Community Sport Hubs, schools and providers of sport and physical activity across East Lothian have been embracing equality and diversity and committing to tackling discrimination by signing up to a Sports Charter and adopting the accompanying Guide to Equality and Inclusion produced by Active East Lothian.
Aiming to make the appeal of sport and physical activity as broad and inclusive as possible to all, the Charter and Guide are a benchmark in proactive and progressive work in the sporting sector, and all clubs and schools across the county are encouraged to sign up.
Breaking down barriers
The documents, developed in collaboration with all six of the local Community Sport Hubs, Active Schools and Sports Development teams, act as enablers for those who adopt them, to design and deliver the services that will make a real difference to their communities and the people in them.
Community Sport Hubs like North Berwick and Tranent who show commitment to equality and inclusion within their clubs can benefit from an array of support via the Guide, which is designed as a practical tool containing resources, self-assessment questionnaire, experiences, strategies and top tips.
The wider benefits of signing up to the Charter, which reflects East Lothian Council’s commitment to reducing inequalities, include opportunities to collaborate with wider Community Learning and Development teams and Area Partnerships in East Lothian and within the third sector.
Clubs signing up to the Charter are sending a strong, important message to their communities that they are embracing equality and are proactively removing perceived barriers to many in their communities.
This has allowed clubs to engage those who have not traditionally been involved in clubs and develop new activity contributing to stronger, more sustainable clubs.
Bengy Barsanti, development officer for the Community Sport Hubs, said: “By empowering our communities to take the lead on equality and inclusion we ensure that there is long-term, significant social change.
"Our Hubs are members of their local Area Partnerships and ensuring continuity of outcomes through these networks has meant the Charter and Guide are being utilised by partners who may not traditionally be recognised as sport and physical activity providers.
“This reinforces our commitment to improving physical activity across the Authority in line with our Physical Activity Framework, which has led to a number of additional intended and unintended benefits for our Hub clubs.”
Levelling the playing field
Developed to reflect the core principles of East Lothian’s Community Planning Partnership, the Charter reflects the community focused approach of Active East Lothian and East Lothian Council’s overarching commitment to reducing inequality in and between their communities.
Paul Huish, sport and activity project development officer at East Lothian Council, whose post is funded by sportscotland, said: “We are committed to ensuring that East Lothian is a place where, equality and diversity is valued, and where inclusion and access are at the forefront of all we do.
"The East Lothian Sport Charter and Guide to Equality and Inclusion gives us the platform to embrace and encourage equality and tackle stereotyping and discrimination.”
To reinforce the commitment and support for clubs, Active East Lothian is refreshing its accreditation scheme to include a full section on equality and inclusion.
Clubs demonstrating and delivering on their commitment will be recognised for doing so and receive free training in disability, transgender awareness, developing activity for LGBTI groups, Autism, Mental Health and Suicide awareness training.
This scheme recognises that equality and inclusion are not a ‘nice to have’ but are integral to being a true community club.
East Lothian is on the right track to ensure equality, inclusion and diversity is at the heart of all sport and physical activity so that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Is your club on board?
The Sports Charter is available to all partners across sport to adopt and utilise. Download and share it with your clubs and show your support on social media with @ActiveEL by joining in the conversation #ActiveEL4All.
Here are 10 steps to becoming a more diverse and inclusive club:
- Promote a culture of equality & inclusion in everything you do
- Diverse board/committees that are reflective of your local community
- Specific equality and inclusion policies and procedures in place
- Proactively reach out to underrepresented groups and individuals who find it difficult to access or benefit from your club
- Show zero tolerance towards bullying, harassment, inappropriate language & behaviour. Encourage the reporting of all cases of discrimination and hate incidents
- Support your workforce to access training, build knowledge, diversify and embrace change
- Ensure marketing materials reflect your club approach to inclusion
- Ensure communication is accessible, open and inclusive
- Take steps to understand your membership through collecting appropriate information
- Continually improve your club's inclusion practices
Find out more
Download the Charter and Guide here.