With the recent National Volunteers Week I thought the theme for this blog should naturally be the voluntary sector, who we all appreciate as the foundations of local sport across the Borough.
During the pandemic the real value of volunteers was demonstrated to a large extent when local people kept members motivated, ensured the structures of clubs were maintained, applied and gained funding, delivered online sessions and also understood, adhered and applied the relevant guidance to ensure a safe return to play for all participants. A number of these community members and groups were highlighted in our Lockdown Legends of Sport and Physical Activity.
None of our clubs would survive without the time, dedication, commitment and input of volunteers; some of whom have been involved in local sport for a considerable period of time. I know some clubs struggle to recruit people to voluntary roles, but the Sport England Club Matters website offers support and ideas on recruitment and retaining volunteers. Most people I speak to feel valued and recognised by clubs, members and parents, who appreciate that volunteering isn’t just about the one or two club contact hours; it’s also all the additional work that goes on behind the scenes with administration, courses, managing finances, gaining affiliation and accreditation, organising and planning training sessions and matches, fundraising and washing kit! The power of volunteers working together to achieve delivery outcomes is such a positive thing to witness and it’s a privilege to work with all our community sport groups, and their amazing teams of volunteers. Recognising volunteers is another key aspect and I know clubs do have internal awards and incentives to help with the retaining of these valuable assets.
Within the Borough we have an amazing number of high level coaches who serve local clubs and their participants. To be a qualified voluntary coach it takes time and a commitment to learning, along with overcoming the financial and distance barriers; along with keeping components up to date and achieving continuous professional development to maintain standards. As a volunteer coach myself I know what goes into achieving and maintaining qualifications, but I’m a great advocate of regulated coaches and how they should be recognised, and how parents should realise that they are the right people to provide a quality learning environment for their young players.
I love the following quote from Sean Dyche of Burnley FC;
“You wouldn’t send your child to a school without qualified teachers, so why would you send them to a sports clubs without qualified coaches?’Sean Dyche of Burnley FC
We always try and support clubs with volunteer and coach development, and this will continue as a priority as we recover on the roadmap to assist with the sustainability of local clubs.
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart!“Elizabeth Andrew
Stay safe, fit and healthy!