Spirit has awarded over £900,000 to England Athletics to deliver a volunteering programme called Spirit17.
Volunteers play an integral role in the delivery of Athletics across the UK, and Spirit17 will use the profile of the 2017 Summer of World Athletics and 2018 IAAF Indoor World Championships to inspire, recruit and train 2,000 volunteers. The programme will see 200 Athletics open days delivered by volunteers during London 2017 and Birmingham 2018 and will lead to increased capacity for athletics participants at club level. Part of the programme’s focus will also be on recruiting disabled volunteers and on enhancing the experience of the existing volunteers and officials in Athletics.
The funding has been awarded in response to research commissioned by Spirit of 2012 and conducted by England Athletics. The research looked in-depth at the diversity, motivations, experience and satisfaction of volunteers.
The full research will be available in December, but some key initial findings are:
Athletics volunteers love what they do – 87% experience personal satisfaction with their role citing improved wellbeing, increased happiness, and improved skills.
More people want to get involved but don’t know how or are worried they do not have the skills. In fact there are opportunities for everyone
One in five Athletics clubs would be able to deliver to more people if they had more volunteers
For half of England Athletics volunteers, the experience is so positive they have carried for 10 years or more even though the initial commitment may have only been one session.
Spirit of 2012 Chief Executive, Debbie Lye, explained: "This research confirms what we already see from other Spirit of 2012 projects - namely that volunteering not only plays a crucial role in making things happen, but also improves people's skills and wellbeing. We saw it during London 2012, we're seeing it now in Hull through our funding of the City of Culture Volunteer Programme, and we look forward to seeing that positive shift in Athletics volunteering once Spirit17 is underway."
Chris Jones, CEO of England Athletics, said: "We are very excited to be working on this project with support from Spirit of 2012. Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do and we are looking forward to helping more people get involved and making the experience even better for those already supporting our sport. “
• The full research will be available in December
• Spirit17 will form part of the London 2017 World Athletics Inspiration Programme.