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Alliance of Sport launches ‘real-life’ community sport leadership workshops

The Alliance of Sport has launched leadership training for community sport organisations – using a learning process that focuses on ‘real life’ daily issues faced in the sector. 

Developed jointly by the Alliance of Sport, the Youth Charter and the Cranfield Trust, the ‘Leadership Development through Action Learning’ programme brings leaders together from across the network of specialist partners on the Levelling the Playing Field programme. 

These workshops ultimately seek to give leaders and senior managers from across the LtPF network an opportunity to reflect on their own organisational development and strengthen their path to sustainability by using a framework for sharing and addressing real work issues. 

Before launching the workshops, the Alliance of Sport gathered insight from across the network through workshops and consultation. Key messages were that due to time pressure, extreme workload, the geographic spread of the LtPF project and lack of peer support network, there was little opportunity for reflective practice amongst its leaders. But there was a strong desire to learn from each other’s positive experiences and challenges around delivering in ethnically diverse communities and with those facing complex challenges. 

In response, Action Learning leadership workshops were born, providing a collaborative learning process that focuses on ‘real-life’ issues and needs, where senior leaders can learn from the expertise of their peers in developing the future of their organisations. 

We believe this will strengthen the Community of Practice, enable effective sharing of good practice and offer time to learn from others who face similar challenges in their work. 

On September 28 the first workshop was held (see above) at Verdon Recreation Centre in the heart of Burngreave, one of the most diverse communities in Sheffield, which plays host to a host of cultural, sport and physical activity provision. It also acts as HQ for Levelling the Playing Field’s specialist partners Reach Up Youth

In attendance were Safiya Saeed (Reach Up Youth), Ant Bayou (Rotherham United Community Sports Trust), Imran Ali (Saalik Youth Project), Faisal Eid (LtPF’s South Yorkshire Regional Coordinator), Ahmed Humaidan (Darnall Education & Sports Academy), Kathryn Mudge (Yorkshire Sport Foundation) and Dave Hembrough (Hallam Barbell Weightlifting and Strength Training Club and Sheffield Hallam University’s lead S&C coach). 

The lively and open discussion between the partners revealed a number of key areas of concern: 

  • Financing the future – how to develop long-term planning for their organisations that are at different stages of development  
  • Influence – what role should they play, given their time constraints, in contributing to the narrative of the role of sport in community development 

In the future, the main themes of the workshops will be directed by the participants and are expected to include: 

  • Leadership style – getting the best out of people including ourselves; how to enable and energise passion and shared responsibility, driven by embedded values; building connectivity and transparency; delivering staff engagement, commitment and motivation 
  • Building collaboration – creating the environment for participative decision making, taking a whole system/community involvement approach 
  • Influencing decision makers: how to get heard and understood by stakeholders and funders; talking their language; understanding and addressing their needs and priorities 
  • Communication – getting messages to staff, community and stakeholders; reaching marginalised groups to gain their confidence and trust 
  • Effective Management – building robust and simple governance with organisations; delegating while staying on track; sharing good practice when dealing with statutory and bureaucratic systems 
  • Reflection and resilience: a chance to build support networks and opportunities for reflection both within and across organisations 
  • Demonstrating diversity: how to get ethnically diverse representation into leadership; embedding diversity in the organisation; reflecting the community. 

For more info, contact