26 September 2023

Sports on-side when volunteers go missing

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A joint venture between Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia has been set up to help tackle one of the most pressing challenges facing the sports community during the COVID-19 pandemic — the loss of its volunteers.

The two peak industry bodies have entered a formal partnership to further develop their co-operation and explore new ways to promote volunteering around the nation.

Acting Chief Executive of Sport Australia, Rob Dalton said volunteers played a critical role within the Australian sporting landscape with over three million people contributing across all levels.

“With approximately 72 per cent of sport and recreation roles held by volunteers, the sector depends on them to coach our players, manage our community clubs, and provide positive sporting experiences for participants at all stages of life,” Mr Dalton said.

“The partnership announcement follows the publication of data earlier in the year showing a 65 per cent decline nationwide in the volunteer workforce as a result of the pandemic.”

He said the role of the volunteer was now more important than ever.

“We need our volunteers to help rebuild our sporting communities and contribute to our social and economic recovery,” Mr Dalton said.

“Recent Sport Australia data shows that up until August, over two million volunteers in sport had not resumed their usual volunteering levels, which illustrates the gravity of the challenge the industry is facing.”

He said the partnership with Volunteering Australia would enable the two organisations to work together to develop a range of strategies to overcome the barriers for getting people back out into their communities and sporting clubs.

Chief Executive of Volunteering Australia, Mark Pearce said participation in sport had the capacity to improve lives, strengthen communities, and hurdle language and cultural barriers.

“Volunteering Australia is therefore delighted to be partnering with Sport Australia to ensure Australians have the opportunities to offer the time and expertise so vital to guaranteeing sport in our country continues to thrive,” Mr Pearce said.

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