DEERNESS GYMNASTICS ACADEMY

Report
‘Re-developing volunteering at
Deerness Gymnastics Academy:
Strategy and Action’
Background

Deerness Gymnastics Academy (DGA) is a volunteer-led club specialising in
acrobatic gymnastics and tumbling. The club took over a Durham County
Council leisure centre in October 2011, which was to close due to cuts.

The club has a database of more than 100 volunteers that it can draw upon
which is important as it has to run both the club and the facility.

This enabled the DGA medal-winning gymnasts to continue training in the
North East and for the club to provide an important community facility,
making gymnastics coaching available to all ages from novice to elite level.

A charitable organisation with limited funds, DGA implemented a PR
campaign to launch the new Academy, raise awareness of the new facilities
and make the club commercially viable, and recruit new volunteers to run the
club and the premises.

DGA has a website, Twitter and a Facebook page.

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/9285277.Deerne
ss_Leisure_Centre_bounces_back_from_closure_threat_as_g
ymnastics_academy/
Hugh Robertson – Minister for Sport visits the
centre in January 2012 to see how we have
managed to save the centre. A real life
example of ‘The Big Society’.
This initiative has been based upon the
principles of empowering communities,
redistributing power and fostering a culture of
volunteerism.
http://www.the-big-society.co.uk/
We take on the challenge!

We had to come up with a volunteer strategy
that would enable us to:
◦ Prove to Durham County Council (DCC) that we
could sustain the club long term.
◦ Prove to DCC that we could actually run the facility.
◦ Ensure the facility complied to all health and safety
legislation, etc.
◦ Enable the effective day to day running of the
centre.
◦ Ensure that all the work required on the building
could be completed at minimal cost.

Increase the number of volunteer coaches in the club
Objectives
Time Scale
Actions
Responsibility
Resources /
cost
Raise the level of
coaching in the club
On-going
Annually send two
coaches on their
next level coaching
course
Director of
Gymnastics
£1000 / annum
Support coaches
and volunteers in
the personal
development
On-going
Discuss with all
volunteers their
needs. Plan course
of action /
mentoring that will
help them develop
their role.
Mentor coaches
£1000 / annum
Recruit new
volunteers to
become coaches
On-going
Offer parents and
older gymnasts
(15+) the
opportunity to go
on the UKCC Level 1
course (minimum
one per year)
Club Volunteer coordinator
£500 / annum

Increase the number of volunteers and support them to develop and run the club /
facility
Objectives
Time
Scale
Actions
Responsibility
Appoint a Club
Volunteer Coordinator to sit on
the club’s
management team.
Oct’
2011
Appoint an individual to this
role with job description.
Director of
Gymnastics
Ensure all
committee
members are
comfortable with
their roles and are
offered training
where necessary.
Ongoing
Access to the British
Gymnastics club management
module, Running Sport and
Coachwise courses.
Club Volunteer Coordinator
Hold an annual CPD
day for volunteers
at the Academy
Annually
Appoint an
Induction mentor
for new volunteers
Oct’
2011
Give volunteers clear job
descriptions for each role
within the club.
Send out questionnaire to find
out what CPD they require.
Club Volunteer Coordinator
Include some key CPD for
volunteers e.g. H & S
Awareness
Appoint an individual to this
role with job description.
Club Volunteer Coordinator
Resources /
cost
As required (subject
to funds).

Increase the number of volunteers and support them to develop and run the club / facility.
Objectives
Time
Scale
Actions
Responsibility
Recognise and
promote the work
done by volunteers in
the club
Annually
Nominate volunteers to various annual
awards e.g. NEGA, County Durham Sport,
Sport England – NE Sport Awards, DGA
Annual Dinner, Northern Echo Local Hero
Awards, etc.
DGA Management
Team / Volunteer
Co-ordinator
Develop a club
database of
volunteers
Ongoing
Conduct an audit to assess current
volunteer recruitment status.
Club Volunteer
Co-ordinator
Improve
communication with
volunteers
Ongoing
Develop a database of helpers and event
volunteers (subject to Data Protection Act
1998).
Frequently up-date website.
Send out quarterly e-newsletter.
Other information via regular e-blasts /
news sent out to e-mail addresses,
Facebook, twitter.
Develop a welcome pack for new
volunteers.
Establish a dedicated notice board in the
reception area of the centre to promote
volunteering opportunities within the club.
Club Volunteer
Co-ordinator
Resources
/ cost

Increase the number of volunteers and support them to develop and run the club / facility.
Objectives
Increase the number
and diversity of new
volunteers in the
club.
Time
Scale
Ongoing
Actions
Responsibility
Resources
/ cost
Develop an effective PR campaign via local
press / radio / TV.
Club Press Officer
£250 /
month
Run British Gymnastics Helpers Award.
RDO
Work with CSP, volunteer Durham and local
schools / FE / HE institutions to promote
volunteering opportunities.
Club’s
Development
Officer
Club to pay
for all
volunteers
taking awards
Target a wider range of community groups
to volunteer.
Ensure those working
with children are
aware of child
protection policies
and issues.
Annually
Ensure new volunteers who will be working
with children have attended the ‘Child
Protection Awareness’ course.
Club’s
Development
Officer
Club to pay
* Names have been changed
What did we get for 2012?
50% course fees for four
Volunteer coaches (£1000)
Developed a mentorship
Programme for volunteer
Coaches at grass roots and
Elite level – funding
Support £1000 used to put
on two Mentorship
workshops and Invest in
a club mentor.

Volunteers

We use every opportunity to tell our story,
through…
◦ Editorial media - press, TV, radio, internet
◦ Exhibitions, sponsorship, competitions, direct mail
◦ Audio/visual, press trips, publications, conferences,
public speaking
◦ Digital and social media









Club Saved by volunteers!
The Next Generation
Elite Gymnasts
Medal Winners
Raising Funds
Lets Get Gold
Acropolis Launch
Awards
Charity Patron
In October 2011 Deerness Gymnastics Academy was saved from closure with
the support of volunteers who now help to run the leisure centre.
Volunteers
The future of the club depends on recruiting new members and volunteers. An
emphasis has been placed on gaining coverage for all levels of gymnastics not
just elite and promoting our volunteers in all articles.
As a charitable body raising funds and run by volunteers is vital and assisted
by publicity.

The PR Campaign has met or exceeded all of its objectives.
◦ The campaign has generated over 80 articles in print and 6
broadcast features in 14 months.
◦ DGA has been featured in the sports, news and lifestyle sections of
the regional media as well as TV and radio and some national
publications.
◦ New leads have generated income for the club.
◦ The number of volunteers has increased.
◦ Membership at the club has increased.

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