The simple answer is yes! In fact, your running/athletics group may already be operating in a similar way to a formal athletics club. Perhaps you have runners who are looking to be more competitive and train harder and receive more expert coaching. You might like to seek funding to develop your group further, perhaps to cover the costs of coach education. You may want to target specific groups, or perhaps what started as a group of two or three people has grown larger and you want to formalise the group as a club.
No. We have had a number of recreational running groups who have become athletics clubs. For example, we have had several jogscotland groups affiliate to scottishathletics while retaining all their links with the jogscotland community.
You don’t have to change the sessions you offer, unless you wish to develop your club and members by introducing options for those who are more experienced and wish to improve further or you may wish to develop a junior or adult section.
You may have jog leaders or Coaching Assistants who will progress and gain their Coach in Running Fitness or Athletics Coach qualification, which would allow them to give more support and guidance to your members.
Consider how many regular members you have and how you are currently set up. If you have 30 or more members, offer competition opportunities, have a constitution and committee in place or are considering this, then you are already starting to operate in a similar way to an athletics club. If you collect money from the members and/or already have a bank account set up, you are set up like a club. This would be a good time to consider developing your group into a club which can affiliate with scottishathletics and have access to a wide range of support and benefits.
First check if there are any athletics/running clubs already in your area (you can use the scottishathletics club finder if you’re not sure and consider if your group may be better off linking with the existing club.
They may already have coaches in place who can help coach and develop your members and be able to provide an infrastructure that your club doesn’t yet have. If there is not a club in your town or the existing clubs are not suitable for your needs, then why not set up your own club?
Start by reviewing the ‘basic needs of a club’ page in the affiliation menu. This may identify some steps you should take before you go any further. Then visit the ‘how to affiliate’ page and follow the steps set out there to progress.
Please review the ‘club benefits’ page in the affiliation menu for more information.
It costs £7 per member to affiliate your club to scottishathletics. Most clubs raise this money through an annual membership fee. Once your club has become an affiliated club, each member can then choose to become an individual member of scottishathletics which brings with it many additional benefits: www.scottishathletics.org.uk/membership.
People who are club members can take part in open events, road races, cross country, track and field, hill races and ultra-distance. People who are also individual members of scottishathletics can also take part in County, District and National events. All permitted events can be found on our events page: www.scottishathletics.org.uk/events.
When the club is completing the affiliation form, it indicates what disciplines it offers – this doesn’t need to relate solely to what the club offers in training, as some athletes may wish to compete in hill running events or ultra-events but you may not offer this in training.
Every club is either unincorporated or incorporated.
An unincorporated organisation is established through an agreement between a group of people who come together for a reason other than to make a profit. Their rules would typically be set out in a constitution. Many sports clubs go down this route – quick and easy to set up and also cost effective as there are no requirements to register with companies house. It is usually very suitable for small, simple clubs that tend not to employ staff, own land or facilities or enter into significant contracts. However, an unincorporated club has no legal identity and therefore cannot sign contracts in the name of the club. If you want to enter into contracts in the clubs name, then you need to consider becoming incorporated.
An incorporated organisation is a legal entity in its own right. It can enter into contracts, employ staff and lease property. Incorporated status means the personal liability of members is limited and protected. Governance structures are more formalised within a legal framework. Further information can be found in the ‘basic needs of a club’ page.
When starting up your athletics club you should have a bank account in place with a minimum of two signatories as well as a club treasurer. Ideally, we recommend having a finance sub-group which oversees all the finances for the club. Accounts should be independently verified prior to the club’s AGM.
For more information, contact our National Club Manager, Lindsay McMahon.
A few clubs are lucky enough to own or hire facilities but running clubs will often just have a base within their local community where they can meet up and leave kit etc. Some clubs will meet in their local sports centre or another sports-based club such as a bowling club or community centre or even just meet in the local park!