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Thank you to the sporting volunteers

To mark Volunteers' Week 2020, our head of volunteering Kristen Natale says thank you to all the volunteers involved in sport and physical activity.

1st June 2020

by Kristen Natale
Head of volunteering, Sport England

We’re marking Volunteers' Week this year by saying a heartfelt thank you to those who give their time to sport and physical activity.

Although we find ourselves in a challenging period, it’s still important to take the time to recognise volunteers both for the contribution they made pre-coronavirus (Covid-19) but also recognising the contribution volunteers continue to make across the country, helping to keep the nation active.

Beyond just keeping activity happening, volunteers are also continuing to help support mental wellbeing and maintain those social connections in our communities that matter so much at this time.

As part of our weekly survey monitoring activity habits nationally, we asked some questions on volunteering in the fourth week.

This showed that 50% of sports volunteers responding to the survey were still volunteering in sport or physical activity, in the same or different roles. Half of volunteers said they plan to support the coronavirus response in the next 12 months and a third to support sport and physical activity in the future.

Given all the challenges people are facing at this moment, it seems that giving time to support others through the crisis is still at the forefront of people’s minds and people are motivated to help.  

Keeping the nation active and connected

Volunteers continuing in their existing roles have been essential in helping and supporting local sports clubs to make it through the crisis; from treasurers and committee members looking after the sustainability of the club and its activities, to volunteers ensuring pitches and facilities are in good condition to open when the time is right.

Through Club Matters we’ve been showcasing how volunteers in sports clubs have been responding to the challenges and stepping up. Like Brighton Table Tennis Club’s Daily Check In to help keep members and volunteers connected, keep them moving and spirits high!

Our Active Lives Adult Survey shows that six million people, or 13.4% of adults, gave their time to support sport and physical activity at least twice in the last 12 months.

This is a huge commitment and it’s important we don’t forget the contribution volunteers have already made, supporting people to get active day in, day out before the pandemic.

Volunteers like Joy Jenkins, who won the Access Sport Volunteer of the Year Award for her role with the Women on Wheels Cycling Club and Team 100. Joy received her award as part of an online award ceremony - a creative way of still recognising volunteers with social distancing in place!

New ways of volunteering

But for many it’s not business as usual and volunteers and the causes they support have had to find new and creative ways to volunteer and keep people taking part. Girlguiding North West England have taken youth social action challenges online through their Motivate project, which is match funded by the #iWill Fund.

And Sport Young Leaders in the north west have been meeting online to record activity sessions to help other Guides stay active at home. Their water bottle challenge has also made the most of social media to keep girls connected and raise the profile of the Motivate project.

Many volunteers have been redeploying their efforts and skills in different ways to help support the wider community response to coronavirus.

Up and down the country volunteers are still making a difference, keeping the nation active and communities connected. We hope that you’ll join us this Volunteers’ Week in saying thank you to volunteers who give their time to help keep the nation active.

Share your volunteering stories and thank you messages on social media from 1-7 June using #VolunteersWeek2020 and tag Sport England.

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