Free Essay

Sports Partnerships in Action

In: Business and Management

Submitted By GeorgeForman
Words 2358
Pages 10
1.0 Introduction
In the modern sports industry, there is a need, more than ever before for UK sports organisations to take the partnership approach. This is important because there is no way one organisation can achieve all of its aims and goals on their own, and so this strategy is increasingly being recognised, and will need to be increasingly integrated into the industry.
The main method that partnerships approach funding is usually by the government. Organisations such as Sports England are a good example that is funded by the DCMS, which are primarily funded by the government. Within sports, National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) are funding organisations such as Sports England as a strategy to grow, sustain and excel networks of community clubs, coaches and volunteers (Sport England, 2011). NGB’s are an important factor in how a sports partnership will run. Like all other organizations these national governing bodies (NGBs) operate in an ever changing environment and require effective systems of governing to defend against any unfairly allocated funds, as well as ensuring the long-term sustainability and strength of their sport (Taylor, M. O’Sullivan, N., 2009).
There is always an importance in sport for there to be strong and productive grassroots and school participation. Although, recently there have been reductions in funding, on a national and an international level. Grassroots sports and young communities are primarily financed by local authorities. The trend in some countries is that local authorities reduce their efforts to support local clubs, to finance sport facilities and other recreations, they tend to cancel or postpone expenses, because they have other priorities. In grassroots sports it is a common trend for all sport organisations at international level for the withdrawal of private partners. National governments sometimes have to cut down budget devoted to sport, which is problematic for countries where involvement of local funding is very high (Fonteneau, M. 2010).
Apart from the problems with funding, there are also other barriers to participation within sports. There are different factors which act as a barrier to someone participating in sport, most commonly being a person’s age group; young children are generally the easiest age group to get involved in sport. This is because of the parental support and guidance which they receive, whether it is well received or not.
The aim of this essay is to analyse a partnership case study (The Sporting Chance Project, Cheshire, England) in order to identify the problems and benefits associated with it, and suggest an improvement that would be of benefit to the partnership.
2.0 Main body
In Cheshire, the county sports partnership developed working relations with a wide range of partners including the Connexions Service, Sports Network North West, Voluntary Organisations and Community Groups. This programme linked young people with opportunities in sports leadership, coaching and volunteering opportunities. The aims of this partnership was to increase the sport and leisure opportunities available to young persons, to develop their personal skills with reference to their self-image, awareness, building confidence, improving communication skills, personal development and citizenship. In the case study they state “Our aim is to create a “single system” whereby all agencies work together more effectively to widen access, increase participation, create clear pathways and improve levels of performance in sport and physical activity” (Cheshire and Warrington Sport Partnership 2009).
2.1 Organisations, their sectors and their aims
As explained before, this is a very difficult objective for one organisation to achieve on its own, and shows the need for partnerships in order to for this to happen. In accordance to this the Cheshire county sports partnership decided to use an organisation called the Connexions Service. This was part of a government strategy to reduce social exclusion among young people. The key aims of the Service are to enable all young people to participate effectively in appropriate learning, by raising their aspirations so that they reach their full potential. The service plays a central role in helping to deal with problems experienced by young people, removing any wider barriers to effective engagement in learning that young people are suffering. It does this by providing high quality support and guidance, and by brokering access for young people to a range of more specialist services (infed, 2011).
This partnership also includes input from Voluntary Organisations which are non-profit organisations and are non-governmental which operate in the public sector, although the funding of these organisations is usually provided by the local government and the local council which can be applied for. In some circumstances they can be privately funded.
Another partner in this project is Community groups; these are non-profit organisations that operate within a single local community in the public sector. They are essentially a subset of the wider group of non-profits. Like other non-profits they are often run on a voluntary basis and are self-funded. Within a community there can be many variations in terms of size and organisational structure. With these two non-profit organisations, their aims and objectives are led by the beliefs they stand for, for the benefit of others.
2.2 Existing partnership
An important goal for this partnership was to increase the sport and leisure opportunities available to young persons and to actively support them and give them what they need to be the best that they can be. As a main objective, creating opportunities for young people aged 13 – 19 years with sports leadership, coaching and volunteering opportunities, is an important part to achieving this goal. This is where the role of the volunteering and community groups comes in to increase social inclusion, as they guide the young people and help them to understand how volunteering is an effective way to build up and gain skills for the long term, which the disadvantaged and excluded people would not otherwise be able to achieve. There are many partnerships across the UK trying to achieve the same goals as The Sporting Chance Project using such organisations as voluntary and community groups.
An example of this is an organisation called Speaking Out. Speaking Out is a partnership between the National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations (NCVCCO) and the National Council of Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS) to build a voice for the children and young people’s voluntary and community sector across Government. The project develops closer links between Government departments and the voluntary and community sector in delivering cross departmental plans such as Every Child Matters and the direct implementation of initiatives which affect children and young people. The project aims to support children, young people and family voluntary and community organisations to better understanding the aims and impact on their users of a wider range of government policies and provide routes to influence them. They are funded by the Office of the Third Sector part of the Cabinet Office (Childrenengland, 2007). This shows a clear need across the UK for a change, and an ever present push to the government for more of these types of opportunities to be created to improve social inclusion.
Another main objective to the partnership was to develop personal and leadership skills for young people. Not skills just related to sport, but skills that they could use throughout life, in many circumstances and as a way to develop their character and understanding. This is where the Connexions service comes in to provide help to young people by improving their self-image, awareness, confidence, communication skills, personal development and citizenship. They would do this by providing guidance and an actual opportunity to a coherent, appropriate, high quality pathway to adult and working life for an every young person, offering the widest possible individual choice. They would provide the means to equip young people with the higher skill levels they will need to operate effectively in the rapidly changing jobs market of the future. And to develop targeted systems of support for those who need it and when they need it, linking all aspects of young people’s lives.
2.3 Social inclusion
Social inclusion is primarily making sure that all of society is able to participate as valued, respected and contributing members of society. It is a value based concept, and gives us a way of understanding where we want to be in society and how to get there in the best possible way. Social inclusion is a proactive, human development approach to a good society that needs more than the removal of barriers or risks to work, but requires an investment and things to be done to make it possible for inclusion.
To achieve social inclusion there are many different dimensions which need to be considered. One concept of social inclusion is valued recognition, which basically means a recognition and respect for different cultures and genders of people. Another dimension is human development, this is a way of developing the talents, skills, capacities and choices of society, to live in a way that they feel they are valued and are able to make a contribution. These dimensions link in with the Sporting Chance Project, as one of their main aims was to develop personal skills and increase citizenship, which would have been a role of the Connexions service. This was all part of a government strategy which largely intended to tackle social-exclusion. This is why the Connexions service was an integral part of this partnership as it gave a clear guidance to young people, who otherwise would not be able to get involved in the activities that this project offers, and only for the reason that they did not have the opportunity and the knowledge that these types of activity took place, and offered them the guidance to a better life.
Thirdly, involvement and engagement is an important factor to social inclusion. These means knowing that you have the right, and are supported in your decisions to be involved in outcomes affecting yourself, your family and your community, and to be more involved in the community. Proximity is another dimension to social inclusion; this is basically sharing spaces which allow opportunities for interaction between people who live in the same area, go to the same school, or work in the same place. And lastly material well-being, this is making sure people have the facilities and resources to allow them to fully participate within their community. These three dimensions link in to the Sporting Chance Project as they are all examples of how the volunteering and community groups can help to bring a community together, and gives young people the opportunity to see how volunteering and working in a community atmosphere can affect people positively, and thus make them feel like they have been involved in something which they would not have been able to before (Donnelly, P. Coakley, J. 2002).
2.4 Suggested improvements
I think that this project turned out to be a partial success, as they managed to get seven programmes running weekly across the county. But, they only had up to 80 people taking part. I think that this could be addressed by accessing schools in the area and I think that this would expand to more young people. An example of something that they could have taken part in is Sports England’s ‘School Games’. The School Games is a four level competition for school children in England. It consists of an intra school, inter school, county festivals and national finals stages. This whole event has been funded £128m by the government and the Lottery (Sports England, 2011). The Sports Chance Project could have done something that resembled the ‘School Games’ with schools from within the county. They could have applied for funding through a few different options. Firstly, they could have been funded through a programme such as Sports Unlimited, which share the same objectives as the Sporting Chance Project, as it targeted young people who may have an interest in sport, but aren’t involved with the community or a club (Sports England, 2011). Alternatively they could have looked for sponsorship from a local business that they were closely linked to.
3.0 Summery
This assignment has identified qualitative understandings of the reasons why the Sporting Chance Project took place, how the partnership worked, and the overall objectives that they intended to achieve, with a suggestion to how it could improve. The partnership of these organisations to create the Sporting Chance Project was formed primarily to create opportunities for young people, and to develop personal skills. Social inclusion was one of the main aims of the partnership; this shows a need from the government in getting young people doing more in the community, and feeling more involved, useful and accepted in their community. Although this project was done well and the outcomes it achieved were positive for their local community, I feel that if it had been pursued and had grown and been extended with more activities and opportunities it could have been even more beneficial.

4.0 References
Sport England, (2011)
Funding [Online]
Available at (http://www.sportengland.org/funding.aspx)
Accessed on [18/10/2011]

Taylor, M. O’Sullivan, N. (2009)
Corporate Governance: An International Review
How Should National Governing Bodies of Sport Be Governed in the UK? An Exploratory Study of Board Structure
17 (6) 681–693

Fonteneau, M. (2010)
From the Olympics to Grassroots “Financing of grassroots sports: the views of the Olympic and Sports Movement.” [Online]
Available at (http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/services/docs/sport/conference20100216/5-funding_of_grassroots_sports-the_olympic_sport_movement_en.pdf)
Accessed on [20/10/2011]

Infed, (2011)
The Connexions Service in England [Online]
Available at (http://www.infed.org/personaladvisers/connexions.htm)
Accessed on [26/10/11]

Childrenengland, (2007)
Speaking Out, Supporting the Sector to Influence Policy
Available at (http://www.childrenengland.org.uk/upload/No%203%20DEFRA.pdf)
Accessed on [28/10/11]

Donnelly, P. Coakley, J. (2002)
The Role of Recreation in Promoting Social Inclusion
Perspectives on Social Inclusion
10 – 11

Sports England (2011)
School Games [Online]
Available at (http://www.sportengland.org/support__advice/children_and_young_people/school_games.aspx)
Accessed on [31/10/11]

Sports England (2011)
Sports Unlimited [Online]
Available at (http://www.sportengland.org/support__advice/children_and_young_people/sport_unlimited.aspx)
Accessed on [31/10/11]

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