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UK Coaching Team
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Coaching Skills

Global Applause: Give Volunteers a Hand

This blog post recognises the valuable contribution that volunteers make to the sports and physical activity sector, and explains that 2016’s International Volunteer Day theme is all about applauding those efforts

Volunteers are an intricate part of the sport and physical activity sector, often giving up their free time to make sure an activity or a sporting session runs smoothly.

Our 2016 Coaching Panel report found that 74% of coaches, and 84% of disabled coaches are volunteers, and on average will coach four hours per week, with 14% of volunteers coaching for more than 10 hours per week.

Put simply, without volunteers, most sporting activities wouldn’t happen.

But surprisingly, volunteer coaches also give up nearly a quarter of their time to the administration and travel that comes with coaching – often without recognition.

So why do people volunteer?

UK Coaching have long championed the benefits of volunteering in sport and physical activity and our recent Social Return on Investment research, conducted in Tyneside, revealed the benefits volunteer coaches experience, such as increased self-esteem and positivity about their futures, as well as enhanced career prospects.

Along the same theme, our Coaching Can campaign aims to disseminate information across the country about the wider benefits of coaching, especially for physical and mental wellbeing, as well as individual, social and economic development.

Sport England has also addressed the assumption that volunteering is solely for the benefit of others: “Whether it's marshalling a fun run, managing money, driving people from A to B (and back) or even washing the muddy kit on a Sunday afternoon, it’s always been those taking part that everyone focuses on". 

Sport England’s new strategy, ‘Volunteering in an Active Nation’, focusses on the dual benefit of volunteering - putting the experience of the volunteer and increased diversity at the heart of efforts to support volunteers.

International Volunteer Day

Designated by the United Nations in 1985, International Volunteer Day (IVD), which falls on December 5th, is an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism.

It’s also an opportunity for volunteers, and volunteer organisations, to raise awareness of, and gain recognition for, the contribution they make to their communities.

This year’s IVD theme is #GlobalApplause – ‘giving volunteers a hand’, and it recognises volunteers worldwide and all that they do in making peace and sustainable development a reality.

Therefore it is fitting for us to remember and applause the fantastic contribution volunteers make to sports clubs and organisations, from grassroots to elite, up and down the country.

Whatever your background, you can coach. If you would like to experience the dual-benefits of volunteering, find out here how to get involved.

The Social Value of Developing Coaches

Social Return on Investment report into how coaching changes lives

Read the report here

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UK Coaching Team