Guernsey Sports Commission targets high standards through new SportsMark scheme

March 9, 2021

The Guernsey Sports Commission has launched a new quality assurance scheme for local sports clubs and organisations.

SportsMark will be awarded to any sporting organisation which meets a set of strict criteria around governance, safeguarding and coaching.

‘A sporting organisation displaying the SportsMark logo will have provided the GSC with evidence of high standards of welfare and safeguarding, will have shown us the organisation is well managed with appropriate corporate governance, has sound financial practices, has appropriately qualified coaches and a coaching strategy, and has an overall development plan in place for the sport or club,’ said Steve Sharman, the Commission’s Relationship Director.

‘We know there are some outstanding local clubs and organisations that deliver high quality sports to our community but there are others who need help to meet even the minimum operating standards. We want to support all our sporting organisations to be the best they can be and reassure those looking to participate, that their chosen sport is safe and well run,’ said Steve.

‘SportsMark is a key initiative within the Governance workstream in our 5-Year Action Plan and also supports the aims of the Active 8 Plan for Sport and Government Work Plan.’

The Commission is currently working with a number of sports and hopes that the first SportsMark accreditations can be awarded within a matter of weeks.

‘What fantastic news for our sport!’ said Derek Webb from the Guernsey Table Tennis Association.

‘This is a key initiative from the Sports Commission and we’re honoured to be one of the first sports on the Island to hopefully earn SportsMark.

‘What’s most important for us is that parents, carers, teachers and individuals can be completely confident we uphold the highest levels of governance so that everyone can enjoy playing table tennis safely. This is something we’ve worked very hard on as an organisation over the past few years and to be accredited by our governing body is a very proud moment,’ said Derek.

‘Our mission is that Table Tennis is safe, accessible to all and completely inclusive, so we look forward to remaining aligned with the Sports Commissions’ progressive 5-year plan, which is fundamental to the future growth, development and success of sport in Guernsey.’

A number of the island’s larger sports such as football, rugby and swimming already have similar accreditation through their National Governing Bodies and so the Sports Commission is initially focusing on working with sporting organisations that operate largely thanks to the dedication of a small number of volunteers.

‘Many of these organisations are keen to show they take their responsibilities seriously,’ said Steve.

Providing evidence of excellent safeguarding practices is essential for any sport looking to achieve SportsMark.

Sarah Elliott, Pan Island Independent Chair Safeguarding Partnership Boards commented:

‘The ISCP welcomes the implementation of Sportsmark, which the Sports Commission has been pivotal in introducing.

‘Sportsmark will serve to strengthen safeguarding arrangements for children and young people within sport, whilst providing consistent governance from the grass roots upwards across the myriad of sports organisations and clubs that Guernsey, for a small island, is lucky to have.’

Jenny Murphy is the Commission’s Sport Development Officer and Safeguarding Lead and says there are benefits for the sport as well as those participating.

‘We want to support clubs to have longevity, be well run and be a fun and safe place for children and adults,’ said Jenny.

‘Achieving SportsMark shows the community that your sport is safe, well-run and has high standards of welfare and governance which should help increase participation and ensure that those taking part in your sport or volunteering are well supported.

‘SportsMark also unlocks further support from the Guernsey Sports Commission including time, resources, training and funding to support the further development of your sport so it really is a great opportunity for all clubs and we would encourage you to get in touch to find out more.’

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