Ownership | Club Respect Ownership | Club Respect

Club’s vary wildly in how well they manage people’s health and well-being. There’s a bit of ‘that’s not my problem’, sometimes. Other times, people simply don’t know how to help.

If someone has or is thinking about asking for support, they’ll only follow through if they feel their peers encourage reaching out and are prepared to meaningfully support them in whatever way that person needs.

When a club commits to becoming a place of respect, fun, fairness, safety and success, by definition, it’s committing to an intrinsic involvement in the well-being of its people.

There will always be issues of health and well-being in any community of people. It’s extremely likely that more of your peers than you realise are grappling with issues like anxiety, depression, grief and loss, eating disorders, an abusive relationship, a drink or other drug problem, problems at home with the kids or issues at work.

Sports clubs are no exception. In fact, they’re the place people are most likely to seek support, and so are enormously powerful.

  • Listen and Act on feedback

    People in clubs need to feel confident that they can have their say and know that they’re being heard and respected.

    Members become frustrated if:

    • they aren’t listened to
    • club officials react defensively
    • constructive feedback isn’t acted upon.

    Sometimes clubs don’t even bother to provide decent feedback mechanisms. Some people think it’s okay to air their opinions in aggressive and destructive ways, which doesn’t help either.

    A club aspiring to be a place of respect, safety, fun, fairness and success will make sure that it has good processes for hearing what it’s supporters and members have to say. These clubs act on feedback in ways that are transparent and meaningful.

    They see listening to their members as opportunities for growth.

    Some golden rules for dealing with feedback:

    Step 1
    Create opportunities for people to give their feedback –


    • Ask some members and supporters during a game their opinion on aspects of the club.
    • Put an anonymous suggestion box in the clubrooms.
    • Think about nominating a member of your committee who might take this on as one of their roles.


    • Have a clear and well publicised process in place that allows people to bring that issue to the club in a constructive and safe manner.
    • When new people come to the club, make sure they’re aware that the club values their opinions and point to the processes the club has in place for giving feedback.

    If your club has the capacity, nominate someone who you feel people in and around the club would feel comfortable talking with.
    Their role would be:

    • Acting as another point of contact for members to provide valuable feedback
    • Helping people deal with issues as they arise
    • Helping with members’ well-being and club culture generally
    • Helping the committee devise and enact solutions that are relevant and practical to members.

    Most people don’t talk just to listen to their own voice. People want to connect.

    By all means be discerning, but trust people when they’re talking about their own feelings and experiences.

    Step 2 – Act on it
    When someone listens and acts constructively on the feedback, everyone wins. It could be as simple as:

    • Saying to someone that you will take the matter up with the committee
    • Doing so
    • Then reporting back the outcome.

    If the outcome is a reasonable response to the feedback, it will usually be accepted in good faith.

    Step 3 – Point people in the right direction
    Direct people to the most appropriate person to talk to if it isn’t yourself. This ties in with the need to have known processes in place for people around the club to give feedback.

  • Importance of Volunteers

    The 10 Golden Rules of working with Volunteers:

        1. Mutual respect, trust and decency underpin club operations across the board.
        2. Everyone’s lived experience and wisdom is acknowledged and appreciated. Make optimum use of this wisdom and experience by finding out the individual skills and strengths each person brings to the club.
        3. There’s reciprocal value adding: volunteers value-add to the club and the club value-adds to the experience of volunteers.
        4. Real work and real tasks around the club are purposeful and roles are clear. Volunteers are consulted as to their choices with tasks and aren’t confined to menial jobs.
        5. A good fit or match is sought between the volunteers and the club. This requires close listening, discussion of interests and background, imaginative allocation to tasks, supporting them with good orientation to the club and, where appropriate, training at the club.
        6. Volunteers are constructively supported into working semi-autonomously. Self-confidence increases  with the honing of skills and broadening of experience. It’s crucial that they aren’t set up to fail or overwhelmed by tasks and expectations that are too great.
        7. Apart from club officials, volunteers generally shouldn’t be placed in positions, or on tasks, within the club that places them into a management or decision-making responsibility or liability. All roles and responsibilities around the club need to be clearly defined with this in mind.
        8. Trust the common sense and capacity of volunteers to work to their best sides, this enables volunteers to flourish in the club.
        9. Volunteers need to genuinely feel that they’re part of the show.
        10. We all recognise that the greatest asset of any club is its people – volunteers are part of this asset base – and worthy of investment.
  • Member Well-being

    Clubs have a wonderful opportunity to create a place that contributes positively to the well-being of people in the local community. A scan of the factors affecting our communities’ health and wellbeing right now, gives us insight into the needs of people in our clubs.

    Here are some telling facts:

        • 1 in 4 Australian students are experiencing bullying.
        • 1 in 5 Australians have experienced symptoms of a mental disorder in the past 12 months.
        • There’s an average of 8 suicides per day in Australia.
        • Australia has one of the highest rates of reporting of sexual harassment in the world.
        • Family violence is the leading cause of illness, death and disability for Australian women between the ages of 17-45.
        • Alcohol’s annual burden to Australian society is $36 billion, with direct costs to government nearing $10 billion.
        • The social cost of gambling to the community is estimated to be at least $4.7 billion a year.

    We can expect these national trends, as well as others, to be reflected in our clubs. Sport mirrors society. So, what role is there for sporting clubs in helping their members who are dealing with these issues?

    If you look back at the data, you’ll notice that all of these issues are preventable. That is, with the right information, provided in the right way, clubs could, at a minimum, educate people about the causes and cures of these diseases.

    Below are some helpful tips and resources to educate yourself and your members about some of these serious, life changing factors. Most importantly, these resources give you the language to talk about these issues and point people to places where they can access help.

    You’re not expected to be an expert in disease prevention. But you can be a vital link between your club members and the information and resources that can contribute to their well-being.


        • Bullying is the repeated and intentional targeting of someone aimed at hurting them; it’s not a one-off event.
        • It’s a form of violence that manifests in different ways; verbal abuse, psychological and emotional abuse, physical actions, manipulative and covert strategies and through social media.
        • Bullying is present in all parts of society and is something that all sporting clubs need to contend with.
        • Get expert advice at Play by the Rules and Rosie

    Depression and Anxiety

        • Depression and anxiety can be difficult to observe in others. You might notice changes in a person’s behaviour like becoming more withdrawn, being highly stressed for a prolonged period, or fluctuating suddenly between the two.
        • The best thing sporting clubs can do is keep messaging to their members about signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety and where they can go to get help.
        • Get expert advice at Beyond Blue and Rosie


        • The rates of suicide in the Australian population are extremely high. This means that it’s likely that clubs will have members who are having suicidal thoughts or have friends or family who is dealing with the suicide of someone close to them.
        • Clubs should message to all members to be ready for when a person comes forward to discuss their suicidal thoughts. We’ve developed the BASIC guide to help you in these moments.
        • In these situations, the key is really listening to the person and supporting them to access advice from the correct agencies.
        • Get expert advice at Lifeline and Beyond Blue

    Family violence

        • The rates of family violence in Australian society are in epidemic proportions.
        • Your club should expect that there are members who are either a victim or perpetrator of family violence.
        • Clubs should message to all members to be ready for when a person comes forward to discuss family violence. We have developed our BASIC guide to help people with these moments.
        • Club members should support these people by linking them to the following support services.
        • Get expert advice at 1800 RESPECT and Our Watch


        • Sporting clubs are often dealing with the impact of alcohol in and around the club.
        • Club Respect recognises the wonderful work that Good Sports have done in this space to support clubs, check them out.
        • Get expert advice at Good Sports and Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF)


        • There are countless issues caused by drugs and drug addictions in our society. Sporting clubs will definitely see the impact of drugs upon people in their community.
        • Club Respect recognises the excellent resource of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and recommends you utilise this as a resource to assist you to support your members.
        • Get expert advice at Alcohol and Drug Foundation


        • So many social issues in our community are linked to problem gambling. Your club is likely to have people who do have a gambling addiction.
        • The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation is an excellent resource to help people dealing with gambling. It also has resources to help you with your messaging around the club.
        • Get expert advice at The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

    Member Protection Information Officers

        • Member Protection Information Officers (MPIO’s) can act as a point of contact for people seeking support. They are trained to provide information and guidance on complaints procedures.
        • Get expert advice at Play by the Rules (free MPIO training course).

How would you rate your club right now?


Club members trust the club’s process and feel confident that their feedback is valued and encouraged. In fact, giving any type of feedback is encouraged.


Club members have access to channels for raising issues and providing feedback. However, these channels are not effectively communicated, leaving many members unaware they exist.

Club members struggle to find the right person to raise an issue, but if the club knows about it they will try to resolve it.

Club members feel disconnected from the club and lack confidence that their issues will be adequately addressed.