Stronger Clubs Conference

Stronger Clubs Conference 2014

With representatives from 35 clubs and partners signed-up for the conference things were all set for a great weekend of information sharing, out the box thinking and inter-club discussions.

The venue was Heriot-Watt University, the provisional home for volleyball as part of the new national performance centre.

In short, the conference was the starting point of the Stronger Clubs ‘arm’ of the SVA’s strategic plan. All delegates were given a stronger clubs pack of documentation, which is essentially a self-help club guide to all the different aspects of running a volleyball club. The ultimate aim of which is to make it as easy as possible for clubs to make decisions and conduct long-term planning by providing information in a simple format and templates for all club administration.

Day one started with external presentations from sportscotland who gave a view on the wider context and shared some great advice on grant aid, help for clubs and set the scene well, coinciding with the overall themes of the conference. ‘Make your dreams bigger than your excuses’

The day was intended to spread knowledge of the context surrounding Scottish Volleyball Clubs and share information of the structures and supports that is out there for clubs. Colin McMillan from Edinburgh council presented on the landscape and context of sporting support within councils which was followed by Paul McPate presenting on the student context and environment.

In addition, we had presentations from our very own volleyball clubs with Ally Reid from Beacon VC and Bill Stobie from NUVOC VC, which provided a great back-drop to how clubs can develop with a key theme evident across both presentations, perseverance.

Break-Out sessions complemented the presentations covering themes such as coaching, club management, grant aid and building links, as well as some very positive discussion groups on the competitions structure for 2015-16. 

The day was finished off with a fun game of volleyball at Forresters High School, lead by the SVA’s new regional development officers Lynne Beattie and Andrew Fleming. 15 people took part and it was a great way to finish off the day.

The Sunday morning session created excellent engagement as Anthony Drew and John  Scott provided a background to their journey at Kinrossshire cricket club. The information and ideas that were shared were invaluable and very inspiring indeed.

Across all the discussions and all the presenters there were two key themes that appeared consistently; that Identity and Communication need to be at the heart of clubs activity. The depth of the discussions on these two topics occurred organically and despite the topic, discussions and presentations always seemed to find there way back to these two points;

Clubs need to form an identity and vision which is the focus of all club activity and have a strategy or system for communicating information both internally and externally.

The day was completed by a series of training sessions, Albert Jaster presented a seminar on officiating which prompted some interesting discussions and a great platform for officiating development.

Gary Hutt from Coventry University travelling North and delivered a 3 hour session on strength and conditioning, providing lots of usable information for our coaches.

Douglas Arneil from Children’s 1st presented an ‘In safe hands’ course for our child protection officers, which promoted some brilliant discussions and provided the tools and certification to allow the Club Child Protection Officers to be better equipped for their roles.

Overall I felt it was a great weekend and that all delegates contributed immesnly to the event. The stronger clubs pack and presentations will be available online in the not to distant future for clbus to access.

Thank you to all presenters and clubs for their contributions to the conference, it’s now over to the challange of implemented the ideas and knowledge within our clubs.


Graeme Spowart

Club & Participation Development Officer