chapter  12
14 Pages

Future challenges in working with sport volunteers

Volunteers and VSOs are at the core of the sport system to the extent that most organized sport participants have had and will continue to have significant contact with sport volunteers through the course of their involvement in sport. Sport NGBs, governments at all levels and local communities are reliant on a vibrant and effective network of volunteers and VSOs to establish, develop, coordinate and sustain the delivery of a diverse range of sport experiences for individuals with a wide array of motives, abilities and preferences for participation in organized sport. It is almost inconceivable to visualize sport in the past, present or future without volunteers and VSOs. Despite its significance and importance within sport systems, the capacity and sustainability of the voluntary sport sector is facing increasing challenges, not least from difficulties in the recruitment and retention of volunteers. These difficulties are linked in some ways to what Houlihan and White (2002) described as deep structural changes impacting on the development of sport such as equity issues, commercialization of sport, and contract-based relationships between government and sport NGBs. There is an increasing level of reliance on the voluntary sport sector as government reduces its level of direct service provision.