Sport Australia Partner With Volunteering Australia
port Australia have formed a partnership with Volunteering Australia to assist volunteers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With over three million Australians volunteering in the sports industry, and 72% of recreational and sporting roles held by volunteers, Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia’s partnership intends to promote and support Australia’s volunteers.
Following the start of the pandemic, statistics showed a 65% decrease in Australian volunteers.
Sport Australia’s acting CEO, Rob Dalton, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted sport in Australia and the role of the volunteer is now more important than ever.”
“We need our volunteers to help rebuild our sporting communities and contribute to our social and economic recovery.
“Recent Sport Australia data shows that up until August 2020, over two million volunteers in sport had not resumed their usual volunteering levels, which illustrates the gravity of the challenge the industry is facing and the need for a coordinated approach between our organisations and our partners in the sports sector to address it.
“Our partnership with Volunteering Australia will enable us to work together and alongside the sector to develop a range of strategies to overcome the barriers for getting people back out into their communities and sporting clubs,” Dalton said.
The report showed 57% of volunteers in the sporting industry have not returned to any sports-related volunteering as of August, around a third of adults and children who were expected to play at least one sport between April and December, have returned.
2% of adults and children were also found to be playing more sports than before.
“There has been a singular focus on encouraging participants back to sport, but without volunteers, there is no return to play and our data is showing that volunteers are returning to sport at a proportionately slower rate than participants,” Dalton added.
“We are looking to deepen our understanding of the challenges for sports in the recruitment and retention of volunteers and work collaboratively across the sector to identify opportunities to support them,” he said.
Focus areas identified by the organisations include: attracting more volunteers to sport; reducing barriers to volunteer recruitment; and increasing volunteer retention and quality of experience.
Volunteering Australia CEO, Mark Pearce, said: “Participation in sport has the capacity to improve lives, strengthen communities, and hurdle language and cultural barriers like few other endeavours.”
“Whilst we celebrate our sporting achievements, these wouldn’t be possible without the committed efforts of over three million volunteers who support participation at every level.
“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,” Pearce said.
The partnership will be an initiative in alignment with Sport Australia’s focus on improving sporting organisations and achieving an effective and sustainable sports industry in Australia.