Broxburn United Sports Club
Broxburn United Sports Club (BUSC) aims to provide high quality local facilities for junior football (adults) and youth football teams to take part in football training and competitive games, as well as playing just for fun. Sus it Out Plus assisted BUSC to improve in the areas of IT and marketing.
BUSC, was established in 2000 as a community sports project and provides outdoor sports facilities within West Lothian. In 2010, BUSC officially opened its new facility, consisiting of football pitches and changing facilities. Entitled Albyn Park, the new facility is now home to four football clubs: Broxburn Athletic, Broxburn Athletic Colts, Uphall Diamonds, and Broxburn Juniors.
The total cost of the project was £2.6 million, with the Council providing significant funding of £1.5 million for the development alongside a £500,000 grant from Sports Scotland. The remainder of the project costs were raised through accessing funding from a range of sources including the Scottish Government's Cash Back for Communities scheme, other trusts and BUSC's own funding-raising activities.
There are some 1,000 users of the facility each week (including multiple visits by a number of individuals), with the majority of those accessing the facility being children and young people. Membership of BUSC has continue to grow since the facility opened.
There are also opportunities for rooms within the facility to be hired for meetings, and there is a computer/education suite – as the group attracts those who are not interested in playing football.
As part of its governance structure BUSC has a Board of Directors, with representatives from the youth football section and the junior football section feefing into the Board – the different sections meet separately on a monthly basis and then report any issues directly into the Board.
There are two full-time members of staff (Manager and Sports Development Officer) and BUSC has a pool of volunteers to support the day-to-day running of the facility. BUSC also provides work experience opportunities to develop young people's employability skills.
Growth and development
With the management of the new facility being relatively recent, BUSC recognised a need for some support in relation to particular areas of work such as IT and marketing. As the Sus It Out Plus programme offered some funding for identified training needs, BUSC felt that this programme would be beneficial to the group and that the funding could be put to good use.
The Sus It Out Plus programme supported BUSC during 2011, providing £1500 for training and facilitating a session with seven or eight individuals from BUSC's Board of Directors plus the Sus it Out Plus facilitator.
The session identified five keys ways in which BUSC works to improve the lives of people in the local community. These are:
- Organising sports training and competition
- Creating opportunities for the community to have fun
- Creating job opportunities for members of the community
- Challenging racism, discrimination and inequality in the community
- Ecouraging active citizenship and volunteering.
Following the session, BUSC received an Action Plan which captured the main points arising from the session and which set out:
- Who BUSC are
- Who the community is and what BUSC does for/with them
- What BUSC will do in the future
- A range of prioritised actions that important in delivering against BUSC's activities, including building skills and working in partnership
BUSC received £1,500 as part of the support package to contribute towards technical support and training in the following areas: marketing, IT (including website design and management) and health and safety.
The independent, external perspective was considered a positive aspect of the support from Sus It Out Plus. The Sus It Out Plus board game was considered to be an “interesting tool”. The group stated that it allowed them time they wouldn't normally have to reflect on where they were at and aspects that could be improved upon. They liked that the session was facilitated by someone external to BUSC – an independent perspective which encouraged the Board to “work more as a team”.
It was reported that the session and Action Plan helped bring greater focus within the group – “now more business-minded”, with appreciation that income generation and planning for the future sustainability of the facility and service provision remains of the upmost importance.
Lessons and learning
The main challenges raised by BUSC regarding the Sus it Out Plus support centred on the following:
- While BUSC found the session and Action Plan a useful exercise, the group had not used their Action Plan as a 'living document' by the end of the programme. A number of the actions had been progressed however.
- BUSC felt that some form of follow-up support from Future Balance (who delivered Sus it Out Plus) would have been helpful (e.g. six monthly review), and that they would have benefited from additional contact to find out how they were doing more generally, where they were at, support needs, and signposting to other support.
More generally, the group faces the following challenges in trying to promote a healthy, active community
- Much of the activity involving schools takes place in the schools (outreach) rather than within the new facility at Alybn Park. The reason for this is that schools would have to pay the transport costs associated with transporting children and young people to BUSC and schools have limited funds to cover such costs
- Income generation – BUSC does well to generate income through membership fees, pitch hire, cafe, fund raising, etc. However, there is recognition that there is still work to be done in this area, in particular as BUSC needs to plan for pitch replacement, etc. There is recognition that BUSC needs to devote some time to developing a package of benefits for sponsors and actively selling this to local businesses
- There is an ongoing challenge in recruiting volunteersto support the work of the two paid staff members.
BUSC is keen to ensure that it takes a proactive approach to developing and growing the group. Since it was supported by Sus it Out Plus, BUSC has gone on to establish a boxing facility (Broxburn Boxing Club), after-school football involving children from a number of local schools and an Eductaion Programme on behalf of West Lothian Community Health and Care Partnership.