As the Sport for Development sector flourishes, more organisations built ‘from the ground up’ are seeking services and providers who can help to sustain their growth.
Whether it’s a charity using sport as a tool to improve young people’s life chances in an inner-city, or an intervention programme aimed at preventing older people suffer from dementia or loneliness, more and more community-based organisations are finding out about the complexities of building, and sustaining a business.
This is exactly why Ripe Thinking created ‘Insure4Sport’, to provide an easy-to-use and simple-to-understand offer in a crowded marketplace. Insure4Sport now supports thousands of sports coaches, personal trainers, fitness instructors, teams and amateur sportsmen and women across the UK, and Ripe are keen to ensure that more sports-based charities and grassroots clubs are protected so they can become sustainable.
“It’s about helping those organisations that are responding to a need in the community,” explained Palesa Nteta, from Ripe Thinking.
“We get involved in many community initiatives and recently we got involved in Coaching Week, organised by UK Coaching, and ran a competition. The winner had organised a Walking Hockey team, which came about because people wanted to get involved but they weren’t quite sure what to do and they weren’t very physically active.
“The team grew from that original need, which is great - but once they became a team, they hadn’t realised they needed to be insured. It’s easy for people to just think ‘well if a lot of people want to get involved, then let’s just do it’ and then suddenly they are training once a week, and the community they created is getting bigger.
“That’s when they need to put in place all of those things that are key to growth, say for example, to cover safety elements. That’s what Insure4Sport is here to help with.”
Palesa’s colleague Neil Robertson added: “Insurance is hard enough for people to understand without us making it more complicated. Too often it comes across as jargon heavy and we need to show how it works in the real world. We are trying to shake up the industry a bit, and that covers everything from how we communicate to communities, to the quote process on our website.”
Insure4Sport is primarily aimed at helping the grassroots grow, based on 10 years’ of experience working in the coaching and fitness sector.
“We are specialists in sport and our main market is personal trainers, fitness instructors and coaches,” Palesa added. “We cover teams and players as individuals too, but where we really see growth is in the sports coaches, fitness instructors and personal trainer market.
“That’s because they are out there giving advice to the public and we all know that things can happen – someone could trip over a dumbbell, or you could be running a coaching session outside with kids. All sorts of accidents can happen, and for them professionally it is important to have insurance in place to protect themselves. So that’s predominantly the need that we have seen from our side.
“You’d be surprised how many people don’t know the cost of an insurance claim or if you are a coach running a session and someone suffers a serious injury, whilst under your instruction, and they hold you responsible…. people don’t realise that it could ruin your livelihood.
“We especially want to grow across the coaching sector, when you look at the work that Sport England has been doing, in terms of seeing more people take up coaching. That includes more women and girls, which we have seen reflected from our point of view. There are more female coaches now coming to us to get insurance, and more teams. We don’t insure professionals so we are interested in the community and grassroots football teams because these are your everyday people.
“Plus, the education piece is huge – a lot of people don’t know they need insurance. They don’t understand exactly what it protects them from, and that’s a big part of what we do as well. We aim to help them become protected because some of these unseen things can run into thousands and thousands of pounds. If you’re just starting off as a coach, or a business, then it could pretty much put you out of business!
“In many people’s minds, insurance can be complicated and convoluted. We’re trying to make it engaging, so it’s easier to understand and more simple.
“We do everything we can to educate and inform this community. We run PR and outreach campaigns for example, we recently ran a survey on parental attitudes to kids in sport and used some insights from coaches as part of that campaign. Our survey went out to 2,000 parents asking them about the safety of their children when they are playing sport, and in doing so we reached out to a coach to get their perspective on it. It informed other coaches on how they could put safeguarding measures in place.
“We feel part of that community, and we are also serving that community from within.”
Insure4Sport provides services across more than 400 sports, but it’s the social outcomes of sport and physical activity which are becoming a key focus.
Improving mental health is a key strand of its sister brand, ‘Cycleplan’ product, whilst Insure4Sport has also run recent campaigns focusing on challenging the public perception of women and girls in sport. Another of its sister brands Insure4Music also supported the ‘Music for Dementia’ project and, through its partnership with ConnectSport, Insure4Sport is keen to demonstrate how it can support more organisations using sport and physical activity to generate positive social outcomes.
“We do this not to show that we are interested in a burning hot topic, or analysing a trend, it’s also to get our audience actively involved,” said Neil.
“Ultimately we want to help organisations sustain themselves so they can help more individuals and communities across the country. Effectively we are helping them so they can help others.”
If you’d like to find out more about Insure4Sport pvisit insure4sport.co.uk/connectsport.
Or, to find out more about Ripe Thinking and its other brands visit ripeinsurance.co.uk.