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Sport England publish new volunteering strategy!

Sport England's new volunteering strategy, Volunteering in an Active Nation, accompanied by a number of new funding opportunities, puts the experience of the volunteer and a drive to increase diversity at the heart of efforts to support volunteers. After all, without them most community sport simply wouldn’t happen.
CLICK HERE to download Volunteering in an Active Nation.

The double benefit of volunteering
Working with a range of expert partners including academics, the NCVO Institute for Volunteering Research and the National Citizen Service, Sport England discovered powerful evidence that shows that giving your time can improve your health, reduce stress, build confidence and improve your skills. That means volunteers who give their time to make sport happen in their community enjoy many of the benefits associated with actually taking part in sport.

Changing perceptions of volunteering
While there are 5.6 million volunteers in sport who do a great job, some people are put off because they think you have to be fit, sporty or know all the rules. You don’t.!
Volunteering in sport doesn’t have to take place in traditional sports club environments and people give their time for a really broad range of reasons, and in a variety of roles. Sport England want to make sports volunteering more diverse.A typical sports volunteer is white, male, and relatively comfortable financially. Their contributions are absolutely vital, but proportionally fewer disabled people, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic people volunteer in sport.

New funding opportunities
In January 2017, Sport England are launching two new funds to support projects for groups where they have identified significant untapped potential. Full details of how to apply will be published in January, and the funds will open for applications in February.

Potentials Fund
Getting involved in mentoring, supporting people and improving your local area – a form of youth social action – is already popular with young people.But social action organisation Step Up To Serve Open in a new window has identified a large group they call ‘Potentials’ – young people who are interested in doing something for their community, but haven’t yet made a commitment. In fact 70% of 10- to 20-year-olds say they want to do more social action in the next 12 months.This group is a particularly interesting audience because many of them love sport and physical activity: half of 16- to 24-year-olds would prefer to give their time in something sport-based.

Sport England want to unleash this potential by funding projects which target young people who haven’t regularly volunteered in the past. They will be  working with the #iwill campaign £3 million in projects which will benefit 10- to 20-year-olds and their communities now. It’s also a long-term investment in those communities – according to the Youth Social Action Survey 2015, people who start volunteering when they’re young are more likely to continue in later life.They will be mainly looking for projects which connect with the lives and aspirations of 10- to 20-year-olds.

Supporting people who already volunteer
Millions of people already provide time, effort and skills to help other enjoy sport and physical activity. They deserve to feel encouraged and valued.By far, the highest concentration of volunteers is in sport clubs – 75 per cent.Sport England's tailored programme of training, information and support, Club Matters  has established itself as a useful, trustworthy and reliable resource. So in 2016/17, they set aside £3 million to continue Club Matters to make sure that club administrators get the help they need.
Sport England are also looking to make further improvements to it.
Need to know facts
Name of funds: Opportunity Fund and Potentials Fund
Investment guides: January 2017
Opening: February 2017  
Awards: June 2017