Barclays Spaces for Sports held a second sustainability workshop for community sports sites with representatives from over 20 organisations attending the event which was held at Aston Villa Football Club’s home ground, Villa Park.
Barclays Spaces for Sports (BS4S) is a community sports programme which uses the positive power of sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities as well as to tackle key social issues. Using sport as the platform, Barclays Spaces for Sports engages communities to deliver an important range of life skills.
Following the first event held in Liverpool in October last year, representatives from a range of BS4S and Football Foundation sites from across the Midlands met with the Barclays team. The interactive session was led by Activity Sustainability Advisors (ASAs) focusing on the sustainability of community sports sites.
ASAs, who are joint funded by Barclays and the Football Foundation, work with community sports sites using their wealth of knowledge and experience in the community sports field to provide help and support to facilities. They assist sites who are aiming to improve the sustainability of the facility, which may include increasing participation opportunities, maximising facility hire and developing partnerships.
Three community sport organisations, Sported, Warwickshire County Sports Partnership and Sky Blues in the Community (the charitable arm of Coventry FC) also delivered presentations providing further insight into the local opportunities available to help sites remain manageable for communities and authorities to run.
The workshop allowed best practice to be shared with a particularly impressive case study presented by Silverdale Cricket Club. The BS4S site recently secured £25,000 of Sustainability Funding from Barclays and £55,000 from the Sport England Inspired Facilities Fund. This followed extensive work between the ASA and the club in demonstrating the need and identifying key partners to be involved.
Other themes discussed included how to generate income, retaining volunteers, the importance of partnerships and maintaining up to date business plans. Barclays Regional Community Business Partner, Paula Molyneux also showcased the array of Barclays volunteering opportunities and Money Skills programmes on offer.
Barclays encourage their employees to give their time and talents to help local communities which can support the sustainability and operation of a BS4S site. This may include practical sports coaching, helping with business plans, budgeting and leading Money Skills sessions.
After the event Jim Rowley, Secretary of Silverdale Cricket Club said: “I will take away a great deal from today’s workshop – it was a very enjoyable and comprehensive learning experience which was very well planned and delivered. I would recommend attending a workshop to all other Barclays and Football Foundation sites.”
Kirk Harrison, Head of Barclays Spaces for Sports highlighted the importance of such events, saying: “These events are a learning curve for everyone involved and provide a fantastic platform for all Barclays Spaces for Sports and Football Foundation sites to network, exchange ideas and learn from one another. We are looking forward to rolling out similar workshops in different regions across the country.”