We need to acknowledge the importance of our coaches and volunteers

By NickiBlake on July 21st, 2014 - comments

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Tom Armstrong, Workforce Manager at Active Lincolnshire

Coaches are often the under acknowledged experts, behind, not just high profile sporting success, but motivating people of all ages to be active in the UK – and just like many volunteers, they are highly underappreciated.

Last weekend saw the Lincoln Grand Prix, one of Lincolnshire’s biggest sporting events, bring thousands of visitors to the city, helping to boost its economy. Each year, this event alone needs 50 volunteers to go ahead and be successful, highlighting the importance of volunteers and their core role in communities.

As many of us know, sporting events such as the Grand Prix are vital in bringing tourism into the city and it is not just volunteers that are needed; every sporting event needs an athlete, and nearly every athlete needs a coach.

There are 1.1 million sports coaches across the UK; 76% are unpaid volunteers; 54% are qualified. They range from professionals working with national teams to those involved with schools and the community. In Lincolnshire we have around 5,000 coaches of varying level and activity, from our top teams to your local community walk sessions. Some haven’t coached for years, others only coach an hour or so a month, while some coach as a profession; but all can play a role in getting and keeping Lincolnshire active.

Next week is Lincolnshire Coaches Week, a week to celebrate coaches and their importance to the community, and a chance to showcase hard working coaches that give up their time to increase participation in sport, improve health and fitness levels, engage with more children in sport and improve the quality of life in Lincolnshire.

Active Lincolnshire supports coaches through the Lincolnshire Coaches and Instructors Network (CIN), Lincolnshire Coaches Week, deployment and training opportunities, chances to meet other coaches and lots more. Through the support of Active Lincolnshire, coaches have received coaching bursaries, clubs have gained the information to secure funding and clubs have been awarded Clubmark accreditation. Find out more about Lincolnshire Coaches Week and its available courses, as well as information on the CIN network, funding opportunities and more information at www.lincolnshiresport.com/coaches.

We are constantly challenging local organisations to work together to create a world-class coaching system and guiding them on how to achieve this. Our vision is all children, participants and athletes should receive the coaching they need to have fun and fulfil their potential and we will provide the mechanisms to ensure national policies are delivered effectively at a local level in schools, colleges, clubs and community settings to improve coaching and increase participation throughout Lincolnshire.

There are also plenty of opportunities to volunteer in sport. If you would like to become an advocate for sport and physical activity in your community become a member of the Lincolnshire Volunteer Force – visit www.lincolnshiresport.com/volunteering.