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Community Sport Networks

By: Lynne Conner - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Community Sports Network Csn Sport Sport

Community Sport Networks bring together groups and individuals who want to share in the fun and rewards of taking part in local sport. Take part in a network as the representative of your organisation and encourage partnerships, competitions and the opportunity to share resources. Community Sport Networks (CSNs) - also known as Sport and Physical Activity Alliances or Sport and Physical Activity Networks - are a government initiative to encourage local people from all different backgrounds to come together to celebrate sport.

Who can Take Part?

Representatives of a wide variety of local community and voluntary groups can take part in Community Sport Networks. This includes disabled groups, schools, youth teams, sports clubs and sports centres. A Network will also include members from your local authority and other interested groups. You may be invited to participate or can approach your local council to find out how your group can get involved.

You will need an enthusiasm for sport, awareness of local health and fitness issues and an ability to make your views known. Time commitments could vary from a few hours each month to a bigger commitment if you get involved in a sub-committee or specific project.

What is Involved?

The Community Sports Network is inclusive and encourages communication between groups engaged in sport within a community. You will promote fitness and health in your local area. The government’s aim is to increase local participation in sport by 1% a year. You will need to attend regular meetings which may also involve representatives of key organisations such as local authorities and the police and education authorities.

Although you will be representing your particular group you will also need to consider the needs of everyone in the community. This involves canvassing the opinion of all stakeholders. To help influence and develop sport in the area you will help to set and achieve local targets and find new ways to deliver opportunities to take part in sport.

The key is to increase local involvement in sport by involving organisations at grass roots levels.

To do this you will identify gaps in provision and may pass on the opinion of your groups, conduct surveys and obtain and analyse feedback. With this information you can influence the allocation of funds. You may get involved in writing grant or funding applications and help to create partnerships to raise funding.

You may target specific groups e.g. 16-25 year olds or the elderly, find ways to tackle local issues and concerns such as obesity or youth crime or consider local NHS health aims such as targeting cardiac rehabilitation.

Projects may include after school sports clubs for children, creating projects for disabled people or setting up teams for socially disadvantaged teenagers. The Network’s conclusions may lead to creation of new facilities such as a sports centre. Other options could include resource-sharing e.g. a university may offer its facilities to the wider community.

As part of the network you will take appropriate steps to measure outcomes. You may also pay visits to other groups and to sports facilities and events and could also get involved in promotional work such as writing leaflet text or creating a website.

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