Inclusion in Sporting Clubs
As the world has progressed it is important that we recognise and understand that in all aspects of life, we need to be inclusive to all types of people and don’t discriminate against an individual because of something that makes them different.
According to Vic Sport, the term inclusion refers to what we do to ensure our diverse community is reflected in sport participants. Being inclusive means being proactive in the way we plan, lead and control the delivery of sport and recreation opportunities for everyone.
Sport is something that is played and participated in world-wide and is something that should be loved and enjoyed regardless of your status in life and/or what makes you, you.
Sporting clubs no matter where they are located should provide the opportunity to all individuals to join and participate regardless of their gender, age, cultural background, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, income or geographical location.
The Sport and Recreation sector of Western Australia has compiled this simple checklist for clubs to complete to see if they are welcoming to someone who is not familiar with the sporting structure in Australia –
- Is it easy to join your club?
- Is it easy to find out about your club?
- Is your signage easy to read?
- Are staff available and willing to help people fill out the membership forms if they have difficulties reading English?
- Are existing members and staff friendly and open to new members?
- Do existing members and staff offer advice and support?
- Do you have an induction for new members?
- Does your club have a buddy system for new members?
- Do training session times correspond with public transport?
The big question to ask yourself: is your club inclusive for all members of the community? Here is another checklist from Sport and Recreation (WA) to help you understand where your club stands in regard to its inclusiveness.
- Is your club open to everyone?
- Are participation opportunities provided for females where appropriate?
- Are there appropriate facilities available, such as private change rooms for women, and women’s only activities?
- How flexible is your uniform policy? Does it allow for those who may have financial difficulties? Does it allow for a degree of modesty (e.g. for people who wish to keep their bodies covered)?
- Are you aware of the timing of religious celebrations that may impact on the ability of some members to attend training sessions and matches? Is everyone treated fairly and equally, regardless of age, gender, religion or ethnic background?
- Does the club have an anti- discrimination policy so that any forms of discrimination and/or racism can be addressed quickly?
- Are programs within your club flexible enough to cater for people’s varying needs
Visit https://www.sportaus.gov.au/participation/inclusive_sport/training for information on free online training courses that are provided by Play by the Rules
Being an inclusive club also provides many benefits, these can include:
- Increase in the skills and abilities within the club
- A richer club environment in which members appreciate and learn from each other’s backgrounds and experiences, benefiting the junior teams
- Strengthening of the community as a whole by encouraging everyone to contribute to building a stronger society
- Increased understanding and experience of diversity
- Increased membership of your club
- Increased chance of sponsorship from companies with diverse management or consumer base
- Increase in the number of players, volunteers and administrators, who can help contribute to the success and running of the club.
Continue to make strides and have an impact at your sporting club by ensuring you are accessible and inclusive to all types of people! Smiling is a universal language that everyone understands, and it can be obtained through a person’s love for sport!