Opportunity for Coaches to Branch Out

ClubHub Facilities Development Project Introduction

ClubHub from British Rowing is a new suite of products and services, designed to support affiliated rowing clubs and their volunteers in the running and development of their clubs.

Currently this consists of the ClubHub Portal (an online membership management system for clubs, launched in November 2018) and ClubHub Guides (a comprehensive set of how-to guides for running a rowing club, currently in development.)

In partnership with Parkwood Leisure – a major national leisure facility operator – British Rowing is developing a third ClubHub project, aimed at developing the use of clubhouse facilities at off-peak times, to create additional income streams for clubs.

As part of this third project, British Rowing and Parkwood Leisure are seeking expressions of interest from affiliated clubs who would like be involved in an 18-24 month pilot scheme to trial, test and generate income from the project.

How this project works

A survey of British Rowing club facilities in 2016 confirmed that while the majority of clubs are very busy at ‘peak’ rowing times, many have an ‘off-peak’ period, mainly during weekdays, when their clubhouses see very little use. A number of these clubs would like to explore alternative uses for their facilities, especially ones that generate income for the club, but have found the overheads involved to be prohibitive.

Based on this insight, British Rowing and Parkwood Leisure are proposing to develop and provide resources for clubs that are interested in using their clubhouses as a ‘fitness club’ during off peak times.

The aim is to give clubs the ability to run indoor rowing, Pilates, yoga and other class-based activities for their local fitness community, without the need to individually invest in the type of staff, management, equipment and marketing that would normally be required to provide this kind of service.

These classes will be staffed and run in clubs by Parkwood Leisure’s UKCC-qualified health and fitness experts, who will ensure a professional experience for this new group of customers, whilst working closely with clubs to create a friendly feel that fits with the wider rowing culture.

Alongside this, Parkwood Leisure will provide opportunities for existing club coaches to widen their skills and training to run fitness classes within this structure, if they wish.

In addition to providing staff, Parkwood Leisure and British Rowing will work with clubs to develop clubhouse branding and marketing materials, designed to fit with the club’s existing identity, to help promote classes to the local community and to decorate the spaces where the classes will be delivered. Branding will be rowing themed, and therefore add to the appeal of the club and the facility as a whole.

Parkwood Leisure and British Rowing will work closely with clubs to devise a symbiotic programme of classes that are unique to each club, and fit around existing club training sessions and activity. Classes will be tailored to complement the club’s identity, and to appeal to the demographic makeup of its local community.

Why will this be of interest to your club?

There are a number of potential benefits to clubs, including:

  • Guaranteed revenue through a rental income stream from Parkwood Leisure.

  • Improved club facilities, through investment in redecoration and improvement where


  • Better connections with, and relations between, your club and its local community.

  • Greater usage of your club as a community asset, which may help with future grant

    applications or clubhouse tenure negotiations.

  • Improved offer to existing club members, with discounted access to classes.

  • Greater employment and training opportunities for existing club coaches.

  • No requirement to manage staff, who remain Parkwood Leisure employees.

    From a commercial perspective, each club and their site will be assessed individually by Parkwood Leisure, who will take into account space, capital investment and local demand to establish the viability of the project and its business model, with the intention of paying the club a monthly ‘rent’ to support overall club finances.

    In addition to this ‘rent’, Parkwood Leisure will offer clubs that participate in the pilot project 50% of any profit achieved over and above the levels agreed within the business model.

    How your club can get involved

    Early in 2019, British Rowing and Parkwood Leisure will identify a number of ‘early adopters’ to act as pilot clubs for this project, with whom we can work over 18-24 months initially, to refine and develop the concept.

    Preference will be given to clubs that can meet the initial project criteria, as follows:

  1. A useable ‘studio’ or ‘class’ space of around 100sq.m (minimum space would be 70- 75 sq.m.)

  2. A location within a good catchment area for potential fitness customers.

  1. A commitment from the club committee and/or management to support the project for its duration, and to manage the relationship between Parkwood Leisure and its members.

  2. Adequate local car parking space, or good access through public transport.

  3. Good access to clubhouse facilities, especially those that meet Sport England’s

    Accessible Sports Facilities guidelines.

Next steps

If you would like your club to be considered for the pilot phase of this project, or if you have any questions about it, please email Phil Hornsey, British Rowing’s Director of Membership & Community at phil.hornsey@britishrowing.org, including and/or confirming the following:

  1. Your name, which British Rowing affiliated club you represent, and your role at the club.

  2. The address of the clubhouse or facility you would use during the pilot.

  3. Which of the five criteria outlined above you meet, with any further contextual

    information that’s relevant to these criteria.

  4. That you are acting with the authority of your club’s committee or governance.

  5. If shortlisted for the pilot, that you will provide further information to Parkwood

    Leisure and British Rowing to establish a local feasibility plan.

Please send your email including this information by Wednesday 10th April 2019 at the latest. Note that you won’t be formally committing your club to anything at the stage, just making an expression of interest in the pilot.

Interested clubs will be contacted with details of a further selection process, to be conducted in the first quarter of 2019, which will include a local feasibility plan. Our aim is to start the pilot in a small number of rowing clubs in the second half of 2019.

About Parkwood Leisure

Parkwood Leisure specialise in the development and operation of leisure facilities on behalf of both public and private sector clients. Since their formation in 1995, Parkwood have grown considerably, managing a diverse range of sites throughout the country. Today Parkwood is one of the most experienced providers of Leisure Management in the UK, with more than 96 facilities operated in England and Wales.

Parkwood’s company culture is driven by three core principles; quality, care and excellence, and you will find examples of each of these throughout the business. Parkwood are passionate about providing the very best service to the communities they operate in, working in partnership with residents, members and facility users to ensure that local needs are being fulfilled to the highest standards.