Let's get young people volunteering in local sport.

Giving NCS graduates a sporting chance

Right across England and Northern Ireland this summer, tens of thousands of young people are taking part in the National Citizen Service.

A personal and social development programme for 15-17 year olds, NCS is designed to help young people ‘make extraordinary friendships, learn the skills they don’t teach you in class and create unforgettable memories’↑.

Young people gain a great breadth of experience through NCS, which includes an element of volunteering. But though the three-week programme captures the immediate impact↑, both the graduates and organisations running NCS also have an eye on what happens next.

Enter Join In. We seek to inspire 100,000 volunteers a year to help out in community sport – people of all ages – but within this we recognise the importance of engaging young people. ‘Inspire a generation’ might have been created for 2012, but for us it’s just as relevant today.

So we decided to find out what we could do to offer NCS Graduates great progression opportunities in sport, and in turn help them to create a social habit for life.

Our offer to young people

We’ve already started exploring this through our pledge to the #iwill youth social action campaign↑, but we wanted to go further and test the appetite for volunteering in sport directly. So when JLGB↑ approached us about getting involved with their NCS programme↑, we jumped at the chance.

At our recent joint workshop for their 15 NCS participants we got some great insights, including:

  • Young people really want to volunteer – and many already are – having gotten into it through a variety of routes and motivations (including the Duke of Edinburgh Award, or a specific need in their family)
  • They are genuinely interested in the concept of volunteering and the social value it generates. Most young people in our session didn’t realise just how many people in Britain volunteer↑, and felt more connected to it as a movement when given some wider context
  • Good storytelling is vital. The personal experiences of Join In’s staff and volunteers were the elements of our session that most resonated, prompting the young people to share their own stories

This last point in particular is good news for Join In.

We use the power of storytelling in all our campaigns, whether that’s the instinctive understanding elite athletes have about the importance of volunteers to their own careers (such as the #BigThankYou), or the notion that volunteers aren’t just givers but investors – investing in themselves, the people they care about and their wider communities (a key theme of last year’s Hidden Diamonds research).

Finding volunteering opportunities in sport through Join In

If you’re a young person looking for rewarding volunteering opportunities in sport, or you’re from an organisation that works with young people, here’s how Join In can help you:

  1. Sign up to the #BigHelpOut to receive emails with exclusive national volunteering opportunities and ways to support clubs and events across the UK
  2. Enter your postcode on our website to find the sports clubs and events near you that need your help right now
  3. And finally, if you’re interested in a leadership role in community sport you could volunteer with Join In as a Local Leader. It’s a flexible, rewarding role with opportunities right across the country

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