Hockey NSW engaged the help of a member protection expert, Morgan Lander, to conduct member protection awareness training at 66 clubs throughout New South Wales in August and September 2017.
The training was designed as an introduction to member protection and covered issues such as why it is needed; potential risks, the importance of information officers, and where to find out more information about member protection.
The roadshow formed part of a broader and long-term program of member protection initiatives, activities and projects that Hockey NSW’s board is supporting and resourcing.
The roadshow covered 6,233 kilometres and 12 regional areas including Wagga in the south, Parkes in the west and Grafton in the state’s north.
More than 170 people benefited from 26 hours of face-to-face training. Around 74 per cent of attendees admitted to having low familiarity with member protection in sport.
Member protection is fundamental to Hockey NSW’s broader aspiration to have 2,020 New South Wales 12-year-olds playing hockey by 2020.
We have recognised that an important part of growing participation is creating a sports culture that embraces and espouses the merits of member protection. Such a focus will also help retain existing players.
In the 12 months prior to developing the roadshow, our club feedback loops revealed that grassroots volunteers involved in member protection portfolios regularly faced challenges.
This has meant that mums and dads with minimal experience in mediation, judiciaries, constitutions and by-laws have often had to learn, understand and invest countless hours in trying to resolve member protection matters.
While there is no direct evidence connecting the complexities these mums and dads face with their reticence to continue in a voluntary capacity, we can and should be doing all that we can to make existing volunteers’ tasks around member protection easier, and to assist associations and clubs attract new volunteers.
Results from surveys of those attending the member protection training program showed that 90 per cent rated the training as either ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’.
Some 77 per cent also listed the training as ‘much better than expected’ or ‘better than expected’ while 87 per cent rated the content as either ‘extremely helpful or helpful’.
The majority of attendees would also likely recommend the training with 96 per cent rating their likelihood as seven or above on a scale of 1–10.
A number of participants commented positively on the relevance of the information presented.
One participant described the presentation as worthwhile and one that “should be compulsory for administrators”.
Another described it as a “great initiative and opened our eyes to what’s needed”.
A third commended Hockey NSW, writing: “This was very good of HNSW to travel to different associations to educate on this important area.”