A three-point plan to help Wales increase the number of volunteers in sport to 300,000 by 2019 has been announced by Sport Wales to mark national Volunteers' Week (1st - 12th June).
With volunteers vital to getting more people in Wales active and hooked on sport, Give to Gain sets out three principles that all organisations, clubs or indiviuals involved in sport should follow to help them support and grow their volunteer workforce.
The number of sports volunteers in Wales has grown from 110,000 in 2008 to 235,000 in 2015 - the equivalent of 15,000 full-time employees in Welsh sport, contributing £300 million to the Welsh economy.
"We can only grow a larger skilled volunteer workforce if we support and develop people," said Carwyn Young, volunteering lead at Sport Wales."There are so many benefits to volunteering, including all the social aspects, training and health. We know thatsports volunteers are 82% more likely to say they have good or very good health, so there are a variety of positives that come with volunteering."
To support every person to play a part in sports volunteering, the three Give to Gain principles set out that:
1. Volunteers know exactly what is expected of them.
(such as clear role descriptions with time commitments or inductions)
2. Volunteers are valued, developed and supported.
(including education courses and workshops or recognition awards)
3. The mutual benefits of volunteering are clear to everyone.
(improved health, employability and confidence)
"These sound pretty obvious, but we know not every volunteer has this experience," added Young. "We want everyone in sport to adopt these principles and highlight the importance of bringing them to life in what we do.
"It could be that someone has never volunteered before - or they have volunteered for 20 years - but if these principles are used we have a better chance of keeping them in sport in the future.
"Volunteers really are the heart of sport in Wales and are driving active communities across the county. We have to make sport appealing, enjoyable and easy to access."
Give to Gain was a concept developed by the Sport Wales Advisory Group (SWAG), an independent group established to look at ways to boost participation in Welsh sport.
Research expert Richard Harry, chair of the group, commented: "Active communities and a strong volunteer workforce sit side-by-side. We looked in detail at the current picture in Wales and how volunteers are supported in other countries.
"These are simple steps that will guide all people who work in sport to develop real ways to support their volunteer workforce."
For more information visit www.sport.wales/givetogain