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Changing the face of volunteering

We’re investing £4.4 million of National Lottery money to build a new, diverse generation of volunteers

Volunteers are precious. They enable others to play sport and do physical activity, and in doing so enrich their own lives. Friendships blossom. Wellbeing improves. Communities thrive. 

That said, the 6.7 million volunteers in sport don’t represent the make-up of society. They’re more likely to be white, male, middle class and non-disabled. Our investment will not only mobilise a new generation of volunteers, it will target groups that are currently under-represented – disabled people, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, women and older people. 

Our research tells us that the demand is there – with a diverse group of people wanting to get involved in volunteering. Especially young people where social action is a top priority. Our investment will tap into that potential, and persuade others to get involved too.  

We’ve selected 32 projects that will help deliver that goal. Either through our Potentials Fund, which targets young people ages 10 to 20 who want to give their time – or our Opportunity Fund, designed to attract those 20+ from disadvantaged communities. 

“Volunteering and taking part in social action can do wonders for job and career prospects, mental health and making friends,” says our director of sport, Phil Smith. 

“We’re delighted to be enabling more volunteers to be the catalysts for change in their neighbourhoods. These projects will test different approaches.” 

Take a look at examples of the kinds of projects we’re funding.

The New Projects

See My Voice

Location: England, Nationwide
Grant: £122,480 

Imagine feeling that because you’re visually impaired, you aren’t being recognised or heard by those around you – especially those in authority.These are exactly the frustrations that many young visually impaired people were expressing to British Blind Sport, and are what drove them to start the See My Voice project. 

Through a mentoring, volunteering and leadership programme a group of Young Leaders will develop the confidence and skills to enable them to voice their opinions and share their experiences – ultimately with the aim of improving sport opportunities available to visually impaired people.

You can read up on the full list of 32 projects here. Each is being backed by one of the two volunteering funds that we opened earlier this year.

We’re also going to make sure that we reach as many young people as possible by partnering up with the #iwill fund. Created thanks both to government support and money raised by National Lottery players, #iwill promotes social action such as campaigning, volunteering and fundraising among 10-20 year-olds.

We’ll be investing up to £30million into volunteering by 2021. The 32 pioneering projects announced today will be vital to testing and learning what works best to bring marginalised groups into volunteering – helping us to reach many more potential volunteers in the future.

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