CSH officer day.jpg

You got a friend in me

Hub officers come together to support new starts

Starting a new job can be a daunting experience and it’s common to feel anxious - a new environment, new people and potentially a new way of working. Starting as a community sport hub officer (CSHO) is no different.

The role of a community sport hub officer is a rewarding role, yet it can be challenging at times. To ensure no new hubs officers feel isolated in their new challenge, sportscotland have launched the CSH buddy scheme.

What is a community sport hub? 

The hub programme brings together sport clubs and community organisations to develop and grow sport locally, it is central to sportscotland’s commitment to ensuring everyone benefits from sport.

With over 200 hubs across Scotland, the National Lottery funded programme includes over 60 hub officers across the country, whose roles are to focus on the needs of the communities they work with through a collaborative approach. They work to bring club and community organisations together to develop sport and physical activity in the area.

Buddy scheme

The new buddy scheme has been set up to welcome new hub officers into the network and build relationships with their more experienced peers who can share learning and best practice while allowing the new officer to gain an understanding of the role.

New starts are put in contact with two or three more experienced hub officers who can support them, some of whom have been in post since the hub programme’s inception in 2011. Sessions are organised at regular intervals to check in and see how they are getting on and what they may need support with.

The scheme has helped new officers to settle into their role more quickly and reduce the chance of them feeling isolated or unsupported.

Three new hub officers are currently going through the scheme and have been having regular informal conversations with some of their peers who have provided information and guidance in a friendly, supportive, and non-judgemental manner when needed.

What they said

James Steel, Lead Manager at sportscotland said: “Recruiting, supporting, and developing great community sport hub officers is our priority. We have a fantastic network of over 60 CSHOs across Scotland – many of whom have a wealth of experience.

“There is huge value in them sharing their experience and the buddy scheme allows them to do this and helps make life a bit easier for those new to the role.

"It’s great to see a network of likeminded people that want to look out for each other!”

Ross Taylor, Community Sport Hub Officer for ActiveFife began his hub journey in July 2020 and was part of an initial pilot for the buddy scheme.

He said: "The CSH buddy system was a brilliant way to connect with other hub officers. I was able to ask questions, learn and build relationships with peers, which helped me to grow in confidence.

“Being in the buddy system definitely helped me settle into the network, and I am now in regular contact with officers across Scotland.”

Tim Hart, development manager for Auchterarder Community Sports and Recreation (ACSR) has also been part of the buddy scheme after starting his role in January 2021.

Tim said: “The CSH buddy scheme has provided me with a great opportunity to meet other colleagues from around Scotland. We are all able to benefit from being able to exchange ideas, share knowledge and discuss our hopes for our CSHs and the development of communities as restrictions continue to lift and more activity continues to resume. 

“On a personal level, these networking calls have really helped me to settle into my new role, in a new area during such an uncertain time – and I’m sure the ability to share key learning points and successes will prove very valuable over the coming months and years.”

Jayne Smith, lifelong learning development officer (Sport and Physical Activity) for City of Edinburgh Council has been in the CSH network for over 3 years now and has been supporting the buddy scheme.

Jayne said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the new sportscotland buddy scheme.  While you are teamed up as one of the ‘buddys’ – the chats definitely work both ways and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know fellow officers, sharing experiences and learning from them. 

“It’s been amazing how you can get to know people and to build friendships through virtual means.

"I’m really looking forward to eventually meeting all of the buddies involved in the scheme in person, when we can.”

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