The role of social enterprise in community sport/shifting paradigms

 is the title of a presentation given by Michael McCusker, Director, Strive NI CIC Sports Consortia at the Enterprise and Collaboration in community sport across all-Ireland held on 11th March 2015 at W5, Odyssey Centre, Belfast

 This is a one-day event focussing on how community sports providers can meet the challenges and benefit from new opportunities created by changes in people’s lives, the political landscape and the economic situation

The challenges facing community sport…

This event focuses on how society, on both sides of the border, needs community sports clubs, enterprises and other providers to prosper. We need them to be places where people will want to play and exercise and become involved. They should generally become hubs for their communities, in short become places ‘where people live their lives’

This event highlights best practice and provide thoughts, tools and to-dos on how to become an enterprising and sustainable community sports provider. Making a difference in areas such as health and wellbeing, employment and education should be key aims of our ambitions of getting people more people active and create better communities.

Community sports clubs, social enterprises and other providers are facing strong challenges in order to survive and grow in an increasingly competitive and demanding market. How to attract new members and users and retain the existing ones, become a hub of the community, grow sponsorship revenue, improve the social life of the club, increase media coverage, benefit from new technology and introduce new revenue streams…are all pressing concerns.

Life is changing and providers within community sport have to change with it.

So how do we deliver great, sustainable community sport without compromising your sporting and community objectives? How do we provide great customer experiences and grow participation whilst at the same time meeting the strategic objectives of external partners and funders, whether they are from within sport or from health, regeneration or community services? How do we engage the local community and promote community leadership and play our part of the fabric of our local communities? How do we develop and deliver an innovative range of sporting opportunities, attracting people of all ages and abilities?

Delegates will come from community sports clubs, governing bodies of sport, local authorities, community sports trusts, informal sports providers, community sports enterprises, sports governing bodies, community groups and other community sports providers.

A conference presenting real stories and ‘need-to-know’ support

This conference focuses on these issues, highlight best practice and provide thoughts, tools and to-dos on how you too can become a sustainable community sports provider.

This is not a conference packed with policy presentations. We hope people will leave the event knowing they have heard some great practical ideas and having learnt how to make positive changes of their own.

Michael McCusker’s presentation will cover how Social Enterprises and Community Interest Companies are gaining momentum for their application within sports environments through addressing social issues in communities. The structures enable them to meet Government priorities in tackling health, education, justice and social exclusion issues by providing platforms at local level through networks/mobility that allow them to develop solutions, enabling impacts to be measured and savings to be generated.

As we move through austerity measures and cost cutting to front line services, the sports and social enterprise sector presents options in developing innovative mechanisms that will meet community needs, create opportunities for jobs and help generate volunteering, work placement and education pathways. These mechanisms can help break cycles of under achievement, lack of aspirations and poverty.

However the social enterprise sector needs to align its experience, knowledge and expertise, and present a unified voice, that will help shape policy and provide cross cutting solutions to long term problems.

Michael McCusker has over 15 years’ experience across private/vcse sector with a focus on developing solutions to long terms social issues through sport and social enterprise.

For further information about this event contact Svend Elkjaer on 01423 326 660 or email or go to

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