It is important for your sport organisation to provide a welcoming and positive experience for newly arrived migrants and refugees or other people with diverse backgrounds. The first experience that any person has at a sporting organisation is vital to helping them feel comfortable and motivated to return.
Sport organisations should take an actively inclusive approach to providing a welcoming experience to people from any background. To do this, you could consider providing resources, training and support to individuals at all levels of the sport, including committee members, administrators, volunteers, coaches, officials, families and participants.
Some actions your organisation can take include:
- Training. Provide face to face training to your coaches to build their capability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.
- Resources. Consider providing communication tools, plain language fact sheets, best practice checklists and educational resources to support the people who deliver your sport. Ensure you communicate these resources widely within your sport in different formats including written, visual and online.
- Food and drink. Consider the value of promoting healthy food and drink options. This promotes healthy lifestyles for club members and reduces the normalization of alcohol in the club environment, which is a cultural factor which could be a turn off for people who come from a country where alcohol is not consumed at as high rates as Australia. Your organisation should also ask members what you can do to support cultural or religious festivals that members adhere to which impact the way food and drink is consumed.
- Specific club roles: Many sport clubs nominate an individual from the committee to be the Welcoming Officer whose role is to actively welcome new families and members to the club. You could also instigate a buddy system to pair new members with someone who can help them feel welcome in their first few months at the club. Another role employed by some clubs is a Community Liaison Officer whose role is to engage local community organisations and residents and promote opportunities at the club.
- Translate resources. Consider providing general club documents in languages other than English. This could include club flyers, membership forms or any other documents which you require people to read or sign to allow them to participate.
- Leadership: Get your leaders, including committee members, coaches and others, to lead by example and create a culture that supports participation by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (for more information see the Leadership section).
- Understand the barriers. You can read the Centre for Multicultural Youth Game Plan resource to understand more about the barriers to multicultural youth. The Australian Sport Commission also provides a summary or barriers and links to further research here.
Recently VicHealth and the Centre for Multicultural Youth released a resource about promoting cultural diversity in junior sport. The two-page infographic Participation vs Performance provides relevant information and tips for clubs.
For more information, check out the following State Sporting Association pages about supporting clubs to be more inclusive: