Volunteers in Sport: International Perspectives (BOK)
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Volunteers are central to providing opportunities to play sport, whether helping to run sports clubs, helping in school sport or at sports events. This volume focuses on the volunteers who support clubs. Approximately 150,000 sports clubs in the UK are supported by volunteers in roles such as coaches, treasurers, membership secretaries and other formal roles, as well as a myriad of other volunteers who help on a more informal basis. This structure of clubs run by volunteers is common to other countries; such as Germany, Canada, Finland and Australia. It is a valuable community resource; not only for the opportunities it provides for sports participation but also the more general contribution to the quality of communities. This club structure has been central to government policy to increase sports participation and has developed from the second half of the 19th century. Yet its maintenance relies on a nucleus of core volunteers in each club who take the major roles. Recruiting new volunteers - especially for these core roles - is always difficult. Despite central government in the UK having a commitment to developing volunteering, clubs are having to adjust to new relationships with local government as funding and subsidy of facility use is reduced. Trends in sports participation are away from the traditional team sports and towards more individual participation. Club members may demand an experience benchmarked against private or local government providers; regarding the club as providing a service as much as an organisation they contribute to. The chapters in this book contribute an international perspective to understanding these issues. It will be of great value to community sport leaders and scholars of sport sociology and leisure studies. This book was published as a special issue of the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics.