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Creating an Inclusive Club

Inclusion can be described as ‘the extent to which someone feels welcomed and valued’.

Inclusion creates a sense of belonging and ensures that everyone feels comfortable and confident to be themselves, and to take part in a way that suits them.

An Inclusive club is one where everyone feels:

  • Welcome
  • Represented
  • Included in decision making
  • Able to participate
  • Safe and free from discrimination, bullying, harassment and vilification

There are a number of small steps you can take to create an inclusive club. By listening to different groups of people, representing their views and ensuring everyone has a great experience, you can make a big difference.

Benefits

  • Improve the experience for everyone at your club      
  • Enable you to attract more members, more volunteers and more membership income
  • Create greater community involvement
  • Produce innovative ideas    
  • Attract and support talented athletes and volunteers to reach their full potential
  • Ensure you comply with the legal requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and the characteristics protected by it (age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity)    

Key ideas

  • Know your audience. Collect and monitor data to understand who is represented in your club.

  • Listen to experiences. Regularly gather feedback from your members - ensure everyone is listened to and you're not just hearing from the same people.

  • Take positive action. Consider any positive action you can take to remove barriers to disadvantaged groups and provide better opportunities for them.

  • Consider what a welcoming environment looks like and the habits that create it. Look at ways to provide a positive experience for everyone, particularly through any induction or welcoming processes.

  • Review your marketing materials (ie website, socials, printed materials). Are they accessible? Do they reflect a diverse range of people with a variety of motivations and attitudes?

  • Connect with your community. Find out what community groups there are in your area and create partnerships with them. Consider going to them to do a taster session or have a go event.

  • Adopt an inclusion policy. This makes a clear commitment to inclusion. Take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination supported by clear codes of conduct.

Questions

Yes No
Do you know your audience?
Great. Have you thought about under-represented groups? Is there any positive action you could take to address this?
Consider collecting data using membership forms or surveys. This will help you to better understand who is represented in your club when it comes to age, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, event groups etc.
Does the membership of your club reflect the diversity of your local community?
Great. It’s worth checking if this is the case across different roles within the club (for example coaches, club leaders etc).
Have you considered why this might be? Speak to different groups to understand their experiences within your club, as well as the perceptions of others outside your club. Have they faced any specific barriers?
Have your club volunteers had training to improve their knowledge and confidence around inclusion?
Great. Check out the related resources and collections to keep learning!
All club volunteers should understand the importance of inclusion and how to make sure everyone is made to feel welcome.
Does your club have an inclusion policy?
Great. Everyone should be aware of the policy and it should be reinforced through actions and behaviors.
All affiliated clubs should have an inclusion policy as part of club standards. Use the template in the inclusion policy resource to create one.
Does your club have any links with local community groups?
Great. Those groups will be great at providing expert advice on how to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for that community
Think about who is not represented in your club and which community groups may be able to support you.
Does your club have ways to actively make people feel welcome?
Great. When people feel welcomed, they stay!
Consider things like meet and greets, taster sessions or induction processes for new members and volunteers. This could include a buddy system or mentors.

Bitesize videos

Play Video

Clubmatters Include me

03:16
Play Video

Engaging and supporting disabled athletes and runners

04:27

Related resources

Type Resource Last Updated
Club Template - Inclusion Policy
Activity Alliance - Communication Guide
Club Factsheet - Disability Terminology
Webinar: Bungay Black Dog Running Club
Club Factsheet - How to deliver a taster session for blind or partially sighted people

Related training

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