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How I got here: Chris Sellar

Developing local sport at the helm of a community sport hub in Edinburgh

Chris Sellar has been the Community Sport Hub Coordinator for South West Edinburgh Community Sport Hub for over two years, based at Heriot-Watt University. Chris was previously a college representative Football Team Manager at Scottish Student Sport. Here he gives us an insight into his career. 

Can you give us an outline of your role?

“I wear many hats, but in short my job is to connect people and organisations to work together and ensure there is an opportunity for all to participate in sport locally. So, I develop community partnerships to increase the capacity of sport within the south west of Edinburgh. There are four key areas to my work: enhancing people, club development, marketing and communications, and developing effective partnerships.” 

What does a typical day look like for you?

“I have a relaxed start to the day. In sport, you tend to find that activity happens into the night so the early mornings are precious. I catch up on the news and head to work for 9am. Usually the first part of my day is catching up on emails and my to-do list, but after that I work to our meticulous weekly, monthly and annual work plans for each of the projects we have.

“For example, one of the projects I’m working on at the moment is ‘Active Community’ and involves meeting with Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) institutions and SGBs to agree on a process for developing student coaches to then be deployed into schools, clubs and HE/ FE sport.

“This work plan and the development of community partnerships usually takes up my day, which is then followed by evening commitments a few nights each week. We meet volunteers several times a month; they usually have their own day jobs so evenings are the time we have face-to-face meetings and forums. I also coach Heriot-Watt University Football Club on a Monday and Thursday evening.” 

What did you want to be as a child?

“Like many youngsters who like football, I wanted to be a professional footballer, but if that didn’t work out it was always going to be some sort of role involved in sport.” 

When did you know this was the career for you?

“I wouldn’t say there was a definitive point. I loved PE, had great teachers and a great experience with my local community football club. That’s one of the main reasons I went on to do Sport Studies at the University of Stirling.

“My time on the Young people’s sport panel at sportscotland provided great networking opportunities, while my time at Scottish Student Sport (SSS) gave me insights into how different institutions connect with sport in the community.” 

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

“I would say going for the Sports Union presidency at the University of Stirling. I didn’t get the role but the learning along the way was brilliant and enabled me to get the SSS position.” 

How does one get to where you are?

“Volunteering! Put yourself out there — there are plenty of leadership openings around sport. Create opportunities for yourself by asking your local club, community sport hub or Active Schools coordinator. Also, have a look at websites that offer volunteering opportunities – like the job section of sportscotland.org.uk ” 

What do you need to be a Community Sport Hub Coordinator?

“Relevant qualifications are useful; they give you a platform. A college or university degree not only provides valuable subject knowledge, but also offers transferable life and work skills. Gaining coaching qualifications and other continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities help you grow within sport development. Experience is really important, so gain that wherever you can, as more informal training comes from just getting involved.” 

What’s best about your job?

“I absolutely love my job! I work with lots of people from a variety of backgrounds with different expertise and I feel like I make a difference. Sport is a growing industry, which means there are lots of opportunities.” 

If you would like to find out more about the community sport hubs that Chris works with, visit: sportscotland.org.uk/csh

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