The Join In blog: Category "Local Leaders"

It was good to meet up with some familiar faces

Volunteers Interviewing Volunteers

Sports events would struggle to take place if it wasn’t for volunteers. And large scale events also sometimes need volunteers to actually help interview, place and support other volunteers, when a large number are needed. The role for this type of volunteer is commonly referred to as a Selection Event Volunteer (SEV).

A good example of this role in action is by one of our Join In Local Leaders, Anna Barrett. She talks below about the role she played in the interview process for anyone who wanted to be a “Runner” at the World Athletics Championships in London this summer.

Being a SEV

So, what is a SEV?  Simply put – it is a “Selection Event Volunteer”.  But what do they do and how do you become one?  Anyone who has volunteered at a major event knows that part of the application process is the “interview” …but what about the people who ask the questions?

What made you decide to become a Selection Event Volunteer?

I have done a fair bit of interviewing at work, either for my own team or for Graduate assessment centres, and I was a SEV for London2012. I thoroughly enjoyed the role and meeting all the potential volunteers, finding out their stories and why they wanted to volunteer. I still remember some of the facts & figures … 250,000 people applied for 75,000 roles and the intention was to interview 125,000 +.  A small army would be required over a period of a year or so to do all those interviews.  It was an amazing year & I felt even better when all those fantastic Games Makers got their deserved praise and accolades.

Since then, I have done the for 2015 Rugby World Cup (although it was called a VIP – Volunteer Interview Program) and now I am continuing as a SEV for the World Athletic Championships this summer in London. This event is slightly smaller than the Olympic and Paralympic Games (only 15,000 applications, 10,000 interviewees for 4,000 Volunteer “Runner” roles) but nevertheless, the SEV role is just as important to the event and to the organisers.

Why?  Firstly, it helps to make sure the right people are recruited and secondly, it helps engage with the potential volunteer workforce and helps them to get excited about coming to work at the event.  A two way street – just like any employer/ employee relationship should be.

How did you find out about the role?

I found out about this SEV role through Join In and the World Athletic Championship website.  I saw that the Volunteer Runners program had an interview stage, so I asked around.  I then saw that Team London had advertised – so it pays to keep your sources open.

How were you selected?

All potential SEV’s had to complete an application form, asking about our experience with interviewing and volunteering.  They were looking for volunteers who have human resources experience or have held a recruitment role and have a clear understanding of a fair and equal interview process. It was also important to be a confident communicator who enjoys interviewing for a large scale major event.  After the application stage, we had a telephone interview which covered more background about the role and asked some questions about my interviewing experience and other questions relevant to the role.

What sort of training did you have to undertake?

After getting the good news I was successful in getting the role, I then attended a training session.  This was an opportunity to learn more about the role, what the process was going to be (i.e. some group activities and the interview questions) and how I was expected to rate the behaviours and answers against the agreed competencies.  It was also good to meet up with some of your fellow SEVs and in some cases meet up with old friends & familiar faces!

Are you enjoying the role?

I enjoy the SEV role and I usually spring out of bed on my shift days, even though I know it is going to be a full-on, busy day. It is very rewarding.  In a way, it is inspiring meeting so many enthusiastic, willing, wonderful people.  It makes you feel quite good about the world, even though some of the outside news and weather might be a bit gloomy!

What is the best part of it?

The people, the people and the people!  Also, the feeling of satisfaction and knowing you are helping the event to be a success. It is a great way to contribute to the event at an early stage, it makes you feel part of it and I am happy to be able to be a part of it in this way.

Every shift is different as well.  For the upcoming World Athletics this summer, I will get to do more than just the interviews. I will also help with the Meet & Greet, Passport scan, Check-in, Photo station and the Group assessment activities –  so there is real variety. The other volunteers come from a range of back grounds and with a lot of different interests too, so when there is a break, is it great to chat and make new friends.

What is the furthest a volunteer that you have interviewed has travelled from for their interview?

People have come from all over the UK to be interviewed.  I have even interviewed people from Germany and Italy who are keen to get involved and support their sport of athletics. I have also heard of people coming from Spain, Croatia and The Netherlands for their interviews.

Are you also applying to be a Runner?

I have also applied to be a Runner as I think it a great opportunity to be involved in a major sporting event and to help make the event a success for athletes and spectators alike. I am really proud to be able to give something back to sport and to the community.

What type of role are you hoping for if you are selected?

I would be happy to do most of the roles, but I would love a role in the Team Services area, something “back office” but that is closely involved with making sure the event runs smoothly for the athletes and helps them perform their best, enjoy the event and even London.

Fingers will be crossed when the role offers are sent out in March and I will be hoping to get the good news.  It will be hard not looking for an email every hour once news of the first offers have gone out.

Recent News

I was there …..

An army of volunteers is needed to make any event run smoothly – particularly a major event. Below are some … Continued

Just some of the army of volunteers at the kitting out. Our author Aileen is third from left.
Just some of the army of volunteers at the kitting out. Our author Aileen is third from left.

Behind the scenes at the Team GB Rio 2016 kitting out – Part 2

Continuing our peek behind the scenes of the Team GB Rio 2016 kitting out in Birmingham, Aileen Cronin shares her volunteering experience.

Part 1  |  Part 2 


Day one as a volunteer

I didn’t know what to expect but I wasn’t disappointed. The training the day before set the scene, and it was clear how important the kitting out was by the amount of planning that had taken place. (more…)

Helen, right, was the Results Announcer at the Aquatics Centre.
Helen, right, was the Results Announcer at the Aquatics Centre.

Lending a hand (and a voice) at the European Aquatics Championships

The 2016 European Aquatics Championships have taken place this week at London’s iconic Aquatics Centre, where Europe’s best swimmers, divers and synchro swimmers are competing for the coveted title of European champion.

We go behind the scenes to meet Join in Local Leaders Helen Seamer and Jo Bartholomew – and find out about their experience of volunteering at such a major event.

One of approximately 140 volunteers, Helen was asked to help out as results announcer at the synchronised swimming event, having gained some experience in the role at national level. “It was a great opportunity to be involved in sports presentation at the next level” says Helen. “I now have a whole new perspective on how a major event is presented to a live audience and learned such a lot from the professionals on the crew.

I had a clear view of all the action from my poolside seat and it was fantastic to see what is happening at the top of the sport – with the world champions Russia there to defend their European titles. It was also exciting to see the British team in action, including the duet of Olivia Federici and Katie Clark who have secured a quota place for Rio. They must have been thrilled with the reaction from the hugely supportive audience!” (more…)

Fuelling local sport in one London community.

Herne Hill community of sport

Herne Hill in southeast London is one of the most physically active areas in London, where sport is thriving. It takes the dedication of hundreds of volunteers to create such an active, healthy and connected community.

Herne Hill Harriers is a community running club that prides itself on being inclusive and welcoming. They set up a Join In page in 2015 and have attracted more than 10 new local volunteers since then. “We’ve had some great volunteers come through from Join In,” Barbara, the Club Secretary said.

One such local volunteer is Sarah, who lives very close to Tooting Bec, the club’s main training ground. She volunteered at the Cerebral Palsy World Games as an athlete marshal and in the call out room. After that, she was interested in officiating and getting involved regularly at a local club, so she searched for opportunities on the Join In website and found the Herne Hill Harriers.

(more…)

Mags has been a long time supporter of Join In - here she's helping out at the Tour de ITV in 2014
Mags has been a long time supporter of Join In - here she's helping out at the Tour de ITV in 2014

Local Leader Spotlight: Mags Mathieson


Name: Mags Mathieson

Network: Northern Ireland

Local Leader since: 2013


What have you been up to recently in your role as a Local Leader?

“Having been a regular volunteer in the Northern Ireland running community for the past three or four years, I am now trying to combine volunteering with my recent role as a Local Leader and also raise the profile of Join In here in Northern Ireland.

I help out at a local parkrun most Saturdays. If I’m not doing that, I’ll be helping out at some other running event that’s taking place. Volunteering for so long in one particular area of sport (running) has allowed me to develop a great deal of experience and knowledge and I find that I’m asked more and more often to come along and help out with local races, many of them for charity. In the past few weeks I’ve been involved in a dozen or so events but the highlight was being asked to take on the role of Race Director for a 10k charity run. I’ve also been involved in some of the bigger running events here including the NI Road Relay Championships, the Bangor 10k and the Belfast Half Marathon. (more…)

Clive Barley, Local Leader and #BigHelpOut speech bubble technician.

Local Leader profile – Clive Barley

Marshalling, timekeeping, barcode scanning, social media, and assisting with grant applications… It’s hard to know how Clive Barley finds the time for all this volunteering. Like all our Local Leaders, he somehow finds a way.

What have you been up to recently in your role as a Local Leader?

In addition to promoting Join In whenever and wherever I can through social media and my normal face-to-face networks, I have focused on building stronger working relationships with our local sports development officers and the Lancashire Sports Partnership↑.

We are discussing how we can increase the number of Join In Local Leaders in Lancashire and how we work together in partnership to share volunteering opportunities and encourage more volunteers. The Big Help Out campaign has been fun, generating lots of opportunities for photos with the speech bubble. It created quite a buzz and lots of interest in volunteering across social media. (more…)

Our year in pictures.

Our favourite photos from 2015

Here at Join In, we’re lucky to receive photos of our volunteers on a regular basis. Over the course of this year, we’ve worked with a handful of professional photographers and also received loads of pics taken by just about everyone with a smartphone.

Here are our favourite photos of the year. Look closely to see if you can spot anyone you know!

Join_InBGD-64 (more…)

Find out how volunteering in sport reduces stress & builds communities

Volunteering. The key to a healthier, happier you

You don’t have to be sporty to get fit.  Volunteering can improve your health and well being – it’s official!  Make friends and make a difference to your physical and mental health and to your community.

‘Get fit’, ‘do more for myself’, ‘do something for charity’, ‘get a new hobby’ – we’re sure a few of these mantras have passed your lips at the start of a year, but how many have you stuck to? Volunteering in sport is the perfect way to get fit and active whilst helping others. The sense of teamwork and emotional satisfaction will keep you coming back for more.

(more…)

Join In's Top 10 blogs of 2015
What were your highlights from a great year in volunteering?

Join In’s top 10 blogs of 2015

In 2015, our blog covered everything from korfball to blind golf. We bring it to a close with some of our favourite blogs from the past twelve months.

10. Fat boy Slimmer

Ben Fairburn once weighed twenty-three stone, now he weighs fifteen. Ben wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the help of volunteers. Here is his inspirational story:

Fat Boy Slimmer

The transformation of Ben before and after running is remarkable. (more…)

Clubs need your skills.

The volunteering professionals part II

People’s work skills can be hugely beneficial to sports clubs. In the second part of our volunteering professionals blog, we see how three BT employees raise funds and balance the books.

Part 1 | Part 2


Anthony, accountant

Anthony-Raisbury

Full name: Anthony Raisbury
Day job:
Former Management Accountant and now Sales Account Manager

Volunteers at: Welford Mixed Hockey Club (more…)