Looking after Volunteering into the Millennium

If 650 young people can contribute 56,350 hours of sports volunteering between them in one year, then imagine the results if more of us gave the same.

 

An impressive haul in anyone's book and one that shows how rewarding young people for the time they give to sport can reap benefits for others.

In 2012, Sport Wales teamed up with GwirVol (who run the Millennium Volunteers programme in Wales and who are administered by WCVA), Sports Leaders UK and Street Games Wales to launch the MV50 Sport Award.

The MV Award had already recognised over 14000 young people in Wales who had given 50, 100 or 200 hours of their time to volunteering, but the decision was made to specifically target sports volunteering with a new award.

MV50 Sport was aimed at the many young volunteers in Wales who volunteer in school and community sport and who sometimes do not think that they are volunteering. It received the Inspire Mark in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Young people who volunteer in sport can sign up to MV 50 Sport, log their hours and get recognised for their commitment. 

Impressively, between September 2012 and December 2013 nearly 650 MV Sport Certificates have been claimed by young people aged 14-25 across Wales.

This breaks down to 379 claiming MV50 Sport Certificate, 182 continuing on to achieve their 100 hour certificate, and 96 achieving the highest accolade of 200 hours.

In addition, over 50 organisations across Wales have now signed up with Gwirvol to offer the MV 50 Sport Award to their young volunteers and hundreds more have benefited from a young volunteer signing up to MV at their local Volunteer Centre.

And the additional outlay that launched the programme was just a £3,000 investment to produce the resources.

Richard Dando, Senior Officer at Sport Wales commented:

"Young people like our Young Ambassadors, and sports leaders who volunteer in school and community sport, play a significant role in getting every child hooked on sport for life but also saving valuable financial resources that paying coaches to deliver the equivalent amount of sport would bring.  It is important these young people are recognised for their efforts through a national project like Millennium Volunteers as this may encourage them to continue volunteering into adulthood."

David Heald, Millennium Volunteer Co-ordinator with GwirVol said:

"The MV50 Sport Award has been a very successful project to date and it is growing and recognising more young people across Wales. The introduction of the interactive feature of the GwirVol website (www.gwirvol.org) so that young people can log their hours online or using many smartphones has also given the programme an even greater boost. The key has been to have the range of different organisations working together towards a common goal and including the input of young people themselves through the involvement of Sport Wales Young Ambassadors."

Rob Guy, Sports Leaders UK National Manager for Wales said:

"We also know that people of all ages appreciate being rewarded and recognised, especially if they are working in a voluntary capacity.

"We need to encourage people to keep volunteering and make it into a lifelong habit if we are going to get every child hooked on sport for life in Wales.

"The figures we have seen so far are only the tip of the iceberg as we know there are lots of local initiatives to recognise the volunteering efforts of young people. The difference with MV is that is recognised across the whole of Wales and organisations that 'do their own thing' instead of the MV programme mean that any recognition remains local.

"The key to success if for organisations to keep recognising achievement on a local basis but also highlight achievement on a Wales wide basis by including all their volunteers aged 14-25 in the MV programme."

Young Ambassador Catrin Norton commented:

"I love MV50 because it allows me to get recognised for the hard work I put into volunteering. It provides evidence of my volunteering hours for anyone to see including future employers. The work of volunteers is vital in helping achieve Sports Wales' aim of getting every child hooked on sport for life and MV50 is a fitting reward."

 

The Key To Success:

  • *National recognition is important as is Welsh Government backing for the programme
  • *Building on the established means of recognising youth volunteering but giving it a sporting dimension
  • *Partners with different areas of expertise have come together to pool resources and knowledge
  • *Young people have been involved in design and development from the beginning

 

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