Failure – not in my vocab

At a conference last week I heard a repeated message about failure which I hear on an everyday basis these days. I hear that the top techs from Silicon Valley consider it positive to fail and I also heard Harvard like to trot this one out too. And this is why I don’t agree with it… I really don’t see failure. I think that projects or events can sometimes turn out in an unexpected or un-hoped for way, but I don’t see that as a failure. Even if you don’t reach a C grade for an exam, I don’t see that as a failure. I see all of these turns of events as just another opportunity to try or do something different. To take another approach or try a different subject. I don’t see any of those as a reason to cite ‘failure’ and just give up. If I had given up every time something didn’t turn out the way I expected, there is no way I’d have achieved anything in my life!

Many of you reading this are running small social or voluntary organisations, clubs or projects and I believe for that reason, most of you are tenacious. I know that despite tough funding circumstances, lack of available premises, the difficulties of finding volunteers to help you, you don’t give up. And if you are a business owner, academic, social entrepreneur, employee or employer, you also don’t give up. You persevere. You persevere because you believe in what you do is the right thing to do – which is exactly how the team at RunAClub feel. We believe we can change the world and our own cog in the big wheel is taken utterly seriously – we are fully committed to providing support to ultimately enable everyone to have access to a range of well-run clubs and groups in their local area.

So, sorry Silicon Valley and Harvard gurus, this very socially obsessed and ordinary individual in a slightly chilly England, just doesn’t agree!
P.S. RunAClub is growing from strength to strength! More on that in the next blog.

Team Awards

It was great to see that the Cabinet Office is committing more to supporting small and medium enterprises (SME’s) to take on government contracts. This is something many of our funders, partners and ourselves have really been keen to see take off. In fact we have been fortunate to work with many Local Authorities ourselves and I do think it’s beginning to get a little easier than it used to be.

We held our RunAClub team awards this week – which was great fun! – and I thought I would select just one award to bring to your attention as many of you will know this person. It was the RunAClub ‘Growth’ award and reflects how brilliantly Chloe, who came in as an inexperienced junior customer support person and has really taken on her role and grown with it to become an integral part of the tech and customer support team. I know many of you appreciate Chloe’s dedication to detail and willingness to help and we value those skills in the team. Well done Chloe!

We have started September with a whoosh – more new contracts and many hundreds of clubs and thousands of members to come on over the next quarter.

As ever we are here to help you run your club – just let us know how we can help.


August tends to be a time some clubs and groups shut down, although for others this is their busiest time – particularly summer-time holiday groups for young people. Supporting close to 20,000 sessions now and with 24,000 members registered, we are going to be ramping up even more before long as we welcome another new Local Authority on board and a National Charity with their community clubs and groups needing help to run their admin – more news on these next time!

More and more customers are asking for two things: the ability to record, administer and manage small grants and grantees and the ability to manage a committee using RunAClub. We can already help you manage your grant recipients and we are now offering a committee module so if you would like to know more about this please contact us!

Thank you for being a part of this amazing team at RunAClub, a team who are all working together as customers, staff, volunteers and other partners. What a team it is!

Social/Business Organisations

I thought I would chat a bit about social/business organisations in case it’s of interest to you! There is a move from government to begin to really recognise social led organisations who operate to achieve social impact, within a business structure. Read more…I have been involved in some of the research to understand the benefits and how government could support these initiatives – I hope this will ultimately benefit many of you reading this who may run small social businesses alongside voluntary organisations for example. It’s a real alternative to purely charities and voluntary led organisations and will enable social investment into the sector. I’ll let you know if I hear more on this.

As we allow the referendum result to sink in, I hope the voluntary and social sector continues to work together as we have always done. I have been involved in community action all of my life and that certainly isn’t going to change – nor will it for all of you I’m sure. Community work is firmly and forever entrenched into our lives and extremely powerful – something to be proud of.


The team at RunAClub are at our happiest when we receive fantastically positive comments from customers who use the system – ‘fabulous resource’ was a comment we had yesterday. We are at our next happiest when we hit our impact number targets. We have just reached 15,000 group/activity sessions that we have supported and our members of groups and clubs across the country (3/4 of which are young people but 1/4 are across the other age ranges) has reached 20,000.

Someone said to me the other day that what we do isn’t ‘sexy’. So, sorry we aren’t ‘sexy’ but what we are is incredibly focused on supporting the bog standard and dull as ditchwater admin that every activity, group or club of any kind across the country has to complete. And as we welcome aboard Dorset County Council as our latest customer with 200 more groups, we think that we are pretty bloomin’ sexy!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….:)


Zach’s Journey Against Abusive Head Trauma Foundation: A Case Study

Zach’s Journey Against Abusive Head Trauma Foundation was set up by Lyndsay Goodwin in honour of her son Zach who in 2003, at the age of 4 weeks old, was violently shaken and left with life changing brain injuries.

The support your club provides…

Last night I heard a young woman talk – in front of a roomful of people – about her experience of escaping war torn Sierra Leone. As a child she lost her young sister and had a son at aged just 13 after really dreadful circumstances. Her dad urged her to get to the UK as she had no life there. She had a relative here in the UK and she managed to get over at around aged 15 I think. But there were more dreadful experiences that she faced when she arrived. She spent a terrible few years homeless and with no support for her and her child. Eventually she met someone good at a youth club she was passing in Liverpool – she went in there because she felt she had nothing left to live for and it was literally a last hope for her.

Support, Volunteers and Funding

I am frequently asked if we can support informal projects, groups and events as well as formal clubs – the answer to that is ‘yes’ – we support any permanent or temporary gathering of any amount of people of any age, in any geographical area, with any interest type. Our aim is to support as many groups of any kind as possible.

New Year – New Statistics

Whoops. I’ve got to the 15th Jan without blogging the latest RunAClub stuff – how did that happen? Are we still in 2016?!

So, I wanted to reflect on some great stats from the last 12 months that make the team feel very happy….

  • Our growth in terms of clubs signing up has grown by 127% in the last year.
  • Our umbrella organisations have grown by 62%
  • The number of clubs actively using the system has grown by 423%
  • The number of sessions run has grown over 1000% (yes really!)
  • And the members and staff on the system has also grown in the hundreds of percentages too
  • We raised revenue, grant and social investment