Skip to content

Bye Club Matters. Hello Buddle!

Following its launch late last year, our head of clubs introduces Buddle - the new-look programme replacing Club Matters - and all the work that went into bring it to life.

2nd January 2024

by Rosie Benson
Head of clubs, Sport England

Happy new year! As we start 2024, we're are excited to share the launch of Buddle, Sport England’s National Lottery funded new-look programme replacing Club Matters to provide volunteers and professionals working in community sport and physical activity, the support and resources they need.

In short, Buddle is the artist formerly known as Club Matters.

Following extensive consultation with stakeholders across the sector, the rebrand, which took place at the end last year, aims to broaden the reach of our support to a wider range of volunteers - a vital group to achieving the ambitions of our long-term strategy, Uniting The Movement

A group of women smile and exercise in a gym while holding small weights.

We know that not all volunteers see themselves as being part of a ‘sports club’ and the old name had been a barrier to engage by many of them.

So Buddle is for all volunteers delivering sport and physical activity, regardless of what their gang is called and how they do it!

The rebrand programme and the building of the new website was carried out over three phases, with a great deal of information coming out of each phase of the project - some gave us new insights and some backed up things that we already knew -  but it all helped us understand our stakeholders better.

Phase one: understanding our current performance

This first step helped us realise who used the Club Matters site and how they used it. Thanks to this research we learnt that:

  • a wide range of clubs and group volunteers used Club Matters, usually people in leadership roles with multiple areas of responsibility
  • in general, the quality and depth of resources was praised as well as the quality of our workshops
  • they use it as a resource hub – solving problems as they crop up rather than for ongoing learning.
  • Club Matters wasn’t easy for everyone to navigate and lack of search function was a big detractor
  • lack of awareness of the site and difficulty finding the resources or then being unengaging were the main negatives.

We know that not all volunteers see themselves as being part of a ‘sports club’, and the old name has been a barrier to engage by many of them.

Phase two: understanding users and non-users

One of the things that really stood out in this phase was that, regardless of the type of organisation, motivation, focus or activity delivered, most community organisations wanted help in the same areas – finances, volunteers and participants.

For both users and non-users of Club Matters, signposting to resources and support from a trusted organisation was key, so we realised how essential it was that the new site continued to be promoted in this way.

Phase three: branding and placement

Our conversations made us realise that not all community organisations see themselves as a ‘club’ or a 'sport deliverer', as for many, providing sport and physical activity is just part of what they do and that made the name “Club Matters” unsuitable for many.

This led us to learn we needed three things:

  • a better emotional connection with volunteers and community organisers rather than just jumping straight to tasks and solutions
  • focusing on the organiser (not the organisation) in order to have a broader appeal
  • to focus on the commonality that all volunteers and community organisations have – the joy of being active and being connected to others, and the joy of giving something back to their community.

So how is Buddle different?

Buddle as a brand name is a declaration of intentions: an amalgamation of "buddy” – the role Sport England seeks to play to the organisations we support – and "huddle” – in reference to embracing each other, coming together and the collaboration required to run a club or community group.

It’s short, memorable, bold and deliberately different, and it comes with an exciting new website that has a clean and fresh look that feels a lot more fun and is easier to navigate.

And whilst it has a lot of the same great content Club Matters had, we have added in a new sections like 'Your Stories'.

This is a space to celebrate the fantastic things that organisers/volunteers do - from little wins to big projects in order to shine a light on clubs and groups, regardless of the activity they deliver.

We now also have a dedicated section on inclusion, plus we’re stitching messages on inclusion, diversity and equity into all the resources.

Plus we have been creating more content on culture and values, linking them to other topics like decision-making, recruiting volunteers and generating income.

And we’ve also added in a section on environmental sustainability.

As well as it being a big issue for us, we know many community organisations want help with this topic.

We hope you like the new site, so please have a look around and let us know what you think.

And please join us in promoting this resource to volunteers and community organisers that you work with and support.

It's very important for us to keep the conversation going, so if you want to discuss any topics or issues for inclusion on the site, or if want to share stories of the amazing volunteers you work with, please, get in touch.

Find out more

Visit Buddle

Sign up to our newsletter

You can find out exactly how we'll look after your personal data, but rest assured we’ll only use it to make sure you receive our newsletter, to understand how you interact with our newsletter, and to provide administrative information about our newsletter.