Our latest figures show that 6.7 million people – 14.9% of the population in England – have volunteered at least twice in the last year to support sport and physical activity.
One of the most striking features of the latest research, however, is the stark gender gap in those who volunteer.
Active Lives Adult shows that men are much more likely to volunteer in sport and activity. This is in contrast to volunteering in general, where men and women volunteer in equal numbers.
In sport, male volunteers are also more likely to hold positions of influence as coaches, officials and committee members.
Tracey Crouch, sports minister, says: "This fresh insight into volunteering in sport shows that millions of people are playing vital roles up and down the country supporting the grassroots.
"But it also highlights a gender gap that we want to close. I know first-hand the positive impact volunteering can have on a person's life and I want sports to look at what more they can do to encourage women to volunteer."
Some of the key volunteering statistics include:
- 4 million (60%) of adult (16+) volunteers are male, and 2.7 million (40%) are female – a gender gap of 1.3 million (20%)
- 1.2 million (74%) of volunteer referees or umpires and 1.7 million (67%) of volunteer coaches or instructors are male
- People from lower socio-economic backgrounds make up 31% of the population, but only 10% of the volunteers
- Disabled people make up 21% of the population but only 11% of volunteers.
Phil Smith, our director of sport, says: “The contribution of 6.7 million volunteers in sport is immense. It helps individuals get more active, it benefits local communities, and it can do wonders for the volunteers themselves.
“However, there’s a lot to do to make the experience of volunteering in sport more attractive to women.