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.

“For me, the most enjoyable part of the role is going out and meeting people and getting to know what is important to local sports clubs.”

I have also been supporting Burnley Tennis Club in promoting their volunteering opportunities, as well as helping them at local universities and college fresher fairs promoting tennis and the club. Burnley Tennis Club is one of 10 across the country identified by the Lawn Tennis Association↑ to focus on volunteering with support from Join In. The club recently won several local county awards and has been recognised not only for its sporting activities, but also for its contribution to the local community.

My own sports passion is running and I have volunteered for a number of roles in this capacity, such as marshalling, timekeeping, barcode scanning, and helping at drinks stations. Most recently, I was an event core team volunteer, developing and launching a new parkrun↑ in my home town of Lytham. It has taken nearly 18 months but it has been a great experience and something that we’re very proud of, with our inaugural run having taken place on 28 November.

What do you enjoy most about the role?

For me, the most enjoyable part of the role is going out and meeting people and getting to know what is important to local sports clubs and activity leaders. Many times the rewards are quite simple when you have the opportunity to share with the right person in the club what Join In can offer just through the database and website. The expression on their face when they fully understand the benefits, says it all.

The other enjoyment is knowing that the event or activity just couldn’t take place without volunteers like you and how participants show their appreciation for what you do. Personally, I like the “Thank you for supporting us today, marshal, in this rain”. Yes, it does rain a lot in the North West!


Clive also appeared in the London 2012 Opening Ceremony

What do you find challenging?

Sometimes I try to contact clubs and they don’t get back to me. It can be frustrating but I can be persistent, some would say stubborn…

Most clubs appear to have financial constraints and look for me to help them get formal grants. While I explain that Join In does not have access to grants, I do (where appropriate) share information that I am aware of through Sports Development Officers and the Lancashire Sports Partnership.

Lancashire covers a large area and geographically it is difficult to give the full focus required. While we are planning to recruit more Local Leaders to help, it would be nice to have more Local Leaders active now.

Balancing other volunteering roles I have and meeting the normal husband, dad, granddad duties can sometimes be a challenge. Having said that, it’s been a good excuse to get out of some DIY projects, though my wife sometimes complains about how long her list is getting!

What advice would you give to a new Local Leader starting out?

  • Don’t try to eat the elephant at once.
  • Do ask if in doubt.
  • Do seek advice from the staff team or other leaders through the Local Leaders Facebook community page or through the leader forum.
  • Do use your existing network of friends and communities to promote Join In.
  • Don’t be afraid of social media. It can be a good tool for sharing and to get your message out.
  • Don’t get stressed if things fail to happen as expected. You are a volunteer and making a valuable contribution.
  • Do reflect on what you are achieving, have fun and enjoy being part of a great team.

What are your plans for 2016?

I’m looking forward to helping recruit more Local Leaders in Lancashire and supporting them with their induction into the Join In team.

I will continue to develop positive working relationships with the local sports development officers and Lancashire Sports Partnership to help achieve our common goals. I’d also like to increase the number of sports clubs in Lancashire with up-to-date pages on the Join In website, to support them as required, and increase the number of active volunteers in Lancashire.

As regards my personal goals for 2016, I recently qualified as an England Athletics Run Leader↑ and have volunteered to start a new beginner’s run group for one of our local community groups.

I am in discussions with the Great Run Organisation↑, and aim to bring a weekly Great Run Local event to Fylde or Blackpool that will complement our new parkrun and help more people become active. I will be looking for local Join In volunteers to help.

Finally, I aim to complete at least five high profile UK runs and achieve some PBs. I might even consider running them in my Join In t-shirt.

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