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5 ways your sports club can benefit from being more sustainable

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We all know that climate change is having a devastating impact around the world. But have you considered how much sport in Wales is feeling the effects of flooding, extreme heat, and water shortages too? And how can sport play its part in protecting our planet?

To help clubs and organisations do their bit to reduce their environmental impact, a brilliant new online hub is jampacked with ideas, guides and information.

So, what are the benefits of becoming a more sustainable club? Here’s our top five.

Saving money

As well as helping the planet, becoming a more sustainable club can also help you save money.

Solar panels, energy efficient LED lighting and motion sensors, improved heating and hot water systems can all help you lower your energy bills. 

Did you know that 58 sports clubs across Wales received an Energy Saving Grant from Sport Wales to help cover the cost of energy saving measures?

Elsewhere, in Llandudno, Maesdu Golf Club is working with Welsh Water and its Rainscape project to harvest water so it can be used in sprinklers around the course, lessening the club’s reliance on the mains system – and reducing costs.

Find out more about what Wales Golf is doing to play its part.

Top Tip: Look out for another chance to apply for an Energy Saving Grant soon!

Attracting new people 

In a world that is striving to become net zero, new members and volunteers will appreciate the efforts you make to be more environmentally friendly.

Increasingly, customers want to make ethical decisions so remember to shout about the moves you’re making to be greener.

In 2023, Run 4 Wales reported that 75% of participants who completed post-event surveys stated that protecting the environment was very important to them when choosing events. A further 21% said it was important.

Gareth Ludkin, Head of Sustainability at Run 4 Wales, says:

“We’re finding that participants are increasingly influenced by sustainability when deciding which events to enter. We have launched a Climate Action Fund which has raised £38,000 so far. It provides our participants with the opportunity to support conservation, carbon reduction and climate adaptation projects.”

Top Tip: Make sure you promote what you’re doing to be more environmentally friendly. Take a look at Run 4 Wales’ Sustainability page for some ideas.

Run 4 Wales’ ploggers – a group of people who collect litter for recycling as they run
Run 4 Wales’ ploggers – a group of people who collect litter for recycling as they run

Improving your reputation

Taking small steps to be more sustainable will improve your reputation with sponsors and partners.

Swansea Uplands RFC even hit the headlines when they ditched single-use plastic.

Club Treasurer Peter Hansford says:

“People are increasingly passionate about the environment and they are aware of what we’re doing as a club. And it is also recognised by our funders. The WRU and Sport Wales ask what we’re doing to be more sustainable in their funding applications.” 

Top Tip: Keep a record of all the steps you’re taking to include in future funding applications.

Creating a feel-good factor

Working together as a club on environmentally friendly initiatives can boost morale among members and volunteers. 

Llandysul Paddlers certainly do their bit to clean up the River Teifi. Taking to canoes, rafts and kayaks, they clear as much rubbish as possible. 

Joey Chapman from the club says: “We had more than 50 people come down to help. It brings us together as a club and a lot of the parents got involved. We love to take people out on to the river we feel it’s really important to help make it a cleaner place and protect it from damage so it can be enjoyed by future generations.”

Top Tip: Consider asking your members if there are any environmental projects you could undertake as a club.

Increasing community engagement

Working to improve your local environment puts your sports club at the very heart of the community. Being more sustainable shows you care for the area around you.

Welshpool Rugby Club, together with Ponthafren – a charity that helps people with their mental health - regularly organises litter picks around the town and has also supported local councillors in tree planting projects. Huw Williams, the club’s Community and Wellbeing Officer, says:

“The club has been recognised for its efforts from the local community. A local councillor has become more engaged with what we do since we started. They’ve seen us do the litter picks and they’ve asked if we could help with tree-planting as a result. Teaming up with Ponthafren is a great way to get new people involved and we use the opportunity to tell them all about our walking rugby programme.”

Top Tip: Find out if there are local initiatives that you can support and encourage local charities to get involved.

Welshpool RFC litter picking
Welshpool RFC litter picking
Two members of Welshpool RFC planting trees
Welshpool RFC planting trees

So how can your club get started on its sustainability journey?

Kick off the sustainable conversation – if you’re a club or a sports organisation, head to the new online hub which has some really handy information including worksheets, videos and guides. You may also want to...

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