Dunedin Og

Developing governance structures

Dunedin Og was formed in 2013 by Niall Considine as the youth team for Dunedin Connollys GFC in Edinburgh - one of only five adult Gaelic football clubs in Scotland.

Whilst the sport of Gaelic football in the country is still growing, the club enjoys a strong membership base with its boys and girls teams bringing together young people from different social classes across Edinburgh. The club runs regular trips away to places such as Dublin, London and Madrid, and offers free places to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving them a valuable opportunity to broaden their horizons.

HOW SPORTED HELPED

One of the challenges of running a Gaelic football club is the sport doesn’t have the same awareness and volunteer networks of more established sports like football and rugby. Similarly, the governance structures and regulations are relatively undeveloped, meaning grassroots clubs have less guidance and resources to draw upon to strengthen their own structures.

To support the development of Dunedin Og, Sported paired Niall with experienced Sported volunteer Neil Rutherford to provide long-term mentoring. Through discussions it was decided to focus support on establishing more formal structures within the club, including setting up committees, increasing the number of people taking responsibility for the different areas of the club, financing, and identifying the short and medium-term planning requirements to achieve it.

Reflecting on Sported’s volunteer mentor support, Niall said: “The nature of the sport means you don’t always have a lot of other people to help check things off. Our club relies on volunteers, so you can’t burden them with too much. I’d have ideas in my head about how I could develop the club which I’d chat through with Neil. It was great to have somebody from the outside to listen to what I was thinking, critically analyse our plans and point us in a direction that was more beneficial than the one you were going down.”

THE RESULTS

An analysis of Dunedin Og’s pre and post-support surveys reveals the club has built its capacity by 26% over 17 months since starting Sported mentor support. The club has developed a three-year business plan and have identified many areas where they have to develop more robust procedures.

The biggest improvements have come in the areas of sound finances. This should support the club's delivery as they spend a lot of money on travel due to geographical spread of the small number of other Gaelic football clubs in the country.