Being an inclusive & welcoming club


We often think we’re inclusive because “we welcome anyone” at our clubs.  But does opening your door to “anyone” actually make you inclusive or different to any other club?


Some people in our communities do not feel safe or welcome at some sports clubs.  This could be for one of many reasons as identified in the image below.  These reasons may seem odd to many of you but they are very real barriers people face when it comes to getting involved in your club.

Consider these reasons that can keep people away from your club;

Barriers people may face in joining a sports club.

Barriers people may face in joining a sports club.

These beliefs, whether they exist at your club or not, can be addressed by through the actions of your committee and members.


1.    Recognise that your club’s actions (or inaction) has a large role to play in getting more people into the club.  More people equals more opportunities to fundraise and fulfil volunteer positions, and improve club life for all.  See one club’s approach in the video below.

2.    Consider how someone new to the area would join your club.  How do they find out about you?  Do they know who to contact?  What introduction do they get to your club?  How do you make sure they come back?

When asking yourself these questions, also consider your answers from different perspectives.  How would your answers change for a child, someone with a disability, someone from a CALD community (Culturally And Linguistically Diverse), someone who is the opposite gender to you, someone who is gay, or an Indigenous Australian?

3.  Consider the below policies and procedures to help guide the club towards being inclusive.  These describe what your club does/will do and sets out the expectations of members.

It is important that you check with your State Sport Association or National Sporting Organisation first to see what policies they have in place and available for you to adopt as well.  They should have them listed on their website (as should you!).  They may even have their own Inclusion Program for your sport.

Ideas for Policies and Procedures

These policies are guides only.  Your club should edit these documents to ensure they are relevant to you.  Make sure you review them and make sure your club does what it says it will do!

Codes of Conduct – The type of behaviour we expect of members, supporters, parents, coaches, and the committee.

Create an Inclusive Club Statement– this is a declaration of what your club’s attitudes and aims are around creating an inclusive, welcoming and safe environment.

Have a Welcoming Procedure including a buddy system – this helps new members assimilate into your club life and helps breakdown cliques.

Member Protection Policy – This describes what the rights of your members are and what the club will do to ensure that its members are safe.  Your State Sporting Organisation are likely to have one of these.

Junior Team Selection Policy – Giving juniors equal playing time, regardless of ability, helps foster a love of the game and of your club.

New Technology and Social Media Policy – There are legal implications of what people write on social media.  Some people may not be linked in with this technology either.

Complaint Resolution/Grievance Procedure – Victorian Incorporated clubs now need to have a Grievance Procedure in their Constitution which describes the process that the club with abide by if a grievance or complaint is lodged.  This would have been included if you adopted the Model Rules throughout 2013/2014.

Committee Induction – It is important that your committee retains consistency year to year.  An induction kit might describe the policies due for review, fulfill positions, include Play By The Rules online training, and plan for the next twelve months and beyond.

Promote Social Justice – Promoting the Prevention of Violence Against Women, Anti-Homophobia, and Anti-Racism helps to create a more inclusive and safe environment.

Flexible Membership Options – Allows more people to participate who may not have been able to afford a lump sum payment.

Addressing Transport Barriers – Allows those who are unable to make their own way to the club to still participate.  Consider what Public Transport is available near you or set up car pooling.

Run a recruitment drive including a Come and Try Day – Provide a relaxing and fun event for people to get involved in your club.  Your State or National Sporting Association may be able to assist you.

Run social activities to encompass all members of the club and their families – Just having events at night can limit people’s ability to attend if they have kids.

Target parents to become involved in the club – A great source of volunteers while their kid is involved in the club

Promote Message of Fair Play throughout the season – focusses on the positive messages in sport rather than focussing on being the best.

You may also like to review these sites to learn about some different population groups and how to embrace them into your club;

Women’s Health –

Aboriginal Co-Op



Healthy Sporting Environments - an initiative of VicHealth
Resources: Australian Sports Commission and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (Play by the Rules)