Sports clubs across Scotland are coming up with innovative ways to keep playing a key role within their communities during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Club members and participants may not be able to gather for group activities just yet, but that hasn’t stopped clubs staying connected, maintaining relationships and a spirit of unity.
By finding innovative ways to stay in touch with members, volunteers and participants during the crisis, clubs and community organisations have reinforced the important role they play in their communities.
Here we showcase some of the ways clubs and sporting organisations have been connecting with their members and enabling other clubs to do the same.
Scottish Hockey Club Pledge
Scottish Hockey understand that many of their club members are missing hockey, but more importantly what makes a club a club – the social aspect.
To help maintain club togetherness and community, Scottish Hockey are asking hockey clubs from across the country to sign up to the Scottish Hockey Club Pledge and provide club members with all the elements of being part of the club they enjoy.
Sixty-eight clubs (two-thirds of clubs in Scotland) have made the pledge so far, with clubs holding themselves accountable to:
- holding weekly club/team meetings at the time training sessions would take place
- creating a club newsletter to keep members engaged and up to date with what the club is doing
- creating a calendar and hosting virtual club social events such as quizzes, karaoke and race nights
- setting club challenges to raise money for charity and good causes
- profiling and celebrating achievements of club members as well as members working on the front line.
Katie Brown, West regional development manager for Scottish Hockey, said: “We knew our members would be missing the bonds and companionship they get from playing and training with their teammates, but we could also see that some clubs were finding ways to keep in touch with each other as well as some doing incredible work in their community.
“We came up with Club Pledge to help clubs and teams maintain those bonds and keep spirits high in preparation for that time when we can all meet up again on the hockey pitch.
"It’s clear that hockey clubs across Scotland play a really important role in their communities and it's particularly visible right now with clubs supporting not just people in hockey, but in the wider community.”
Forthill CSH educational sport workbooks
Forthill Community Sports Club in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, have created a series of educational workbooks targeted at their younger members to support parents with home schooling.
The hub is made up of six sports (cricket, hockey, rugby, squash, tennis and table tennis) and a new workbook has been released each week focusing on one of the six hub sports.
The workbooks are made up of three sections - educational, activity and wellbeing - which include theory and practical activities. Included in the workbooks are word searches, maths challenges, sport-specific practical challenges and a recipe for participants to try.
In addition to hub members, these have been used to support parents in the wider community with local schools and community groups sharing them with their members too.
The free workbooks can be accessed on the Forthill CSH website.
Stenhousemuir FC community help initiative
Stenhousemuir Football Club launched their community help initiative to support local people in Stenhousemuir, Larbert, Carron, Carronshire and Airth. Through grant funds including sportscotland’s Awards for All, the club has diverted some of these funds to provide essential services in the community.
The National Lottery Awards For All fund provides support for projects that bring people together and build strong relationships in local communities. It also funds projects that help improve the places and spaces that matter to communities and that help people to reach their potential.
Stenhousemuir are currently coordinating one of the largest community initiatives in Scotland, involving almost 150 volunteers providing support to 300 vulnerable households every week.
This includes shopping and prescription collection for more than 120 elderly and at-risk households, the delivery of more than 900 school lunches to children qualifying for free school meals, producing 250 free home-cooked meals and the distribution of 270 food parcels every week.
Their ‘Support Our Community, Protect Our Club’ campaign aims to give the local community the chance to safeguard the club’s future as well as helping the most vulnerable in the community. Half othe f money raised from their weekly lottery goes towards safeguarding the club and the other half is used to extend their community help initiative beyond lockdown, to enable the club to continue to provide weekly services for vulnerable people on a permanent basis.
Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club focus groups
Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club have been spending their time in lockdown with members firmly at the forefront of their discussions.
Contact sessions were initially set up to chat about the needs of players, coaches and officials during this time, with some members not just isolating but shielding from the pandemic.
From these sessions, virtual focus groups were held to discuss plans for making the club bigger and better for when activities can resume. Fundraising and education sessions for coaches and officials proved particularly fruitful, leading to the planning of a calendar of future sessions.
Driven by younger members, perhaps the most exciting plan to come out of the sessions was the development of a series of Paralympic-themed events, culminating in a charity ball.
As well as the focus groups, members are also benefiting from a series of virtual sessions covering mental health and nutrition. One-to-one personal development sessions will also enable goals to be set and long-term plans for support to be put in place.
Kevin Rattray, Dundee Dragons club coordinator, said: “We are not unique in having to think of creative ways to continue to connect with players, officials and coaches to ensure that they do not become isolated.
"The use of online resources has been vital for us with Zoom being our main tool of choice for video meetings, but we have also used several media sources including WhatsApp for group chats.
"We can’t pretend that we have been able to engage with everyone. But through persistence, not giving up on people and providing a comprehensive programme of activity, we feel that probably about 70% of the club members have got involved.
"Interestingly, some members who haven’t previously engaged are now signing up for online sessions.”
Share with us
There are many more fantastic initiatives carried out by sport clubs across Scotland to engage members and the local community. Email us and share what your club has been doing.
Find out more
- Learn more about the support available for club and community sport organisations
- Read more on our ‘We’re here’ campaign which is helping promote the benefits of physical activity to support mental health
- Visit the Scottish Hockey Club Pledge page.