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Running a club can be fun and rewarding - and there's help available
It will provide both highs and lows on the field and a new group of friends off it. It is a great way to spend your time and connects you to a fantastic network of fans of the game all around the country, but help will be needed along the way.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how you can get started:
To start your search for a place to play, explore local leisure and athletics facilities.
Local authorities will often offer discounts on rental rates if it increases usage or there may be unused land, such as disused football and rugby pitches, available for rent from local authorities.
Also, schools, colleges and universities are now more willing to open themselves up for community usage. It is advised to try negotiate pitch markings and maintenance as part of any rental agreement.
Once you have chosen your venue, it is advised to agree an initial deal for only one year, allowing your club to grow towards renegotiating lease agreements at a better rate going forward, while pitch markings and maintenance can be included as part of any rental agreement.
A unique name is the key to creating an eye-catching brand for your club.
A local figure or historical event can often provide the inspiration for a memorable name; Hull Dockers, Clock Face Miners, London Skolars and Bath & Wiltshire Romans are just some marked examples.
A good brand, which should include a good club logo, will make your club stand out in the local community, generate interest and help people identify with the club - a new brand can help with recruitment and attract sponsors too.
Designing and organising a kit comes next. Unique colour schemes can cost slightly more, but a common colour scheme may produce kit clashes, which adds to costs, so the more unique, the better.
Founding a club will take time and can't be done alone.
Volunteers are the driving force behind all community sport so make sure you have people in place and ready to help.
Players and their families are a club͛s greatest source of volunteers and they will usually help with fundraising, social media and the smaller tasks that help things run a little smoother.
Appointing a coach will be the biggest decision you make.
Ensure their ideas mix with yours and don't be afraid to say no; a team thrives in a good coaching environment.
Ask interested coaches to give you a run-down of their experience and qualifications - a poor coach may upset players, making recruitment and growth difficult.
Contact the Management Group or Committee of your local League as soon as you can. They are the greatest source of first-hand guidance.
Merit and Entry Leagues can provide a place to secure competitive fixtures whilst your team is still in development.
Various Leagues offer Cup competitions too which can add to your club's early fixture list.
When you switch to join a full league, regular fixtures will aid player retention and, ultimately, growth of your club.
Visit our Leagues & Competitions page to find your league today - CLICK HERE
Players know other players and a successful word of mouth campaign is the tried and tested method of recruiting.
But the continued growth in University & College Rugby League means there are now potential Rugby League players all over the country, while footballers and rugby union players may be looking to remain active during the summer.
A high profile local launch also often serves to revive the interest of lapsed local players, while it is important to ensure you have an online presence.
Social media plays an increasingly important role in people͛s lives and can provide a platform to reach thousands of people for no cost.
From raffles and bag packing at local supermarkets, to events such as race nights and sponsored walks, there is a wide range of fun ways to raise money for your club while helping build team spirit, from your players, through to your volunteers.
Membership fees can also play an important role in boosting your club's finances. You should ensure that you charge a sufficient annual fee to cover costs, while generating income on home match days through player subs, raffles, match programmes and much more.
Sponsorship can also be a useful funding tool. Many sports clubs use their existing members͛networks; parents, friends, fans, ex-players, committee members and their links to local businesses to ensure sponsorship of players, teams or the club itself. Grants are also available to new sports clubs.
Your local authority will also be able to assist with local grants, while Sport England can offer funding of between £500 and £10,000 for projects which can demonstrate how they increase and retain participation in physical activity.
For more information, click HERE
Creating and managing junior Rugby League sides is very different from running adult sides but provides a different sense of satisfaction.
Juniors are the lifeblood of Rugby League so it͛s vitally important to run a safe and welcoming club and a coaching environment that not only helps to retain players but to also attracts their friends to play.
Some clubs have a huge amount of experience and expertise in recruiting and retaining juniors.
Contact nearby clubs to talk about their experiences and the challenges they faced, how they fundraise and how they celebrate success.
DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service - formerly the CRB) checking is essential when recruiting volunteers to get involved with your Junior Section.
DBS helps the RFL as the national governing body for Rugby League assess who may be unsuitable to work with children within Rugby League, by looking at previous criminal convictions.
For more information and how to apply for a DBS check online, click HERE.
There are many ways to recruit junior players but the important thing is to know your local area, know how many schools are nearby and where the local youth clubs are.
A lot more can be achieved if the club has a good local profile, so be sure to advertise well and tell people about your club.
This can be via social media and printed media such as leaflets and posters. Encourage any existing junior players to recruit friends - a word of mouth campaign between young players is usually your most effective method.
If juniors at your club are enjoying themselves, they are far more likely to convince classmates to join them.
Perhaps consider offering rewards for those players who recruit friends as new players or ask them to hand out leaflets for you to their PE teachers and peers.
Good links between your community club and local schools can be crucial to your growth. Develop the idea of taking coaches to schools to help encourage more young people to play Rugby League and get involved with your club.
There are many ways you can develop the profile of your club. Pitchero websites, social media and sending your news to local press or rugby-league.com via email@example.com are all free promotional tools.
Branding is also key. Sell the club's brand first, before developing your public ethos. If possible, budget for an advertising campaign around this featuring your club logo and important information.
Once you're established, seek to create a positive environment for supporters, parents and players alike - 'word of mouth' wil soon spread as people already involved with the club sell it for you!
Links with your local professional clubs can also be beneficial. They can promote your club when engaging with local schools and other organisations·
Hold an open day to showcase your club to the local community. See below for more information.
There has to be a genuine, widespread desire and enthusiasm throughout the club to open your doors to new members and the community.
Once your volunteers are recruited and on board, you should choose a date for your Open Day which ideally works around any other major event.
Children can bring parents, siblings, friends, relatives – all of whom can become potential players.
Community Partners from non-sporting organisations can also become important friends of your club.
We recommend you extend invitations to:
Local schools, colleges and universities
Local council and housing associations
Community groups and youth clubs.
GPs and other health representatives
Local MP or Councillor
With a wide range of people in attendance, ensure you host activities for everyone both on and off the pitch.
A range of on-field exercises for youngsters new to the game, through to adults returning to the game, plus entertainment such as face painting or have a go Rugby League activities – all can be done to a limited budget.
Encourage your existing members to get behind the event and spread the word through social media or word of mouth.
Ensure that your promotional content includes the benefits of attending, not just a list of activities. And make sure your information includes phone numbers and email addresses of some well-briefed members of your team who people can contact for further information.
Consider all places within the community where parents and players will be going such as shops, doctors' surgeries, community centres and more.
Contact your local media, such as newspapers and radio; tell them about what you do and your aspirations – the bigger the better! It is advised to arrange for a photographer to attend your event – maybe one of your players or parents is a keen photographer?
They can provide high quality images so you can submit pictures to the local press for publication – pictures make your content more attractive to the press – and you can also use the photos for future marketing material.
First, it's important to assign roles to your volunteers to help make your Day runsmoothly, while it's important to get contact details for all your visitors on arrival.
Set up a registration desk and make sure you have a form where you can write down the name, mobile number and email address of the visitors.
This can be a useful marketing tool to keep your potential new members and players in touch with information and news surrounding your club, such as kick off times for games and the location and time of training sessions.
Now you should tell the world about the excellent work you've done.
Spread photos and videos taken at your event across social media and send a write up of your successes to the local media and Rugby League papers, League Express and League Weekly.
Before the day
On the day
After the day