May 04, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
Sport England has launched runningsports, its new portfolio of training and support resources for volunteers. runningsports is designed to support volunteers involved in team, club or community group administration and management and will play a key role in the drive to develop skills across the sector.

The portfolio was launched at Westminster at the meeting of Sports Strategic Partnership for Volunteers, a sector-wide group developed by Sport England as part of its drive to support and develop sport’s 5.8 million volunteers. (1)

Martin Offiah, who works with Sporting Champions, the Sport England organisation that encourages sports participation and involvement through sporting ambassadors, launched runningsports, saying:

“Volunteers make a massive difference. They’re the people who really make sports happen. And without their help in amateur clubs for most sports, professional sports at the level I was able to play just wouldn’t exist. I certainly would never have come so far if it wasn’t for their support.”

“Volunteers are the key to creating the next generation of sporting champions and to making sport a daily reality for all those who just want to enjoy being able to participate. So the more we can support them the better. I think the support that runningsports gives to these essential people is ideal.”

Stephen Baddeley, Interim Chief Executive Sport England, said: “We are delighted to have launched this new runningsports portfolio. Volunteers play a crucial role in sport at all levels and effective volunteer development will support our drive to increase participation in sport and develop talent. Just as we invest in those taking part in sport, it’s vital that we invest too in the volunteers who do so much to run sport in this country. runningsports is a key component of Sport England’s work in this area. ”

Lisa Wainwright, Head of National Sport, added: “Volunteers’ passion, enthusiasm and drive are invaluable; if this can be channelled and combined with the right tools, tactics and techniques, the potential benefits to sport as a whole could be huge. While many sports organisations are already well run, a programme such as runningsports can provide vital support to help them maximise their efficiency, attract new members and support others to reach their potential.

“It can also help to ensure that we have an army of qualified volunteers come 2012, when an estimated 70,000 volunteers will be needed for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Developing our volunteers now will help to ensure they can support sport before and after the Games, as well as during the Games period itself.”

The runningsports resources will support a host of clubs and community sports organisations nationwide, as well as the national governing bodies of sport. The portfolio, developed in consultation with a range of sports professionals and volunteer agencies, comprises: - a new website containing free resources including top tips, best practice guides, volunteer case studies and frequently asked questions.
 Quick Guides and ‘how to’ suggestions – across a range of topics.
 Workbooks - providing detailed advice to volunteers on handling a range of issues their sports team, club or community organisation might face.
 Workshops led by accredited tutors across different sports and issues.
Notes to editors

1. ‘Sports Volunteering in England in 2002’ from Sport England, carried out by the University of Sheffield*, shows there are 5.8 million sports volunteers in England. This represents 26% of all volunteers - the largest single group in the voluntary sector. The time contributed by these sports volunteers alone in England has been estimated to be worth over £14 billion.
2. runningsports is Sport England’s programme of skills development and support for volunteers. The resources are being launched after a major overhaul of Running Sport and the Volunteer Investment Programme. These have now been replaced and come under the runningsports banner. The new resources reflect the latest good practice across the sector, as well as additional areas of support.
3. A range of testimonials from those who have previously benefited from runningsports resources are outlined below:

"I would say the club’s annual turnover since attending the workshop has gone up by between £10 - £15k a year." William Campbell, co-ordinator for Seamer Sports Association Multi-Sport Club

”runningsports is very informative and very helpful. Since using runningsports, we’ve recruited extra volunteers and the club as a whole is running smoothly.” Andy Jones, Pilkington Recs Amateur Rugby League Club

“Through runningsports, we found out how to enthuse, encourage and make things enjoyable for our volunteers.” Philip Scott Richards, Under 16’s Manager, Colyton Youth Football and Sports Club.

“runningsports provides a useful chance to see whereabouts you and your club’s development planning might be in relation to others and to benchmark against those standards.” Shelley Whitehead, Blackburn Centurions

“runningsports helps in every way, your goals, your aims, what you are looking for in terms of volunteers and the finance side of it.” Bob Barsby, TS sports footbal