Among the innumberable difficulties faced by grassroots sports clubs today, one issue that never goes away is volunteers – specifically, attracting and retaining volunteers. Around 7 out of 10 local sports clubs require more volunteers. Hidden Diamonds is the ground-breaking research into the hidden value of sport volunteers, going beyond cost to measure the true value they create – through participation, wellbeing, trust and community.

Overseen by Join In, the initiative by the Sports & Recreation Alliance, the Hidden Diamonds uncovers the true value of sports volunteers. The returns on the investment of volunteers include immense benefits to the wellbeing of the UK overall – including benefits to the club at which they volunteer and, crucially, to themselves.

Volunteers are investors in your club

The research is laid bare in a brochure that should be of value to any local sports club. Going beyond traditional valuation methods, the research looked into the true value of sports volunteering – personal wellbeing and happiness of the volunteers themselves, plus the wider benefit to their communities.

The core belief is that volunteers shouldn’t be seen by a club as a cost-savings, but as investors – people who selflessly invest their time, skills and energy both for their own benefit and for that of the wider community.

Volunteering in sport makes you happier

The wellbeing benefits of playing sport are well established and widely-recognised, and what this research adds to those individual benefits is the wellbeing experienced by people who volunteer in sport. For example, the research found that volunteering in sport, compared to those who have never volunteer in sport, are 18% more likely to feel proud of themselves and 10% more likely to have higher self-esteem, emotional wellbeing and resilience.

Volunteering in sport gets the nation active

In addition to volunteering in sport making you happier, it also helps to get the nation active. The research found that one volunteer creates the capacity for at least 8.5 more people to play. As a society we know that sport and recreation can help address many of our most urgent needs – so being a volunteer in sport is one way to get active yourself, plus helping to get your local community more active at the same time.

Volunteering boosts communities

It’s also clear that sport volunteers act as a clear catalyst for improving local communities. The research showed that, compared to people who don’t volunteer, a volunteer in sport is significantly more likely to feel good about their community. Specifically, they feel that being part of their community is important and rewarding, that they have some influence on how their community functions – developing mutual trust, respect and increasing levels of well-being.

For a great deal more information, inspiration and ideas, check out the Hidden Diamonds brochure. 

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