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Does your club have a relationship with your local council?

7 Dec 2021

Does your club have a relationship with your local council?  This can be a great tool in terms of your club development and can be useful for gaining presence in your local community, securing grants and funding, raising the local profile and participating in community events, and overall helping the long-term sustainability of your club.

Beryl Hartley from Narromine Gliding Club has developed a strong relationship with the local council and the gliding club that has seen immense benefits over the years.  Beryl offers just a few examples of advantages the club has seen.

Grant assistant since the 1960’s 

In the 1960’s there was no gliding club at Narromine, and the airport was Federally owned and operated.  NSW gliding sought permission to use the field for the Australian National Championships each three years in rotation.  The local council built shower and toilet facilities and installed power outlets for a camping ground, caravan park. This was free for gliding people until the early 1990s.

Facility Utilisation

The local council encouraged and supported the Narromine Soaring Centre to set up when the airport was no longer used as a Qantas training facility in 1974. All buildings were utilised at no cost for the next 20 years and this business taught thousands of people to fly gliders.

Events

When the Junior World championships were held at Narromine, the local council had a dedicated promotion person to work on grant applications, accommodation assistance, promotion with local media, signage, travel assistance, tourist information at the briefing room, organised and paid for the team managers’ party.

And more…

Just recently the council organised funding for the purchase of a mobile office with a toilet/wash area for the club to use on the field, a much-needed facility for the women pilots.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of benefits over the years.  So how do you get council engagement?  Beryl has a little background and tips on how a relationship like this works:

Can you give us a brief description of your connection with gliding?

Beryl:  “I married into gliding in 1965.  I’m second generation gliding family now 4th generation gliding family.   I’m a solo glider pilot, long time crew person for competitions in Australia and internationally.   I’ve been Secretary, President and Treasurer of NSW gliding Councillor, Vice President, President, Treasurer of Gliding Federation of Australia, Team Manager of Australian International Team 12 years, Organiser Junior World Gliding Championships 2015, FAI Badge Officer since 1990.   My present roles are Treasurer NSWG, Board Member Gliding Australia, Treasurer Narromine Gliding Club, FAI badge and records Officer Gliding Australia, Organiser World Gliding Championships 2015”

Why do you see having a relationship with your local council or sport and recreation office is important?

Beryl:  “It is essential in promoting our sport!”

What has been the most difficult part of building a connection with councils or govt agencies

Beryl:  “Getting their attention and interest.  The best way to get their interest is to turn up and talk to them!”

Do you have three tips on how best to build these relationships

Beryl: 

“1.  Make appointments and turn up and talk to local member, state member, etc.
2. Find and make contact with sport grant management.
3. Take your best people”

Some additional tips to create a good relationship with your council/LGA/Sport and Recreation Office include:

  • Identify the relationships you need to foster (elected members, sport and rec officers, staff and/or committees who manage aerodromes)
  • Invite these people to attend club events and functions (invite them to speak or present awards)
  • Align club priorities with local/state priorities
  • Nominate a club representative to manage these relationships (doesn’t have to be the President)
  • Acknowledge or recognise the council in your newsletters for any support given
  • Be realistic for what your club can expect when there are many recreation and sporting clubs in your area
  • Communicate to keep them informed of your club activities and needs
  • Attend or participate in council run events activities to show you are part of the community
  • Approach complaints and problems with solution suggestions for mutual benefit
  • Raise your profile in the local community (good reputations count!)

If you’d like to know more about getting a relationship with your local community you can get in touch with Amanda Vanderwal (sportsconsultancy@vanderwal.com.au).

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