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Blog: What’s it really like to work at Yorkshire Sport Foundation?

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Posted 16th March 2022

For the last year, Charlotte Ellis has been the Development Officer for Wakefield, and is now providing maternity cover for one of our Development Managers. Here she gives an insight into what the Development Officer role is really like.

It probably sounds like a clichéd thing to say, but there was no such thing as an average week in my time in this role. Each week was very different depending on what the need was at the time.

Recently, we have been working on the navigating local systems idea. This involved planning events alongside people from other organisations, and then bringing reflections together to review what we learned. As an example, we ran the A-mazing Wakefield event, which was about getting people along to come and have a chat about physical activity and how we could make it more of a priority.

In Wakefield at the moment, there’s so much going on with the Active Schools group; and following up with clubs and groups we’ve funded through the Together Fund. There’s always conversations taking place as opposed to lots of formal meetings, and building relationships to be there when people, groups and organisations need our support.

I’ve also been lucky to be involved in some work in Airedale, one of our focus communities. Some of the work and projects we’ve commissioned – working closely with Coalfields Regeneration Trust – has been fantastic. Airedale has got some great assets, but not really being used to its full potential. But now its brilliant going and seeing all the activities we’ve been able to help put on.

It’s not about getting hundreds of people doing physical activity. It’s the conversation with the young man I had, who had a number of problems and now has an escape from that through physical activity. It gives you a warm feeling inside to have played a part in that. I’ve stood and watched sessions and just smiled, and that smile gets bigger and bigger.

I left my comfort zone taking on this role. I’d spent a number of years prior to this working in or with schools, so my experience in community sports development was quite a while ago. But Gayle, my line manager, was there to support me in an open and honest way. I’ve learnt so much around communication and how you talk to people.

I’ve learnt how to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, linking different priorities and strategies, and how our work impacts on that.
I’ve learnt so much about the job and also about myself. Gayle’s management style is one of no hierarchy; there’s always been check and challenge in a non-patronising way; and there’s always been support. She’s been great in understanding how I work, and I feel like I’ve made a friend rather than her being a manager. She’s helped me realise I can achieve a lot more than I originally thought I could.

It’s a great opportunity for whoever is successful in the recruitment.

Find more information on the role, including the recruitment pack, on our website.

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