On March 31st 2009 Neil Turner met with Paul Wilkinson and Stanley Doney of BaseballSoftballUK, our sports national governing body to formally start the process of achieving the Clubmark acceditation for Chalfont Softball Club.

At the meeting, the club was presented with its accreditation evidence file and given an overview of the scheme and its benefits, and of the process it will need to go through to gain accreditation. Becoming accredited will mean that Chalfont Softball Club meets criteria outlined in Sport England's Clubmark blueprint to demonstrate that it is well-run and safe, especially for children and young people.

You will be able to see what we have been working on recently below.

18 May 2011 - Clubmark Folder Updates

Being a Clubmarked Club means that we have to continually monitor how our club runs and ensure that we always meet the requirements that we met when we acheived accreditation. We are currently going through our evidence folder to make sure all files are up to date. Areas that we are working on are:

  • Ensuring everyone that needs to be CRB checked are
  • Getting copies of certificates awarded to our newly qualified coaches
  • Gathering together all risk assessments and training plans from this season
  • Gathering evidence of the links we are creating with local schools and youth organisations
  • Completing volunteer inductions

20 August 2010 - Chalfont Softball Club Achieves Clubmark Accreditation

Chalfont Softball Club is the first softball club in the UK to achieve Clubmark accreditation through BaseballSoftballUK, its national governing body.

Formed in 2004, Chalfont Softball Club has two adult teams that play in the Windsor and Maidenhead District Mixed Softball League. Chalfont Phoenix is now an established team in Division 1 of the league and Chalfont Flames have been pushing for Division 2 honours for the last three seasons.

In 2009, the Club recognised that if it was to progress and evolve, then it would need to develop junior softball programmes, not only within the Club, but also locally in schools and youth organisations. BaseballSoftballUK's Clubmark accredition scheme seemed the obvious route to take in order to acheive this.

Ensuring Safety for Young People

Gaining Clubmark accreditation means that Chalfont Softball Club has proved it is a safe, effective and child-friendly club in which young people will have a worthwhile and fun experience playing softball.

Neil Turner, Head Coach of Chalfont Softball Club, said "The process has been a hard but worthwhile one, our Club now has a good framework in place for it to run smoothly, successfully and most importantly, safely for both our existing members and for future junior and adult members."

The Club has policies in place that help to ensure that the conduct of its players, coaches and volunteers meets those expected of a friendly, sporting and professional sports club. It has four BSUK qualified coaches who run well-planned weekly training sessions and a development plan that maps out how the club will achieve its aspirations.

Clare Winter, Chairman of Chalfont Softball Club said "The accreditation should help us to recruit new members, a central part of our development as a club. We are particularly excited about creating links with local schools over the Winter in time for the start of the 2011 season next Spring. We have successfully trialled our "Introduction to Softball" programme this Summer and we are excited about expanding it over the next couple of years."

Junior Softball at Chalfont and Ley Hill School

The Clubmark accreditation process has given the club confidence to start working with young people. This Summer has seen the first male and female junior members playing for Chalfont Flames and Chalfont's coaches have found it rewarding to see the players establish themselves in the team, showing progression throughout the season and incredible future promise.

The Club has also run a successful junior softball programme for a group of 9 and 10 year olds from Ley Hill Primary School near Chesham. Chalfont's qualified coaches have run sessions for between 10 and 22 children on Saturday mornings throughout July and August as an introduction to the sport.

Neil said that "The Introduction to Softball programme has been a great learning experience for both the children and our coaches. It was our first experience of teaching junior softball and we have found it to be very enjoyable and thoroughly rewarding. The Clubmark process gave us the confidence to introduce this programme on a small scale and we are looking forward to expanding it next Summer. Ideally we would like to attract enough youngsters between the ages of 14 and 17 to be able to run junior team in the Windsor League."

Other clubs should follow Chalfont's lead

Chalfont Softball Club encourages other softball clubs to obtain Clubmark accreditation. Neil concluded "Although there are many steps involved in the Clubmark process, it has not been as challenging as it first appeared. We received great support from BSUK and in particular, Paul Wilkinson, BSUK's Club Development Manager, and Stan Doney, BSUK's South East Coach-in-Residence, were incredibly helpful and supportive throughout the process. We hope that the two other softball clubs in our league that have started the process will gain their accreditation prior to the start of the 2011 season and we look forward to working with them to create a junior softball league in our area in the forthcoming seasons."

04 June 2010 - Site Visit Approaches

Our site visit and assessment has been booked for Monday 14th June. The planned training session for Sunday 13th has been moved to enable us to run a session that can be visited by Stan Doney of BSUK. It is at this visit that we will be assessed on how well we are putting the procedures we have put in place into action.

After training we will also be getting a number of committee members CRB checked.

27 May 2010 - Website and Folder Updates

Theis section of the website has been updated with pages for many of the documents that we have created as part of the accreditation process. These policies and processes have been put in place to ensure that our club runs in the correct way.

Our Clubmark folder has been updated with some missing documents. We also have certificates for Neil and Clare passing their coaching awards. Evidence of Sally Maxted's (CWO) child welfare training has also been inserted.

23 April 2010 - Progress Meeting

Neil met with Paul and Stan at BSUK's offices on Friday afternoon. Good progress has been made and our evidence file is almost complete. Apart from tidying up some parts of the file we only have the following let to complete:

  • Get a copy of the certificate that proves Sally Maxted, our Child Welfare Officer has child protection training
  • Neil Turner and Clare Winter need to complete their Level 2 coaching qualification

Neil agreed with Stan that this can be done in the coming week, so has arranged with Stan to attend our next training session on Monday 3rd May to check our completed file.

21 April 2010 - Updating Our Accreditation File

We are spending a couple of days getting our accreditation evidence file up to date in preparation for our next update meeting at BSUK's offices on Friday 23rd April.

We've made good progress on the courses and workshops that we are required to attend, with just the volunteer co-ordinator workshop to come. The largest hole at the moment is the club development plan - a document that Neil is going to draft before the meeting.

18 December 2009 - Progress Meeting

Neil Turner had a very productive progress meeting in Maidenhead with Stanley Doney and Paul Wilkinson from BSUK. We went through our evidence file to see how we were doing with each of the many points on it. There are not too many gaps in it now and apart from putting some more procedure documents in place the major work required is now in the following areas:

  • Club Development Plan - probably 1, 3 and 5 year sections
  • Contact with local authorities, county schools partnerships and schools as we start to get involved in running some junior programmes for the first time

It is not out of the question that we could be nearing completion by the end of March.

13th November 2009 - Yet more workshops booked

At their first meeting in late October, the new committee fully embraced the Clubmark accredditation process, so much so that six members have signed up to attend a range of workshops targeted at helping us achieve our accreditation:

  • A Club for All, 21st January, Stoke Mandeville - Chris Howse (League Representative) and Donna Manley (Treasurer) attending
  • Equity in Your Coaching, 9th February, Princes Risborough - Sarah Wood (Tournaments Captain and Coach) and Sally Maxted (Welfare Officer and Coach) attending
  • Volunteer Management, 15th February, Stoke Mandeville - Helen Turner (Volunteer Co-ordinator) and Emma-Louise Allen (Secretary) attending

4th November 2009 - A Guide to Mentoring Coaches

Neil and Clare attended this workshop at the beginning of November and picked up some useful pointers on coach development and how to bring out the best in coaches. Hopefully they will be able to put into practice what they learnt in the months to come to develop their skills sets and to help the other coaches in the club identify what they want to get out of coaching.

28th October 2009 - Another workshop booked

Neil and Clare will be attending a "A Guide to Mentoring Coaches" workshop at Oxford City Football Club on Wednesday 4th November. It should be an interesting course and give us insight into how best we can develop our own coaches within the club. From the booking notes:

"Mentoring can be a truly rewarding experience for both mentor and coach. It can be an invaluable tool for developing coaches, for sharing knowledge and skills, for revealing new ways of doing things and helping coaches to engage in life-long learning for the benefits of athletes at every level."

22nd October 2009 - Working out what gaps need filling

We're taking some time to work out what gaps we have. There are a number of courses and workshops that we need our coaches and committee members to attend in the coming months. The courses are "A Club For All", "Equity In Your Coaching", "A Guide To Mentoring Sports Coaches" and "Volunteer Management Workshop".

Following the AGM we now have six committee members that have not filled in CRB forms. We'll be arranging for them to complete disclosure forms in the next month or so.

28th September 2009 - First Aid For Sport

Neil and Clare have attended a First Aid For Sport workshop at the Everham Centre in Iver.

8th September 2009 - Safeguarding and Protecting Children

Neil and Clare have attended a Safeguarding and Protecting Children workshop run by SportsCoachUK. The workshop covered:

  • Protecting ourselves as a coach, the young children we are coaching and the club by understanding and following good coaching practice
  • Learning about child abuse, how to reduce the chances of child abuse happening and how to handle situations if we have concerns

25th August 2009 - Things are progressing

Since the team’s last meeting in May, softball and other responsibilities for the team have got in the way a bit of progressing our Clubmark accreditation, but we have ticked some boxes and we’ve got our focus back again so expect to see more updates in the weeks/months to come.

Progress since May:

  • Membership forms have been developed and issued to all club members for completion
  • First aid equipment for both teams has been purchased along with batting helmets
  • The club constitution has been written and voted in at an EGM
  • We have made initial contact with a local school
  • We have added the role of Volunteer Co-ordinator as a committee position and will be looking to have it filled at the Club’s AGM in October
  • Neil and Clare have signed up for the First Aid for Sport and scUK Safeguarding and Protecting Children training workshops in September

Next on our list are to:

  • Confirm the child protection and child welfare training of our current members
  • Write emergency and risk assessment procedures for games and training
  • Develop a coaches tracking table - should be easy now we know who our qualified coaches are
  • Develop our links with local schools and sports partnerships

18th August 2009 - Club has new qualified coaches

The club now has six qualified softball coaches. Clare Winter, Sarah Wood, Sally Maxted, Geoff Brown, Luis Emiliani and Neil Turner have now all completed and passsed the BSUK Level 1 Coaching Course. As part of the process Clare, Sarah, Sally and Geoff have also filled in their CRB forms, so it shouldn't be long before they join Neil in being successfully CRB checked.

12th May 2009 - Clubmark team meet for first time

Neil, Sal and Clare met to go through the accreditation evidence file to work out a plan and priority list with the key being to identify some quick wins and the tasks that are going to be slow burners. We agreed coming away from the meeting that the following could be achieved in a relatively short period of time:

  • Confirm the child protection and child welfare training of our current members - it could be we have the required qualifications already
  • Write emergency and risk assessment procedures for games and training
  • Construct a membership form for our members to fill in
  • First aid equipment for both teams
  • Coaches tracking table
  • Write the club constitution
  • Book people on some training courses and workshops
  • Start setting up links with local schools and sports partnerships
  • Find a volunteer co-ordinator

11th May 2009 - First school contact is made

Exciting times. Stan from BSUK and Neil are talking to a local school about going in to run a softball taster session for some of it's female students. Chalfont Softball Club will also be hosting a coaching course primarily arranged to get a number of its experienced members qualified to run coaching courses.

28th April 2009 - The Clubmark team is up to three

Sal agreed to join the team at the committee meeting last night. Great news.

26th April 2009 - Club chairman comes on board

Neil met with Clare the chairman of the club after training today. Clare now has the outline of the process and will take the details to our clubs next committee meeting tomorrow evening to find other people interested in helping.

1st April 2009 - Clubmark accreditation evidence file received

Neil received the evidence file from BSUK last night at a meeting at Richings Park. It is apparant that there is lots to do between now and becoming accredited and it's going to have to be a team effort to get the softball club through the process. Better find some interested helpers.

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