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.
Improve your mental health
Volunteering in sport helps beat stress and anxiety. Join In’s research shows that people who help out at local sports clubs have 10% higher self esteem and are 15% less likely to worry. Volunteering also boosts happiness with stats showing that volunteers are less likely to cry, feel depressed or unhappy.
Join In Local Leader, Caz Lorenzo suffered with stress and anxiety, “I have gained friendship, satisfaction and complete happiness through volunteering. I had panic attacks when I split up with my husband and couldn’t travel on trains anymore, but – through volunteering – I’ve been able to tackle my fear.”
Do something charitable
8 out of 10 sports clubs need more volunteers. You can facilitate at least 8.5 additional participants in sport by helping out at your local club, helping new players to stay fit and healthy, you might even find the next Mo Farah or Victoria Pendleton!
Peter Gore, above, volunteers at Bolton RFC, “You see the kids with mental health issues struggling and can make their lives easier, at least for an hour a week in training. They’ve come out of mainstream high school and are a bit vulnerable. Rugby gives them confidence, it proves to them they can do things they didn’t think they could.”
Spend more time with the family
Helping out at your children’s sports club or group is a great way to spend more time with the family. Working together for their beloved sports team will bring you closer together.
Mel Woodards, founder of the Somerset North Youth Football League said, “I am so lucky as a mum, my teenage son is happy to spend time with me and his kid sister rather than sit in front of the Xbox, because we are doing stuff for his beloved football club!”
Become more involved within the community
Anyone who has been a member of a grassroots club will have experienced how sport brings people together from all areas of the community, helping to make sport possible. When the team puts on their club kit, or volunteers pulls on a club shirt, everyone is part of one team and one community pulling together to achieve the same goal.
Volunteers in sport are 3 times more likely to feel part of their community and 4 times more likely to trust people in their community. Volunteers in sport are also 8 times more likely to feel they have an influence over what their community is like.
Following an injury Mags Mathieson started volunteering at running events and has since become Run Director at the Waterworks parkrun. “I’m now more involved in the running community than I was when I was actually running and have developed a huge network of friends and like-minded acquaintances that have really enriched my life.”
There’s no question that volunteering in sport builds participation, but it’s not just the players keeping fit on the field. The most active people at sports events are often the volunteers. Whether you’re running along the sidelines or walking the length of a race route, there are plenty of active roles that will get you fit and active. From coaching session or marshalling through to painting the clubhouse or putting up the goals there are a wide range of jobs for every ability.
Volunteer Jumaima Ede said, “I used to do athletics, but had to stop because of health problems. Volunteering for a club allows me to stay fit and active, remain involved in sport and give back what I took from volunteers.”