findings will be released early into the new season, as well as how those insights are helping shape future strategy and priorities for 2018-19 will be presented to the members.
Affiliated clubs were targeted for the survey as they are at the centre of the core market. With the board’s ongoing commitment to involving the membership in decision making, being affiliated gives clubs a stronger voice to shaping the future of volleyball for them and future generations.
Club affiliations for the 2018-19 season are open now. For more information, including the Membership Handbook which outlines all the club membership benefits, and to affiliate, visit the membership home page.