Volunteers are central to providing opportunities to play sport, whether helping to run sports clubs, helping in school sport or at sports events.
This volume focuses on the volunteers who support clubs. Approximately 150,000 sports clubs in the UK are supported by volunteers in roles such as coaches, treasurers, membership secretaries and other formal roles, as well as a myriad of other volunteers who help on a more informal basis. This structure of clubs run by volunteers is common to other countries; such as Germany, Canada, Finland and Australia. It is a valuable community resource; not only for the opportunities it provides for sports participation but also the more general contribution to the quality of communities.
This club structure has been central to government policy to increase sports participation and has developed from the second half of the 19th century. Yet its maintenance relies on a nucleus of core volunteers in each club who take the major roles. Recruiting new volunteers – especially for these core roles – is always difficult. Despite central government in the UK having a commitment to developing volunteering, clubs are having to adjust to new relationships with local government as funding and subsidy of facility use is reduced. Trends in sports participation are away from the traditional team sports and towards more individual participation. Club members may demand an experience benchmarked against private or local government providers; regarding the club as providing a service as much as an organisation they contribute to.
The chapters in this book contribute an international perspective to understanding these issues. It will be of great value to community sport leaders and scholars of sport sociology and leisure studies.
This book was published as a special issue of the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics.
Table of Contents
1. Sports volunteering 2. An examination of the importance and satisfaction sports participants attach to volunteering support contextualized within a broader measure of satisfaction with the quality of the sporting experience 3. Consequences of the decrease in volunteers among German sports clubs: is there a substitute for voluntary work? 4. The relationship between types of sports club and English government policy to grow participation 5. Determinants of sports volunteering and sports volunteer time in England 6. Increasing sports participation in Scotland: are voluntary sports clubs the answer? 7. Connecting the community through sport club partnerships 8. Finnish sports club as a mirror of society 9. Development of the sporting nation: sport as a strategic area of national policy in Japan
Geoff Nichols is a senior lecturer at Sheffield University Management School. His main research interests are volunteers in sports clubs and events; management of sports clubs run by volunteers and the volunteering legacy of sports events. Recent research has included the volunteering legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, a national survey of sports clubs in the UK (for the Sport and Recreation Alliance), and research into how sports clubs recruit new volunteers (for Sport England). He has worked on two previous national surveys of sports clubs (both also conducted for Sport England). Since 2009 he has chaired the Sports Volunteering Research Network.