In June 2016, the Black Pear Joggers were officially a Clubmark accredited running club. This means that England Athletics recognise that we are a safe, inclusive, quality running club and that we have met all of the criteria set out for adult running clubs.
The Black Pear Joggers Committee first became aware of Clubmark when we agreed to work with the Hereford and Worcester Sports Partnership to help introduce a series of C25K and 5-10K Courses to Worcester.
It was suggested to us that we should have Clubmark to show that we are a safe, quality club for groups such as the Hereford and Worcester Sports Partnership to have the confidence to work with us and to recommend potential members to join us. We hadn’t heard of it before so we looked in to it and Jo Evans volunteered to lead the club through the process.
Throughout the Clubmark journey we have been required to change and adapt the club and our practice in many ways. A few examples of this include getting group leaders trained (LiRF), creating and working towards a Club Improvement Action Plan, creating a club Welcome pack, developing and implementing an Outreach programme, recruiting two welfare officers and having at least two people safeguarding trained.
The process was achieved with the support of a willing group of volunteers and was certainly a challenge at times, but it is definitely something that has helped our running club to continue to develop.
Clubmark consists of four key areas:
- Duty of Care and Safeguarding and Protecting Club Members.
- Knowing Your Club and its Community.
- Club Management.
How Clubmark benefits the club
- Improved infrastructure – as part of the accreditation process clubs have to have set policies and procedures in place. In the long run this benefits the club and makes it easier to run
- Increased membership – 80% of clubs have reported an increase in their membership since being accredited
- Retain members – Club Accreditation creates a positive environment which improves the experience for members
- Better access to funding and support – with club accreditation status, clubs receive more support and have better chances of gaining funding from local authorities. Many funding bodies state club accreditation as a requirement
- Priority facility bookings – More and more local authorities and other leisure operators give priority-booking slots to accredited clubs
- Raised profile – once accredited a club will be put on accredited databases. Clubs have access to the Clubmark (junior clubs only) and club accreditation logos to use on publications. On completion of club accreditation clubs are encouraged to share success story with EA and local media
- Links with schools – Increasingly, schools are looking for guarantees of quality and the presence of child- friendly systems and procedures. Accredited clubs are normally the first invited to work with local schools and schools are being encouraged to signpost pupils to accredited clubs
How Clubmark benefits members
- Reassurance for members – to be accredited a club must have the correct welfare and safeguarding policies in place
- A welcoming and well managed club environment
- Structured pathway – accredited clubs must have a structured pathway for junior members
- Sign of Quality – club accreditation status acts a badge of quality for people looking to join a club
- More and better supported volunteers – by using templates and procedures introduced through accreditation, volunteers are better supported