New tools to support recruitment and retention of sport volunteers discussed at V4V partner meeting in Helsinki

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Earlier this month, the Sport and Recreation Alliance gathered in Helsinki, Finland with the other partners of the V4V project for the 3rd partner meeting and the first to take place face to face.

A key activity of the V4V project is the European Skills Survey on Sport Volunteering which had been open for six weeks before the meeting.

The partners were excited to learn more about the first findings from the survey and discuss how the results can inform the V4V Mapping Report of the Sport Volunteer Workforce in Europe and two new sport volunteering toolkits.

The survey closes today (30 June 2022) so please take the time to complete it if you haven’t done so already.

By the date of the meeting, just over 2,000 responses had been received from sport organisations across Europe, with over 80% coming from sports clubs or federations. Over 37% of respondent organisations have no paid staff showing the survey successfully reached grassroots sport.

36% of respondents stated their number of volunteers had decreased during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic, showing there is a need to attract people back to sport volunteering.

Other key findings of the survey so far confirmed that:

  • Volunteers provide sport organisations with energy and enthusiasm
  • Volunteers need to feel valued and part of a team
  • There are issues of not enough people interested in volunteering roles and low number of applicants
  • Lack of time and lack of recognition are key barriers to sport volunteering

The survey also confirmed the need for sport organisations to get support with recruitment, management, retention, and training of volunteers – a key objective of the V4V project.

Following a final push to achieve the maximum response rate, the partners look forward to using the survey results, along with results of interviews with volunteers and desk research, to produce a report of new knowledge for the sector on sport volunteering in Europe.

A large part of the meeting in Helsinki was devoted to discussion of an innovative toolkit to facilitate engagement, development and retention of volunteers in sport organisations in Europe.

This key output of the V4V project is being led by Leeds Beckett University and will be based on the survey results, desk research, and the expertise of all partners. At the meeting partners discussed the purpose, audience, format and contact of the new toolkit.

A further output of the project is to create a Competency Based Self-Assessment Tool to identify and showcase prior learning, transversal skills and attributes gained through sport volunteering. This was also discussed with valuable contributions from partners helping to shape this new tool.

Martin Lindsey, Chief Operating Officer at the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “It was great to join EOSE and the V4V project partners for our first face-to-face meeting since the launch of the V4V project.

“It was exciting to hear about progress with the European Skills Survey on Sport Volunteering and the plans for developing volunteering toolkits and assessment tools for the next phase of the project alongside sharing and learning from experiences with members of the partnership.

“The Sport and Recreation Alliance is looking forward to reviewing the final results from the survey and supporting the next stages of the project, including the production of the research report on sport volunteering in Europe and the development of the volunteer toolkit and the Competency Based Self-Assessment Tool.”

Learn more about the V4V Project.

Contact: Aurélien Favre - EOSE Executive Director -

Full list of partners:

  • European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) - France/ EU
  • International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) - Denmark / Global
  • European Volunteer Centre (CEV) - Belgium / EU
  • World Rugby - Ireland / Global
  • International Judo Federation Academy Foundation (IJF) - Malta / Global
  • Romanian Football Federation (FRF) - Romania
  • Finnish Athletics Federation (SUL) - Finland
  • Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA) - United Kingdom
  • Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth (IDPJ) - Portugal
  • Estonian Foundation of Sports Education and Information (FSEI) - Estonia
  • National Institute for Sport Research (NISR) - Romania
  • University of Physical Education (UPE) - Hungary
  • Leeds Beckett University (LBU) - United Kingdom
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