Australia is on a mission to improve the nation’s participation in grassroots sports and recreational activities.
Grassroots sports funding in Oz is provided by the central government- in the form of Sport Australia. However, the actual structure of schemes and delivery of the vast majority of grants is made by individual state bodies.
If the idea of searching and applying for funding puts your head into a spin, take a look at our state by state guide for grassroots sports funding.
The requirements for each state body differ slightly but, in general, those who can apply are not-for-profit grassroots sports clubs, licenced sports clubs, sports clubs linked to schools or churches, and approved Active Kids providers that are not-for-profit.
The Victorian government wants to make sports more accessible to the community, particularly to women and people restricted by mobility.
VicHealth is a government-affiliated organisation hoping to get inactive Victorians taking part in community sport.
Victoria State’s sports funding focus shifts across the seasons and year. In the past, they have run programs for community sports infrastructure, sports clubs, country football and netball, emergency sporting and recreational equipment and shooting sports facilities. Many of the more recent programs aim to “Change our Game”, by providing opportunities for women and girls to progress at sports.
VicHealth has two primary focuses. The first aims to increase the number of women and girls in sports. The second assists clubs in providing new social or modified sports programs that target less active Victorians.
What is on offer?
Event assistance grants are given up to the value of $20,000. Activity programs are awarded a maximum of $100,000 and rewards of up to $250,000 are available for infrastructure projects. Community Sports organisations can also apply for low-interest rate loans for between $500,000 and $10 million.
Vic Health offers financial aid of up to $3,000- open to any Victorian club- or $10,000 for those that have over 200 members.
How to apply
Only local councils can submit applications directly to Sport and Recreation Victoria. Clubs and community organisations should discuss their project proposal with their local council who will provide further guidance.
NSW aims to increase regular and ongoing participation opportunities in sport and recreation. The body hopes to address barriers to participation and assist sports clubs in providing a quality service to their members.
The scheme supports sports development, community sports events, sports access and facility development.
What is on offer?
The minimum amount available for all project types is $250. For sports development, the maximum amount awarded is $2,000. Sports access schemes and community sports events can receive up to $5,000. For organisations looking to develop their facilities, they may receive up to $20,000.
WA has a comprehensive grassroots funding model. It supports facilities, individuals and clubs that hope to engage Western Australians.
Their target participation program funding scheme provides funds for organisations to promote participation and active engagement. The focus of this scheme changes each year, to target low participation groups.
What is on offer?
For facility upgrades, grants can be anything between $2,500 to $2,000,000. The amount awarded will not exceed one-third of the total estimated cost of the project.
Funding is also available for regional local governments and not-for-profit sport, recreation or community organisations.
How to apply
For more information, and to apply for funding, visit the official website.
To apply for Every Club funding, email: email@example.com
SA improves facilities, especially those that enable female participation. The body hopes to improve grow sports and activities in the region, improve services and address barriers to inclusion.
What is on offer?
The Active Club Program has two funding rounds each year, providing grants of up to $25,000 for facility upgrades. Program and equipment awards of up to $5,000 are also on offer.
Other community-focused programs run at intervals throughout the year.
How to apply
All SA sports and recreations grants are managed through Smarty Grants.
For more info, and to see the government’s other funding programs, visit the official website.
The Queensland government supports sports clubs and activity providers in providing quality sessions for as many members of the community as possible.
What is on offer?
The Footy Facilities Fund provides grants to improve the quality, access and condition of community <b>rugby league facilities</b> across Queensland. The scheme provides up to 50% of the project cost, while the applicant is responsible for the other half.
Get Going Clubs funds local and regional sport and active recreation organisations to improve the delivery of Queensland activities.
Get Playing Plus is designed specifically to support grassroots level sport and recreational activities. Funding of between $200,000 to $1,500,000 is available for new projects or major upgrades to existing places or spaces for sport and recreation.
The Tasmanian government provides funding to increase opportunities for Tasmanian citizens to participate in sports and recreational activities. This is part of their ongoing development of the state’s sporting sector.
What is on offer?
The Minor Grants Program offers funds of $500 to $10,000, for clubs, not-for-profits and local governments to provide sport and activities. Financial assistance covers equipment purchases and the development of facilities and playing surfaces.
The Major Grants Program is a bigger version of the minor program- supporting the same needs but on a larger scale. Grants of between $15,000 and $80,000 are supplied in the category.
Levelling the Playing Field Grant Program is aimed at female participation. The Tasmanian Government is investing $10 million over two years to upgrade sports facilities for women and girls. Grants of between $15,000 and $1 million will match dollar-for-dollar what is supplied by the facility owners.
How to apply
Each scheme opens for applications once per annum. The closing dates are staggered throughout the year. Applications are made via the official website.
Most sports coaches enter the profession because they have a passion for the game they play. It is the smell of the grass, the feel of a ball, a glove, a racquet in their hands and the joy of passing on their enthusiasm to fresh faces. Despite this idealistic vision, many find themselves stuck inside beneath a mountain of forms, blurry-eyed from excel spreadsheets, ears ringing from relentless calls. Admin comes with the territory, but not to the extent that the majority of coaches find themselves. You can make just one simple change that eliminates up to 95% of your admin, improves the service you provide, and gets you back onto the pitch.
Switch to an online booking system
Face-to-face and telephone bookings are drawn out, expensive and much less efficient than online reservations. Someone needs to be “on call” or in the office to process bookings. Bookings not only need to be online, but they need to suit both desktop and mobile. At OpenPlay, we provide bespoke booking systems that not only increase your sales and revenue but also a detailed back-end management system featuring a host of time-saving features.
Keep track of payments
The OpenPlay system flags any unpaid invoices, so you can quickly send payment reminders. Customer fees will be processed through payment gateways such as Stripe. We integrate with world-renowned services, which are safe and secure. With less cash on site, the risk of accidental or intentional loss of funds is virtually eradicated. Online payments also sync immediately with your OpenPlay venue management system, so you no longer have to log transactions manually.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
OpenPlay’s CRM system keeps track of your interactions with clients. Each time you converse with a client, you can be confident that your information on them is up-to-date, relevant and tailored specifically to the individual. CRM adds a personal touch that clients love. It makes such a difference when you can recall your last phone call with them and immediately reference their previous queries. It lets customers know that you value them.
The OpenPlay Pocket mobile app
Even with all the technology in the world, you cannot escape admin entirely. With the OpenPlay Pocket mobile app, you can at least take this small bit of work out onto the pitch. Take payments directly through your OpenPlay Pocket mobile app. Manage your coaches and employees via the app and only grant them access to their classes. Each coach receives their own registers, so they can tick off attendees and instantly see any essential health conditions. An important safety feature OpenPlay has devised and implemented is the unique pickup code for children. When parents cannot collect their child, they digitally sign the coach’s app, granting access to another adult.
Burgess Park is on a mission to become a highly connected, community inner city park. It is already a vibrant space, but busy roads cut through its disjointed facilities. The sports centre is in high demand; many of the facilities are bursting at the seams, running at 92% capacity during peak times. Phases One and Two have been completed and much welcomed by the community. Phase Three sees the revamp of the park’s west side and sports centre. Once complete, this section will match the prestige and functionality of the rest of the park.
Burgess Park aims to “future proof” the sports hub, helping it to meet the demands of its expanding sports clubs. The refurbishments will deliver greater flexibility and capacity for these activities. Two new all-weather 3G pitches will be suitable for club level football and rugby, as well as catering to lacrosse and other sports. The Plaza space generates opportunity for social engagement and healthy interaction.
Fujitsu is sponsoring this Burgess Park revolution. The IT company are ensuring that the city park uses the latest technology and are pushing the current facilities to “work harder” and work smarter. All seven clubs within the park will offer online bookings and memberships powered by OpenPlay. With many of the coaches and organisers working voluntarily, it is essential that they do not waste time punching numbers and filing paper. Online bookings free up their time to engage participants and actively contribute to the ethos of the park.
HighRise is a new feature that we, at OpenPlay, have developed specially for Burgess Park. The first of its kind, this model could be rolled out to all chain facilities and government councils. HighRise tracks anonymous data, helping venues to understand the demographics of their clientele. HighRise’s data analysis is a valuable tool for marketing to potential customers, but also to see what proportion of the population is absent from the park and what should be done to entice them in. OpenPlay HighRise offers daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly reports for each specific club. As this is a united and inclusive park, there is potential for the park’s managing directors to view the anonymous data of all of the clubs separately or combined. They can compare and contrast: see what works and what wastes resources. This knowledge will improve their services and increase participation.
This project creates a vibrant community for park users and a comprehensive data hub for park directors. It is an exciting venture that could pave the way for a more inclusive, business savvy approach to sports participation.
“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life”- John Wooden, basketball player.
It is easy to become complacent in our jobs. What was and is a rewarding profession can dull to the grey of everyday mundanity. For participants of sport, their interest is only partly determined by the nature of the activity itself. An inspirational coach is the difference between someone loving a sport and running for the hills (unless the sport is hill running). The coach is in prime position to provide a welcoming, encouraging, and engaging environment for participants.
The power of inspirational coaches extends further than the court or pitch itself. They can be enormously impactful in the life of a child or adult.
Confidence: For kids who might not be academic, the pitch, the court, the pool is their place to shine. Whilst constructive criticism is a necessary part of teaching, it is important that children feel that their coach believes in their ability.
Social skills: Joining sports activities is a great way for people to make positive friendships, to learn teamwork, to encourage their peers, and to share responsibility. Inspirational coaches will encourage children to support each other and lead by example with engaging, positive language.
Controlled competitiveness: Cheating is a result of poor leadership. A coach should encourage a competitive spirit, without pushing a child to dirty tactics. One of the harshest but most valuable lessons sport teaches us, is not to be afraid of losing. It is difficult to congratulate your opponent when you have just lost a match. On the flip side, it is easy to forget to say “hard luck” to someone you have just beaten. It is a coach’s job to ensure that players are humble winners and gracious losers.
Sport as a sanctuary
Bullying at school: Particularly for individuals who feel socially excluded, having a positive mentor who encourages teamwork and positivity can be a life-changing experience. For children who are bullied at school, sports coaching can be their sanctuary. A coach could be the first person to notice if a child’s mood changes or if they have become introverted and insecure.
Pushy Parents: Manage pushy parents with caution. Inspirational coaches are concerned with a child’s needs over the aspirations of a parent. Winning is the job of coaches and players. Parents must prioritise the development of their child’s character. Sensor how you speak to parents; speak to them the same way you would if their child was listening. Yes, flag up any behavioural issues, but if parents seek out feedback, it should be positive and encouraging.
Enjoyment of exercise: Some people spend their whole lives battling with the prospect of going to the gym, walking to work, or doing any form of exercise. To get people interested in sports from a young age is a gift that will last their entire lifetime. It is every coach’s responsibility to ensure that every child’s first experience of sport is positive, so they continue to make exercise and health a priority throughout their lives.
According to a study from the Bank of England released yesterday, the productivity level in Britain is at its lowest point since the 18th century. U.K. productivity has fallen by 0.2% per year on average since the 2007 financial crash.
The BOE suggests that this decline could be due, in part, to ‘diminished rates of innovation’. It argues that many non-frontier companies (often family-owned) are ‘failing to keep pace with innovation,’ and that ‘UK corporate governance practices may act as a brake on innovative companies.’
The news of the UK’s stagnating productivity coincides with the CIPD’s study reporting increasing levels of “presenteeism”. This new fad sees ill employees battling coughs, colds and stomach bugs to show up to work.
Attendance is at an all-time high whilst productivity plummets. People are working harder and spending more time at their desks; so how are we getting less done?
We need to change the agenda and shift our perception of what a hard-working employee is. Lawyers working 16 hour days and eating takeaway at their desks are going to burn out. Junior doctors (dare we mention the war) on 100-hour weeks are more likely to make mistakes, often with dire consequences. Sick employees who turn up to work spread illnesses to colleagues and bring down the morale of the office. Work-related stress has caused a 9% rise in poor mental health since 2016.
We believe the answer lies in employee health, both mental and physical. Exercise is widely known to promote weight loss, reduce the risk of disease, boost wellbeing and mood, and release endorphins that decrease stress. Despite this common knowledge, only 22% of companies provide any sort corporate fitness scheme, be it a subsidised gym membership or an in-built fitness centre.
Companies should not only subsidise sport and exercise programmes but actively encourage employees to attend. Google has led the way with their focus on employee satisfaction and well-being. They believe that a varied work environment, with significant staff benefits, attracts and keeps the top talent. They provide on-site gyms and group exercise classes; all their workers have to do is throw on some trainers and head downstairs.
It doesn’t take much to change your company’s attitude to health and fitness. Managers need to be understanding and encouraging of people’s exercise programmes. Many employees report apprehension about exercising at lunch because people might notice they are late back to their desks. Workers are afraid to clock off at six for an exercise class in case they are viewed as lazy and uncommitted.
During an eight or nine hour working day, what difference do 15 minutes extra for lunch make? These additional 15 minutes is all it takes to make a 45-minute workout possible during the day. Consider granting a 9.30am start for those that clock into the company gym by 8.30am. Or for those that like to exercise after work, encourage them to arrive early, so they can fit their work-out in at the end of the day.
Nuffield Health is one of the largest providers of corporate fitness in the UK. They build onsite gyms as well as offering fitness packages. Even if you can’t provide an on-site gym, there are plenty of steps (physical and metaphorical) you can take. Outsource a pilates or yoga teacher who can set up classes in one of your boardrooms. Equipment for these classes is minimal, so easily stored. If you have a little room somewhere, be it in a corridor or spare room, consider installing an elliptical trainer or exercise bike.
Corporate fitness packages are a win-win for employees and employers; for health and productivity. Let these recent studies highlighting Britain’s stagnation and ill-health at work be a warning to all employers. It is time to prioritise the well-being of your workforce and to embrace a work-life balance.
Safety procedures may not be the most glamorous part of your job, but they are the most important, and can even help you stand out from the rest. Once you have a thorough and well-executed safeguarding system, be sure to shout about it. Parents will be extremely grateful to know that their child is not only having a great time but is safe.
With your OpenPlay account, you will have access to bespoke online registers that were created when your attendees signed up. From there, your coaches can tick off attendees and immediately be aware of any flagged health conditions.
When working with children or vulnerable adults, you are required, by law, to undergo a DBS check. As an employer, you must apply for checks on behalf of your staff, if they don’t already have one. Coaches for children will need to have the ‘enhanced check’, which costs £44 and takes four weeks to be processed. Be aware, when hiring people who have lived abroad, the DBS cannot access criminal records held overseas. If your organisation requires fewer than 100 checks per year, you should complete these through an “umbrella body” which is registered for DBS checks.
Safety with OpenPlay
OpenPlay has teamed up with Onfido: an identity verification engine. Together, we vet anyone that tries to book a venue where children may be present (such as a school or youth centre). It’s quick and, most importantly, it’s secure, so you can be confident that no child’s safety is compromised.
Many insurance companies and sports organisations (eg. the LTA) require coaches to be first aid trained before receiving their accreditation. Even if it is not essential, it is highly recommended. Again, it looks good on your website and parents will feel more confident.
Many organisations do not have a procedure in place for child collection as it is not required by law (except in nursery school settings). Yet, if there is no system, how is every coach to be sure that the adult collecting a child is safe? OpenPlay have come up with a simple and effective way to make sure no child falls into the wrong hands. Parents can authorise a new collector by digitally signing via their OpenPlay app. This way, the child is only released to an adult who is authorised, and parents know there is no chance of their child being handed to a stranger.
When determining your staff to child ratio, you need to consider a number of variables…
The nature of the activity
Age, competence, and experience of the staff
The age of the participants
Any special medical needs
Specialised equipment needed
The type of location
The NSPCC recommends at least two adults be present when working with children.
0 – 2 years: 1 adult to 3 children
2 – 3 years: 1 adult to 4 children
4 – 8 years: 1 adult to 6 children
9 – 12 years: 1 adult to 8 children
13 – 18 years: 1 adult to 10 children
Duty of Care
Your duty of care extends further than your own actions. If you notice strange marks or bruising on a child, or a drastic change in their behaviour (a normally outgoing child becomes introverted and vacant), there is a reason to be suspicious. A way of dealing with this is simply to take the child to one side and ask them where they got the marks or why they are sad. You should, of course, not make suggestions to the child, but based on their response use your personal judgement to determine if your doubts have been quashed or if you should proceed further.
The legislation you should be aware of…
Children’s Act 1989: Nature of a child’s welfare. Expectations and requirements around duties of care to children.
Children’s Act 2004- banned physical punishment (anything that wounds)
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006: Introduction of barred list
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012: Introduction of DBS checks
Education Act 2002- requires you to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.