Sport England has issued advice aimed at helping clubs take control of community assets. The Community Rights for Sports guidance, which is available as an interactive guide, provides step-by-step advice to clubs on how to protect sporting assets in their local communities.
Protection from development
By listing pitches, pavilions, sports halls and other sporting facilities as Assets of Community Value (ACVs), organisations can secure the right for a community to bid for them if they become available for sale at a later date. ACV status can therefore be used to protect facilities from being sold to developers without the local community having a chance to submit a bid. Listing the facility as an ACV does not create an obligation to manage or buy the asset.
The approach has been used successfully in other sectors, with not-for-profit organisation CAMRA prominent in protecting pubs from closure for the benefit of local communities.
The guidance also covers advice on Community Asset Transfers, which involve the transfer of ownership of land or buildings from a statutory body to a community organisation. This occurs at less than market value for the benefit of the local community, and provides a way to grow sports clubs, increase membership and improve links with local communities.
Finance and other support
Securing the right to bid is only the first stage in the protection of community assets. The Community Rights for Sport guidance provides advice and support on securing funding for bids, transfers and builds, examining how clubs can raise finance to fund their projects, and discusses other forms of support for clubs under the Localism Act 2011.
The guidance offers a toolkit for clubs, providing clear direction for those seeking to secure community assets from the threat of development, and will be welcomed by sports clubs as an aid to protecting often irreplaceable local facilities for future generations.