Skip to content

Changing the face of volunteering

We’re investing £4.4 million of National Lottery money to build a new, diverse generation of volunteers

24th November 2017


Volunteers are precious. They enable others to play sport and do physical activity, and in doing so enrich their own lives. Friendships blossom. Wellbeing improves. Communities thrive. 

That said, the 6.7 million volunteers in sport don’t represent the make-up of society. They’re more likely to be white, male, middle class and non-disabled. Our investment will not only mobilise a new generation of volunteers, it will target groups that are currently under-represented – disabled people, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, women and older people.

Only 10%

of volunteers are from lower socio-economic backgrounds

Our research tells us that the demand is there – with a diverse group of people wanting to get involved in volunteering. Especially young people where social action is a top priority. Our investment will tap into that potential, and persuade others to get involved too.  

We’ve selected 32 projects that will help deliver that goal. Either through our Potentials Fund, which targets young people ages 10 to 20 who want to give their time – or our Opportunity Fund, designed to attract those 20+ from disadvantaged communities. 

“Volunteering and taking part in social action can do wonders for job and career prospects, mental health and making friends,” says our director of sport, Phil Smith. 

“We’re delighted to be enabling more volunteers to be the catalysts for change in their neighbourhoods. These projects will test different approaches.” 

Take a look at examples of the kinds of projects we’re funding.

The new projects

Each is being backed by one of the two volunteering funds that we opened earlier this year.

We’re also going to make sure that we reach as many young people as possible by partnering up with the #iwill fund. Created thanks both to government support and money raised by National Lottery players, #iwill promotes social action such as campaigning, volunteering and fundraising among 10-20 year-olds.

We’ll be investing up to £30million into volunteering by 2021. The 32 pioneering projects announced today will be vital to testing and learning what works best to bring marginalised groups into volunteering – helping us to reach many more potential volunteers in the future.

Find out more

Sign up to our newsletter

You can find out exactly how we'll look after your personal data, but rest assured we’ll only use it to make sure you receive our newsletter, to understand how you interact with our newsletter, and to provide administrative information about our newsletter.