I often hear people saying that sport and sports clubs are very insular. I like to think their only fault has been that they are pretty much self-sufficient. Either way, the time has come for many to look outwards to ensure they not only survive but thrive.
So, imagine we have a club or hub with aspirations to move forward. Who and where should they turn to for help? Although there is lots of help from the national agency and sports governing bodies, I’d like to share my thoughts with you re organisations with the snazzy title – Third Sector Interfaces (TSI’s).
First of all – what are they?
The TSI’s exist to support all types of organisations that come under the umbrella of “third sector” as well as individuals who wish to volunteer.
I am fairly confident that most sports clubs and hubs wouldn’t think of themselves as being part of the third sector, probably don’t describe themselves as voluntary organisations or social enterprises and may not even identify themselves as community groups.
Nonetheless the support exists within the TSI’s to help support clubs and hubs in a number of ways – in fact there are too many to list – however, as an example, they can help with board training, governance, structure, business advice, funding and finance.
In essence, they can help with many of the things that are needed as clubs grow and develop - and where they can’t help, they’ll signpost to specialist resources - many of which are free or subsidised.
And one last thing – volunteers!
Lots of people in sport give up many hours of their free time to a local sports club and, I suspect, don’t think of themselves as “volunteers” per se. I coached basketball for 12 years and never thought of it as “voluntary work” – I was just a coach.
However as times change, we hear from many clubs that they need an extra pair of hands or two. The TSI has a remit to support individuals who want to volunteer and help organisations who need volunteers. As well as matching, they could help clubs develop ways to attract, keep and value both existing and new volunteers.
There is a TSI in each of the 32 local authorities – please help spread the word.