By Leah Holmes
The Development Charter was launched in August 2020 as a mechanism for any softball or baseball club or league to access development and safeguarding services from BaseballSoftballUK. Central to our “Two Sports, One Ambition” Strategy, the Charter is at the heart of the agency’s strategic priority to provide efficient grassroots support services to the softball community.
Why was it created?
The key aim of the Charter is:
- To support clubs and leagues to become safer, stronger, and more sustainable organisations.
To do this, and in response to independent reports including club consultation that cited a lack of clarity/understanding of BaseballSoftballUK’s role and how we can help, the Charter also intends to:
- Clearly communicate the services available to clubs and leagues to increase impact and improve satisfaction.
- Clearly communicate the expectations on clubs and leagues to provide a safe environment for members.
What does the Charter include?
Working directly with BaseballsoftballUK’s staff team, clubs and leagues that are chartered will be able to access advice and guidance in the following areas and more:
- Club/league management
- Relationship-building and connectivity with local networks
- Recruitment of players
- Facility and field development
- Coach education
- Youth development
- Fundraising and grant applications
- Safeguarding – including a free DBS checking service
The Development Charter is made up of four key support services:
Our relationship managers -- On sign-up, each club or league is assigned, and will be contacted by, a relationship manager, whose role is to offer one-to-one development support and direct the club to relevant supporting resources.
Our resource bank -- As part of the Charter, we have created a resource bank of guidance and tools to support clubs with their development. These include resources from partners as well as many created by BaseballSoftballUK specifically with our clubs and sports in mind.
Our online workshop series -- In order to bring to life some of the topics within the Charter, Chartered club representatives can access a series of virtual workshops for free, as well as access recordings of past workshops which have included ‘Why, What and How to Fundraise?’, ‘The Female Focus’, ‘How to Recruit (and Keep!) Volunteers’ and more.
Safeguarding -- A vital service that BaseballSoftballUK provides to clubs and leagues in the UK through our Charter. The following support is available at no cost to Chartered clubs working towards meeting or maintaining our safeguarding requirements:
- Virtual ‘Time to Listen’ training.
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
- One-to-one advice and guidance on policy, process and any safeguarding issues that might arise.
There are also a number of additional benefits linked to other BaseballSoftballUK programmes and partners, such as access to our annual Facilities Fund and Baseball Outlet discount offers.
Who can access Development Charter services?
British Softball Federation affiliated clubs and leagues automatically have access to the Charter; however signing up directly to the Charter through www.baseballsoftballuk.com will support the flow of communication and enable BaseballSoftballUK to better support you.
How is it going?
After two years of the programme, over 90% of all softball and baseball clubs or leagues are chartered directly or through their Federation.
We have completed 25 different resources that clubs and leagues can access and have hosted six virtual workshops which had seventy eight attendees. However, two thirds of these attendees were from baseball clubs.
We have delivered six online ‘Time to Listen’ courses (50+ attendees) and administered 120+ DBS checks.
In January 2022 we carried out an impact survey to further measure the impact the Charter has had to date, and to generate learning to enable us to improve our services and products.
We had a 20% response rate, of which 46% of respondents were from softball clubs. No ‘auto-enrolled’ clubs (those entitled to Charter services through their affiliation but who have not directly signed up) responded. The responses showed high satisfaction levels and good awareness of services. However, the range of respondents showed us there is work to be done to improve engagement, particularly within the softball community.
How can clubs or leagues find out more?
To find out more about the Charter and its services please get in touch with email@example.com, who will be happy to answer your questions.
Alternatively, if you would like to sign up your club or league directly you can do so here.