The Join In blog: Category "Sports clubs & groups"

Beth recommends volunteering to young people

Kent FA says a Big Thank You

Helen Seamer, a volunteer with Join In, has been working very closely with the Kent FA supporting their campaign to thank their volunteers and to encourage new volunteers to get involved.  Helen met with some of the inspiring young people involved in football in Kent and has written a blog to share her experience and inspire others.

As the football season draws to a close, you might be forgiven for thinking that the people who help to run the sport will take a well-earned break. But planning never stops and there is much to be done in the off-season to prepare for the next season’s fixtures and leagues.

Grassroots sport depends upon a huge army of volunteers and football is no exception. In England, it is estimated that there are 400,000 volunteers helping to run 37,000 clubs (source: Without their dedication and commitment to the sport, these clubs would simply not exist.

Around 10,000 people volunteer in football in Kent alone; a nice round number to consider their monetary worth. On average, people give 3.15 hours per week (source: KentFA), multiply that by the 10,000 volunteers, then by the national minimum wage of £7.50 for 44 weeks of the year and the total comes to a mighty £10,395,000. This is just in one county too! Safe to say, football is not just about the action on the pitch.

In a bid to boost their volunteer base, Kent FA enlisted the help of the Kent FA Youth Council to address the imbalance of younger volunteers in the sport.  According to Lee Suter, Kent FA Football Development Officer and Volunteer Coach, the youngsters were excited to be involved in and lead the project.

“They were brimming with ideas to create a successful campaign. Taking inspiration from the Join in and BBC Get Inspired #BigThankYou campaign we decided that we could adapt the idea to a county wide project.”  The result is #KentFAThanksU a celebration of the county’s most dedicated and inspiring volunteers. The project is a comprehensive social media and website campaign running for two weeks and includes 10 surprise presentations to Kent FA’s most valued volunteers.

“We are really proud to have some excellent young people helping to bring on the next generation of footballers and very happy to support them in their efforts to become the best that they can be. But we need many more!”

Clubs can often identify great potential volunteers in their younger players. Faversham Strike Force is one such club to invite two young players, Beth Dunkin (16) and Tyler Griffiths (15), to help with the younger teams.

Tyler has taken on the role of coaching the under 6 Mini Bolts team with great results. His enthusiasm for the game is infectious and the players see him as a role model. He is passionate about helping others and has willingly taken part in courses and workshops to further his knowledge. Tyler makes his sessions fun with an emphasis on the children developing a love for football. Participation has grown since he started coaching and the club are thrilled with his progress. Read more about Tyler’s story here.

Beth was also invited to assist the coaching team as she is a promising young player. “I was so happy being offered this chance as I am going into an apprenticeship in the sport industry” said Beth. “I love to see the improvement in the children’s abilities and confidence, which makes me proud that I am helping to achieve this. Volunteering involves coaching, refereeing or playing the game – which is having a huge impact on my free time. But I have been given so many opportunities and I am learning different skills which benefit me as a person. I have gained confidence and the skills will benefit me in the future and will enhance my CV. But the real reason I am doing it is because I enjoy it!”

Beth recommends volunteering to young people in any sport as a means of gaining skills, boosting confidence and enhancing employment prospects. “Volunteering at a local sports club is the right path to go down. I would like to say a big #KentFAThanksU to Faversham Strike Force for giving me this chance.”

If you would like to get involved with volunteering at your local sports club you can search for opportunities in your area here

If you live in Kent, you can get involved on social media by thanking a football volunteer at your local club using the hashtag #KentFAThanksU

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

From the stars on the BBC Sports Personality red carpet to the clubs across the UK, #BigThankYou rang out!
From the stars on the BBC Sports Personality red carpet to the clubs across the UK, #BigThankYou rang out!

Another year, another brilliant #BigThankYou!

Andy Murray wasn’t the only winner on Sunday night. As the nation voted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, thousands of you also helped create the UK’s biggest celebration of sports volunteers.

We are a little stunned to say that – thanks to you – #BigThankYou trended on Twitter for the third year in a row.

From Team GB stars calling up volunteers from the red carpet, to local sports and recreation clubs giving their thanks on social media, it was an incredible evening.

Below you can see our highlights and films from another special evening, all in support of volunteers.

Ryan Giggs makes his #BigThankYou call

Ryan Giggs makes his #BigThankYou call.

L-R: Sisters Ellie and Becky Downie with Claudia Fragapane

L-R: Sisters Ellie and Becky Downie with fellow gymnast Claudia Fragapane.

Swimmer Mark Foster almost couldn't fit in the iconic golden phone box

Swimmer Mark Foster almost couldn’t fit inside the iconic golden phone box.

Plus, the sport sector supported the campaign:

So many clubs got involved too, sharing their thanks for the volunteers that keep them going:


Football clubs across the UK rely on volunteers


Scropton RDA Centre celebrates its volunteers


An overwhelming #BigThankYou for one volunteer

And a final #BigThankYou from all of us at Join In, we couldn’t do it without you!



Volunteers being thanked
Let's make the Big Thank You even bigger this year!

#BigThankYou toolkit for clubs and groups

If you’re a member of a community sport, recreation or physical activity group that relies on volunteers, then here’s your chance to be part of the UK’s biggest thank you to the people who make them tick

On the weekend of 17-18 December 2016, we’re asking you to be part of #BigThankYou. There are no limits to how you can get involved, but here are some suggestions to get you started:

Create a #BigThankYou moment

We know clubs and groups are busy and many are already run by tireless volunteers. So a simple way to help retain your volunteers is a Big Thank You moment in an existing session.


Join In is back on the red carpet with BBC Get Inspired for the #BigThankYou

Join In The Big Thank You 2016

Sports volunteers in the spotlight at BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of #BigThankYou – the UK’s biggest celebration of sports volunteers.

On the weekend of 17-18 December 2016, sports and recreation clubs from around the UK will be sending, shouting, tweeting and posting their photos and thanks to the amazing volunteers that make sport happen in all of our communities. We need you to be part of it – so save the date!

On Sunday 18 December, the celebration will culminate on the red carpet at BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Birmingham – when celebrities and athletes will surprise a host of nominated volunteers with a call to say a #BigThankYou.

Last year’s star callers included tennis world number one Andy Murray, British golfer Rory McIlroy, international rugby hero Dan Carter, Paralympic tennis star Jordanne Wiley and Olympic gold medallists, Max Whitlock, Dina Asher-Smith and Greg Rutherford.


Adam Peaty making a Big Thank You call to a volunteer
Adam Peaty makes a call to a very happy volunteer at BBC Sports Personality 2015

Nominate a volunteer for a #BigThankYou call

Join In and BBC Get Inspired are back on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year red carpet for the #BigThankYou to sports volunteers.

If you know someone who keeps your clubs ticking over by lending a hand, nominate them below – and be in with a chance of receiving a phone call from a sports star at the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Birmingham.

By completing this form you agree to the #BigThankYou Terms and Conditions.


Over 2,500 clubs took part in I Am Team GB, from Devon to Scotland.
Over 2,500 clubs took part in I Am Team GB, from Devon to Scotland.

The nation’s BIGGEST EVER sports day!

What. A. Day!

From the beach of Hope Cove in Devon to the Copper Box Arena in London, from astronaut Tim Peake in Houston to the riverside in Reading, and from the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow to Greg Rutherford’s backyard, Team GB athletes and thousands (and thousands) of the Great British public shouted ‘I Am Team GB!’

It all kicked off with ITV switching off all seven of it’s channels for an hour, asking the nation to get out and get active. Star of Rio 2016 Max Whitlock did the honours…


Three generations of the Beany family have hockey as a big part of their lives
Three generations of the Beany family have hockey as a big part of their lives

“I have played and umpired for every team in the club!”

Three generations of the Beaney Family now call Surbiton Hockey Club home – for the weekends at least.


“My mother played so I was dragged along and once I was old enough I played alongside my mum in her team. I met my husband at the club and my sister met her husband playing there too! My children, Chris and Richard, both played and their daughters also play.

My husband and I started the Colts here in 1978. We charged 50p a time for the Colts every Sunday.


Dawn, centre, runs Guildford Saints FC with a great team of volunteers and members
Dawn, centre, with the walking footballers.

“Why not make a difference?”

Like many grassroots clubs across the UK, Guildford Saints FC wouldn’t survive without volunteers. But they do, thanks to having their very own saint, Dawn Davies: coach, director, mother, grandmother, administrator and BBC Unsung Hero award winner.

Why did you start volunteering?

My son started playing football at Guildford Saints FC aged 6. I felt it was a very well run club, well supported with lots of members. When the committee asked for more volunteers, I didn’t hesitate to put my hand up and say “I can do that!”. (more…)

Be in with a chance of boosting your club by £250 – enter today
Be in with a chance of boosting your club by £250 – enter today

Be part of I Am Team GB and win £250 for your club

Need another reason to join I Am Team GB? Well here it is…

I Am Team GB is inviting sports clubs and events to open their doors to the public on Saturday 27 August, as part of the nation’s biggest ever sports day – and we want you to be part of the action.

To celebrate this event, ITV are offering sports clubs and groups the chance to win £250 worth of vouchers to purchase kit or equipment.

Your sports club could be one of 10 lucky winners to bag this £250 prize to boost your team. So whether you’re in need of swimsuits for your synchro team, wickets for your cricket club or jerseys for your judo group, sign your club up to I Am Team GB for your chance to win.

Create a event page today

By creating an I Am Team GB event on the Join In website your club or group will be entered into the competition to win £250 worth of vouchers for your club or group. See full terms and conditions here.



Why Cheslyn Hay Tennis Club is taking part in the nation's biggest sports day
Why Cheslyn Hay Tennis Club is taking part in the nation's biggest sports day

A London 2012 tennis legacy

Since setting up during London 2012, Cheslyn Hay Tennis Club has grown to over 200 people taking part every week. Here they talk about being open to all and how they are looking forward to I Am Team GB.

How important do you think the Olympic legacy has been for the club?

“The London 2012 Olympics inspired young people to take part in sport whatever their ability. There was a massive buzz four years ago and the legacy must continue. Now it is the role of community sports clubs around the country to take the lead and ensure young people continue playing sport. Through providing enjoyable and positive experiences it will hopefully leave them wanting to come back for more!

How has the club grown since then?