Spirit of 2012 has awarded over £900,000 to England Athletics to deliver the volunteering element of ‘Team Personal Best’ – the inspiration programme of London 2017.
The funding was awarded in response to research commissioned by Spirit and conducted by England Athletics for a volunteering programme which aims to increase the number, diversity and skillsets of athletics volunteers.
Debbie Lye, Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012, explained "This research confirms what other Spirit projects are demonstrating – that volunteering plays a crucial role in making things happen. When it is well organised with care taken to train, reward and recognise volunteers it also improves people's skills and the wellbeing of both volunteers themselves and the people they support. We saw that during London 2012, we're seeing it again now in Hull where we’re supporting the 2017 City of Culture Volunteer Programme, and we look forward to helping drive a positive shift in Athletics volunteering."
Volunteers play an integral role in the delivery of athletics across the UK. The funding will secure the delivery of 200 athletics open days manned by volunteers during major events 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.
Niels de Vos, Championship Director of London 2017 Ltd, welcomed the investment in volunteering: “You only have to look at the record applications for our Runners volunteering programme to see the people are passionate about supporting athletics. It’ll be exciting to see our sport harness the interest in the Summer of World Athletics to better support grassroots athletics.”
Team Personal Best will inspire a programme of local community activities designed to get people who are encouraged by London’s role as host to become involved in grassroots athletics. Investment will be in five key areas – disability, volunteering, schools, community and international – with the aim of removing barriers and growing capacity for increased interest.
Baroness Jowell, Chair of the Inspiration group, commented: “I am passionate about sport and the power it has to change lives. Team Personal Best will give communities across the country the opportunity to get involved in 2017 and celebrate in the way that best works locally.”
Other partners confirmed so far for Team Personal Best include Sport England, the GLA, UK Athletics, UK Sport, England Athletics and London 2017 Ltd.