An initiative which will put clubs at the heart of the city’s sports governance is set to launch.
ClubSport Aberdeen, which sports clubs can sign up to now, is represented on the board of the Active Aberdeen Partnership (AAP).
The partnership, who have 10 other stakeholders including Sport Aberdeen, Aberdeen Sports Village, the council and both city universities, have created separate body ClubSport with the aim of garnering input from sports facility users in the Granite City, as opposed to just the facilities themselves.
Another of their aims is to help local clubs to grow with the support of their fellow groups.
ClubSport Aberdeen secretary Tom Lambert said: “We decided we wanted a solid support network for clubs within the city.
“There were a lot of facilities round the (AAP) table, but nothing from users – a lot of whom are club-based.
“They’re now one of the voices round the table. (chairman) Brian Pahlmann now sits on the board of the Active Aberdeen Partnership.
“We want to grow clubs, support clubs but also be the voice of clubs.
“Our website has a forum section, which allows clubs to voice their opinion on things.”
Lambert said, apart from giving clubs a say at the top table, it also gives AAP a database from which to work.
He said: “ClubSport hold the information on participation, facility use, what might be needed, making them the perfect body for AAP to go to and say ‘we’re looking for some information, can you put it out to the clubs and see what comes back?’”
The ClubSport website also encompasses a first for Aberdeen, and should the clubs sign up en masse, a useful tool for the public.
On the home page of www.clubsportaberdeen.org is a search where users pick the sport they’re interested in taking part in and their location in the city and will then give them a list of affiliated clubs with contact details.
Of ClubSport’s aims, Lambert said: “The aim is to provide clubs with a good service, something they haven’t had in the past.”
The body is in the process of attempting to become a registered charity in order to reflect their intentions to work for the good of club sport in Aberdeen and put every penny back into this cause.
Lambert added: “It’s been quite a long process. We started it in November last year.
“We’ve spent that time just making sure we had the right people on the committee.
“Bill Berry, from the now-dissolved Aberdeen Sports Council, helped us with the interview process because he knows what the job entails.”
The committee is comprised of people from a range of clubs, including Pahlmann (Aberdeen Amateur Athletic Club), badminton coach Lambert, treasurer Gordon McIver (Sooyang Do), Angie Keith (Bon Accord MBC hockey club), councillor Len Ironside (Aberdeen Olympic Wrestling Club) and Mark Pain (Granite City Wanderers hockey and Granite City Badminton).
Membership of ClubSport is free for clubs until January. They will then pay a “minimal” cost (annually governing bodies will play £35, while members of these association will pay £25) and ClubSport have attempted to entice them with discounts for health shops and physiotherapists.
Club-centred conferences, covering topics members say they need help with, is one of the things the fees could go towards.
A launch event for ClubSport Aberdeen will be held at Pittodrie on Monday, where world and Commonwealth gold-winning cyclist Neil Fachie will discuss the benefits of sports clubs.