Strong opinions, lightly held

Are Scottish sports clubs ready for Asset Transfer?

Often the answer is NO. But, here's 16 questions to get started.

Difficult financial times for local authorities are prompting consideration of who should run local assets and how best to maximise investment in facilities.

Sport is an obvious area in which asset transfer can be successful given the high level of demand among sports groups for local facilities, the ability to raise funding and a strong volunteer base (not to mention the frustrations of dealing with school janitors....).

But, asset transfer is not for the faint of heart.

Below are 16 yes/no questions based on the actual realities of making an asset transfer project happen. Answer each one with brutal honesty and compare your score at the end:

  1. Do you have at least two Project Champions who are willing to put in hundreds of hours of volunteer time to get this project started?
  2. Are you willing to be distracted from your core sport to work with other groups to make your facility financially sustainable? E.g. yoga teachers, toddler groups
  3. Do you have access to a pool or at least 100 parents who could potential volunteer? (You'll need at least a 100 to get 5 key volunteers/trustees)
  4. Do you have 2-6 young people who are currently coaching/volunteering who could become sessional facility staff?
  5. Do you know someone who lives within walking distance of your facility and would be willing to open/close the facility?
  6. Do you have the full support of your sport governing body? (Don't assume this... have you actually got support from a senior manager?)
  7. Do you have a close working relationship with your nearest Active Schools Coordinator? (is your mobile number saved in their phone?)
  8. Do you have a volunteer with fundraising experience? E.g. Have they previously completed a successful application to BIG Lottery or The Robertson Trust?
  9. Do you have key volunteers with the skills/experience to oversee the running of a building/pitch/pavilion? E.g. Trades person, maintenance manager.
  10. Do you have key volunteers who could oversee a capital build/upgrade project? E.g. Architect, engineer, surveyor.
  11. Could you increase the annual subscription fees that your players/members currently pay? (You'll need the extra money to hire staff and/or set up a building sinking fund)
  12. Are you located in an area in the bottom 15% of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation?
  13. Is there a market of community clubs/groups willing to pay market rates for access to your facility and coaching sessions?
  14. Do your players/members currently get together socially on a regular basis and could this be turned into a revenue opportunity at your facility? E.g. cafe, bar
  15. Are you currently spending over £10,000 a year on facility hire that you could transfer to your new facility?
  16. Do you have someone lined up to be your first employee who loves your sport AND knows how to run a business?

When we first embarked on taking over the The Crags Centre, our score was 8/16. We spent a year behind the scenes building partnerships and by launch date we had 13 of these in place.

What's your score?

Simon Turner