The Join In blog: Tagged "community"

Join In passes the volunteering baton onto the Sport and Recreation Alliance

Hello from Sport and Recreation Alliance

Welcome to Sport and Recreation Alliance. As we take hold of the reins, we want to highlight our plans for Join In and share what volunteering means to us.

Volunteering is at the heart of sport and recreation in this country. Just last weekend I saw this first hand, very clearly in athletics.

On Saturday morning I, like 100s of 1000s of others, took part in my local parkrun, set up and managed by friendly enthusiastic volunteers always ready with a clap and a cheer on the 5km route. Later on Saturday I had the privilege of attending the England Athletics Annual Awards and Hall of Fame evening. Whilst the room was full of many very well known athletes, past and present, it was the stories of the volunteers that stood out the most. People who had dedicated their lives – in one case more than 60 years – to their sport. (more…)

Recent News

Rebecca Birkbeck introducing Join In's 'Making Time' research

Join In is changing

Four years ago, it was time to start making history. Now we’re ready for the next adventure.

Join In began life in a golden summer of sport. Following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we had a simple but incredibly ambitious goal: to create a volunteering legacy for the nation.

This was something that no previous Host City had ever achieved.

Honestly, we had no idea where this would take us. There was no guide. No blueprint. But inspired by the irrepressible energy of the London 2012 Games Makers, we had a good feeling.

And we realised something very important.

Following the London 2012 gold rush, our country was more in love with sport than ever. But it wasn’t just about medals and glory. (more…)

Lisa feels volunteering has improved her work/life balance
Lisa feels volunteering has improved her work/life balance

“Giving back had made me a better human being”

You probably haven’t given a second thought to how the athletes get from their accommodation to their venues during an Olympic or Paralympic Games. But one of our Legacy Volunteers, Lisa Blythman-Wood thinks of nothing else.

Following on from her time as a Games Maker at the Paralympic Games in London, Lisa is now volunteering in Rio. She has reprised her role with the Transport Team in the athlete’s village and is loving every minute of it.

“It has been another hot day in Rio with little or no breeze, if only this had remained the same for the whole day.



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?


Tanni Grey-Thompson lends a hand at her daughter's canoe club.

Tanni Grey-Thompson gets involved

She’s won 16 Paralympic medals and the London Marathon six times, been appointed Dame of the British Empire, and served in Parliament. Oh, and she also moonlights as a canoe club volunteer.

At Join In, we admire people who don’t just stand on the sidelines and talk a good game. We appreciate those who roll their sleeves up and make a difference. Paralympic hero Tanni-Grey Thompson has been doing just this by lending a hand at Lower Wharfe Canoe Club. We caught up with Tanni and fellow volunteer Chris Kevane to get an insight into some of their inspirational work.

The Lower Wharfe Canoe Club is a family orientated club, with a base at Tadcaster Community Swimming Pool and Bishopthorpe on the River Ouse. The club has members of all ages and abilities and teaches canoeing and kayaking all the way up to international level, with its most successful paddlers going on to compete for Team GB. (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.


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.


“By volunteering... I feel easier about approaching people and I've discovered more about myself" says Nilu.
“By volunteering... I feel easier about approaching people and I've discovered more about myself," says Nilu.

Nepal to Northala – a parkrunner’s tale

Nilu found friends and fitness at her local parkrun. Now she’s helping others do the same.

Born in Nepal, Nilu Dewan now lives in London and is a loyal volunteer at Northala Fields parkrun↑. In a bid to lose weight, Nilu took part in her local parkrun.

Having lost weight, lowered her blood pressure and been taken off the diabetes “at risk” list, Nilu helps inactive people address their health issues and motivates them to take up physical exercise.

What motivated you to start volunteering at parkrun?

I became aware of parkrun through Santosh, a member of the Nepalese community who does a lot of voluntary work. parkrun events aren’t complete without volunteers. I like helping people and I think it’s a good way to encourage not only runners but non-runners to keep themselves fit and healthy. (more…)

Pete Swann, left, outside Intersport Herne Hill with Join In Local Leader Malcolm Chevin
Pete Swann, left, outside Intersport Herne Hill with Join In Local Leader Malcolm Chevin

60 seconds with… Pete Swann

Pete Swann, Intersport Herne Hill↑ store manager, already has some great links to grassroots sport in his area. He’s been chatting to Join In to tell us why he thinks the partnership can connect his store even more with the community.

How is your store at the heart of community sport?

“We deal with many clubs, schools and local associations in different forms. The club members can often be customers and our network has grown organically that way. We sponsor lots of events – usually with a prize to help alleviate the cost of running the event or to raise money for a good cause. From a local 5K run to the Sport Relief Mile↑, we like to get involved with the local area.

How would you like to play a bigger role in the local community?

I think companies have a duty to support local events – sport has much more of a community feel than other retail sectors and that is why we work a lot with the local sporting people. If we can act as a hub for the community then it is mutually beneficial.


parkrun for everyone!

Where there’s a Will, there’s a run

How volunteering at parkrun helped a young boy overcome some of the difficulties of autism and embrace a whole new community.

When Kate Gardiner took her children to their first parkrun, she hoped the family would start to enjoy a healthier lifestyle together. However, her 10-year-old son Will has embraced parkrun more than she ever expected.

Will has high functioning autism and attends mainstream school. In some ways, the high functioning nature has made things really hard for him.

“On the face of it, he looks ‘normal’” explains Kate, “but he’s awkward in social situations and this had led to him feeling alienated in activities he’s taken part in before.” (more…)