"Champions keep playing until they get it right."
Billie Jean King
A Local Sports Council is a voluntary body representing sports clubs from a particular geographical region. Local Sports Councils are vital because collectively sports clubs represent a significant number of the local community making them far more effective in delivering local events and opportunities and getting the ear of the local authority, leisure trust and elected members.
Local Sports Councils play a very important role in local communities providing an independent voice for local sports clubs, regardless of size or sport. This is especially important for small clubs or minority sports but can be equally beneficial to large and even professional clubs – collectively, as the Local Sports Council, clubs represent a significant number of the local community. This makes Local Sports Councils well positioned in the community for raising important local sporting issues with their local authority and locally elected members. It is for this reason that Local Sports Councils are required - to respond to local needs, with the its national body providing support to ensure it is well equipped to meet those needs.
While this element of work is a crucial aspect of what Local Sports Councils do, this work is nonetheless reactive. It is equally important that Local Sports Councils are seen to be proactive – supporting its member clubs, being visible in the local community and playing their part in encouraging people to get physically active. This can include distributing funds to clubs, holding events, facilitating workshops, acting as the quality checking agency for local sports clubs and developing links with Active Schools to create pathways from schools to clubs. However, Local Sports Councils are limited by their human and financial resources. It is for this reason that SALSC promotes partnership working between Local Sports Councils and local authorities to ensure its members are adequately supported to best serve the local sporting community.
Ultimately, there is no hard and fast definition of what a Local Sports Council should and should not do because each community has its own needs but it is the job of Local Sports Councils to react and meet those needs if they are to be effective and add value to their local sporting community.
The National Guide is the first document to pull together our members’ information into one easy to read, accessible format which informs, influences and educates those already involved in but also those who are not already aware of SALSC and Local Sports Councils.
SALSC has a strong membership of 37 Local Sports Councils, our members spread from the Western Isles to the Scottish Borders and has a combined club representation of approximately 2,800. Our aim is to increase awareness and support our members to continue to be strong sporting influences in their local communities.
SALSC aims to increase the number of clubs affiliating to Local Sports Councils over the next few years to ensure they continue to operate effectively within their communities, supporting clubs as best they can, whilst on a national level SALSC can bring together the voices of our members to the relevant national platforms to support with influencing and developing grass roots sport.
An important step for SALSC going forward is to increase links and engage with Scottish Governing Bodies, Community Sports Hubs and other relevant agencies of sport working with clubs and in communities over the coming years. The National Guide will provide a basis for discussions, highlighting where Sports Councils are and their benefits.
The key element to Local Sports Councils is that they can offer additional support and benefits to clubs; for example many give out grants, run events or competitions, hold Annual Sports Awards presentations, arrange workshops, offer facility discounts, have direct access to Sports Development Officers, actively engage with their Leisure Trust and/or Councillors, offer governance support plus many other benefits. The National Guide pulls all of this information together into one reference document.
On behalf of the SALSC Board I sincerely hope you appreciate the significant planning which has gone into this National Guide and find it of relevance to you and your organisation. Your support is appreciated and crucial to the impact of this working document, please do use the Guide and circulate it as you see fit.
A dowloadable pdf of the National Guide to Local Sports Councils is available here - SALSC National Guide 2016