A welcoming club is open to everyone from the local community, regardless of their gender, age, ability, disability, or cultural background.
By becoming a welcoming club, you will develop a club culture that has a lasting positive impact on the community.
On this page
Understanding why people take part in sport and recreation is a huge factor in retaining their membership. There has been a lot of research as to why different age groups and genders participate in sport and recreation. If you want to increase participation through your club, here are a couple places to start:
A welcoming and friendly environment is important for helping a new member settle in and connect with your club. Consider the following for new members:
- a volunteer dedicated to welcoming new members
- showing them around and getting familiar with the club’s location
- providing new members with a welcome pack that includes:
- training times and location for their team
- uniforms and equipment information
- their coach's information
- Codes of Conduct
- current committee members and contacts
- what communication channels your club uses
- upcoming events
- how to volunteer.
Parents are a key factor in children staying as active members of a club. It is important to engage both the children and the parents as part of your club. Offer parents ways to take part in the club and to socialise and engage with other parents of the club.
Parents of your club are the best role models for your junior members. Their behaviour on and off the field and around the club facilities is behaviour that leads by example. It is important your club has a clear sideline behaviour (code of conduct) policy and deals appropriately with members and non-members who breach these conducts.
Diversity and inclusion
Clubs that provide inclusive programs are experiencing the most growth in participation. The following groups have low participation in community sport:
- all abilities
Being a welcoming and inclusive club to all backgrounds, abilities, and cultures will help your community become more engaged, safer, and you will see growth in memberships.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion means that all people, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or cultural backgrounds, are respected and appreciated as valuable community members.
Benefits for your club:
- increased membership
- access to more funding opportunities
- stronger teams
- improved productivity.
Benefits to the individuals:
- improvement to physical and mental health
- improvement to self-confidence and skills
- reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
- sense of belonging.
Benefits to the community:
- sense of belonging and ownership of the local area
- reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour
- increase in the wellbeing of community
- increase in volunteer participation.
Steps to being inclusive
Becoming an inclusive club doesn’t require specialised equipment or training. It is a shift in your club’s culture and attitude towards everybody in your community. The colour of one’s skin, their ability, or their gender does not change their eagerness to play sport.
Being an inclusive club includes:
- welcoming new members regardless of background
- including all members in social events and fundraising
- allowing all members the opportunity to volunteer
- allowing all members to participate in programs provided/run by your club
- using inclusive language
- getting to know your members and celebrate your diversity
- treating all members equally.
Integration through inclusion includes:
- all players wear the same uniform
- all players can develop their skills and learn
- pathways for players to transition to other teams
- specialised programs run at the same time/nights as other training programs.
Physical access to the facilities owned by Local Government can sometimes be out of your control. However, when your facility upgrades or requests are based on increasing participation through inclusion, you are more likely to attract funding and support. These projects can include:
- accessible parking with ramps to footpaths
- accessible ramps to facilities and playing reserve
- accessible change rooms
- gender neutral change rooms.
Gender diversity in leadership roles
Gender diversity in your committee and volunteer positions is important for ensuring everybody within your community can participate in your club. The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) is encouraging clubs to have balanced gender diversity on boards and in staff. The goal should be to have 40% gender diversity across your board and committees.
By increasing the gender diversity of Board members and leaders, clubs can:
- enhance overall organisational and financial performance
- increase employee motivation and enhance the work environment
- improve decision making
- enable greater innovation, creativity, and ability to adapt to change
- improve the effectiveness of boards
- enhance governance.
A club that would like to increase female participation and engage women in the community to play at their club, needs to first look at their club leaders. By increasing diversity, you will become an inclusive club that females will want to join.
To learn more about the important of gender diversity in sports clubs, read the DLGSC’s Gender Diversity Case for Change.