03 September 2022
A vision for the future of volunteering in sport has been unveiled in Brisbane today.
The Sport Volunteer Coalition Action Plan, developed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and a team of experts, outlines a new approach that will foster positive, safe and fulfilling experiences for sport volunteers.
The four-year Action Plan is part of the ASC’s renewed focus on sport volunteering following the significant impact COVID-19 had on the sector in 2020 and 2021.
Recent data indicates that sport has lost over 100,000 volunteers in the past few years and that the volunteers that remain are often undertaking more than three roles, risking burnout.
The Action Plan will be delivered against four key pillars:
- Celebrate: Communicate the broad value of sport volunteering through powerful storytelling
- Empower: support and connect volunteers in sport
- Reimagine: support the sector to re-design the sport volunteering experience
- Innovate: drive and stimulate innovation in sport volunteering.
Minister for Sport, The Hon Anika Wells knows firsthand the invaluable role this cohort plays.
Minister Wells co-founded the Chermside parkrun event with close friend Mark Huth in her electorate of Lilley in 2015.
The volunteer-run activity has grown year on year, recently celebrating its seventh anniversary.
“Without volunteers freely contributing their time and knowledge, sport in Australia wouldn’t exist,” Minister Wells said.
“The contribution that volunteers make to the sporting ecosystem in Australia benefits not only participants but also their families and our local communities.
“The Sport Volunteer Coalition Action Plan has a focus on supporting, celebrating and attracting more volunteers which will be central to the success of the Green and Gold decade as we build towards Brisbane 2032.”
2.9 million Australians give their time without financial gain as volunteers in sport, contributing an estimated $4 billion of labour value each year but more are needed to grow sport at all levels.
Volunteering in sport can also create a sense of belonging, connects communities and it can improve physical and mental health.Kieren Perkins, CEO, Australian Sports Commission
ASC Chief Executive Kieren Perkins OAM has welcomed the launch of the Action Plan.
“At its very essence, volunteering is about helping others and to do so while enjoying the fun of sport is an incredible opportunity that we can all take part in,” Mr Perkins said.
“Volunteering in sport can also create a sense of belonging, connects communities and it can improve physical and mental health.
“This Action Plan tackles a number of the challenges the industry is facing and I have no doubt that if the entire sport sector work collectively, we can advance sport volunteering.”
The plan encourages stakeholders to look out how they can leverage diverse skills, experiences and resources in volunteering while stimulating innovation, creativity and investigating new ways of working to respond to individual and societal shifts.
Following the release of the ASC’s Future of Sport Volunteering Insights report in 2021, the inaugural Sport Volunteer Coalition was launched in January 2022 to provide expert advice and guidance for the sector.
The Sport Volunteer Coalition includes experts from the sports industry, government and volunteering who are working together to transform the sport volunteer experience and promote the value of volunteering in sport.
Speaking on behalf of the 11-members of the Sport Volunteer Coalition, Adam Weir from Surf Life Saving Australia said there are endless opportunities to collaborate and support the volunteer network.
“We want to position volunteering as more than just an enabler for Australians to play sport and shine a light on the additional benefits realised from individuals becoming involved in the sporting community through volunteering.”
For more information on how to join the movement and get involved in volunteering, visit sportaus.gov.au/volunteering