If you’re the sort of person who spends your weekend in your pyjamas bingeing on Netflix boxsets, have you ever wondered whether you could be doing a bit more with your time? Why not get off the sofa, pull on a pair of trainers and get out in the fresh air? There are dozens of sporting organisations across the country which are just crying out for help, and volunteering will get you out in the fresh air, meeting new people and perhaps improving your own fitness levels too.
Parkrun is a phenomenon which started in the UK and has now expanded into Ireland and the rest of Europe. It’s a collection of free to enter 5k runs, held every weekend in parks and public spaces all over the UK. Participants register on the website and get a barcode, which they can use at any of the hundreds of events to track their time. Parkrun needs people to volunteer every week to help runners with their barcodes and to act as marshals along the course. You won’t need to run yourself, but you will need to be prepared to brave the British weather and shout encouragement to runners as they pass. Another plus to being a Parkrun volunteer is that you don’t need DBS checking, so can start volunteering right away.
Kids Sports Coaching
If you used to play hockey for the school team or be a bit of a whizz on the basketball court, why not inspire the next generation in the sport? Although many sports clubs have salaried coaches, others will rely on the goodwill of parents and other volunteers to keep teams running and help out with coaching. If you’re going to be coaching on a regular basis or at least once a week, you’ll need to be DBS checked which will be arranged through the governing body for the sport concerned. If you’re a volunteer there will be no charge for this checking.
Large Event Volunteering
Thousands of people got involved in sports volunteering at the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and if you know where to look there are regular similar vacancies for stewards and volunteers at other events. You won’t be paid for directing cars to parking spaces or keeping the crowds off the golf course, but you’ll be provided with lunch, and perhaps get access to the event free of charge after your shift is over. With recent announcements that the Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham in 2022, there will be even more opportunities for sports fans to get involved with running the Games.
Many large sports venues and stadiums use a team of stewards and other ad-hoc staff for man the grounds during events. The pay is often at minimum wage level, but you might be able to see your favourite team play without having to buy a ticket, while directing fans to their seats or clearing up litter once the game has finished and everyone’s gone home.