‘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.