"Work closely with your local authority leisure services/ leisure trust - they have a level of expertise which is invaluable" - Elizabeth Whitehurst, Strategic Business Manager at Eaton Bank Academy.
County Sports Partnerships
There are 45 county sport partnerships (CSPs) covering England. They are networks of local agencies promoting sport and physical activity who deliver Sport England programmes such as ‘Sportivate’.
They can help you in a number of ways including:
- using Sport England planning tools and their own local surveys to help you understand the likely demand for your facilities and activities
- brokering links with accredited community clubs, national governing bodies of sports, health networks and agencies
- linking you up with a local qualified workforce of coaches, volunteers and instructors
- advising you on funding programmes and how to apply
Find your local County Sports Partnership here.
Your Local Authority
Your local authority has a range of departments and officers that can provide specialist advice including the Sports Development Team, Leisure/Community/ Health and Wellbeing Teams and Children’s Services Asset Management. If you are undertaking a facility development then it will be important to consult your local planning authority early in your project planning phase.
Your local authority can help you in a number of ways including:
- providing local plans and strategies for sport provision in your area, to help you to understand how your school can fit into the local infrastructure
- advising on how to open up in a way which is complimentary to existing provision
- guiding you on fulfilling planning consents, formalising agreements with clubs or third party providers etc.
Sports Clubs (voluntary and professional) and Community Groups
There may already be a local club in your area that is looking for a new ‘home’. They can advise on the sort of facilities and services they are looking for and in return any support and help they can offer a school – for example, help delivering the curriculum, training teachers etc.
Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE)
Other schools that have or are in the process of delivering community use at their schools will often be willing to share with you advice on operational models, pricing policies and management. Knowing this can save you time and effort when implementing processes back at your school and help you to avoid any pitfalls.
Some of the ways in which schools might help:
- Schools who have looked into or partnered up with a third party provider or not-for-profit trust will be able share their learning and advice.
- PFI schools can share expertise of working within their contractual terms
- Sharing best practice through a network, for example Liverpool City Council have established a Business Managers forum for community use.
- Working collectively with other schools to explore procuring services jointly to save money, such as marketing or booking software for your community programme.
Public and Private Operators, Facility Management Companies and Community Use Operators
Working with your local Further Education College or University can be an easy way to offer a more diverse community programme. They can offer training and development opportunities for students including vocational sports/leadership qualifications. In addition their business departments can often offer advice/training on business planning. Some FE colleges and universities look for additional facilities for their own students and are willing to establish long term arrangements for the hiring of facilities.
There may be companies/trusts already operating in your area, that can provide management advice and opportunities for partnering with you if you are considering a third party management model.
NHS and Public Health England
There are specialist consultants who have the expertise to advise on business planning, operational models, funding opportunities etc. Sport England will be able to provide you with a consultant list that we have worked with or know of, but this will not be exhaustive.