Starting on Monday 8 May to mark His Majesty The King’s Coronation, The Big Help Out will see thousands of organisations across the country getting together to provide opportunities for more people to get involved in volunteering within their local communities.
To celebrate the campaign, and to reflect on the value of the volunteers who support the youth sport sector, we spoke to Youth Sport Trust volunteer Claire Florence-Westwood, who recently ran the London Marathon and raised over £2,400 to support our charity.
Claire, can you tell us a little bit about how you originally got involved in volunteering?
My volunteer journey started at high school when I signed-up to become a Young Ambassador with the Youth Sport Trust. My main aim in volunteering was to motivate and inspire other young people to participate in sport, through volunteering and promoting sports around the school. Through the programme I learned skills and built strong relationships which make me who I am today!
What benefits have you yourself experienced through volunteering with young people?
Volunteering as a Young Ambassador really gave me a sense of purpose and connection with my peers and my community. It grew my self-confidence, helped me learn new skills and introduced me to new experiences and new people who I would not have otherwise met.
The role of a Youth Sport Trust Ambassador was to build on the legacy of London 2012 and increase participation in PE and Sport amongst my peers. Promoting and living out the Olympic and Paralympic values. I felt a huge sense of achievement in supporting peers to be more active and thinking of new and creative ways to get more young people involved.
Data from Sport England shows that 1.4 million children and young people volunteered to support sport and physical activity in 2021/2022. This is absolutely fantastic but it is a drop on pre-pandemic volunteering levels which were 8% higher. I would strongly encourage more young people to get involved in volunteering if they can as the personal benefits are huge.
You recently ran the London Marathon for the Youth Sport Trust and raised an incredible £2,400. Can you tell us a little bit about why you choose to run for the charity?
The Youth Sport Trust empowers young people with the vision of creating a future where every child enjoys the life-changing benefits of play and sport. Sport gives young people a platform to have their voice heard and a place to feel they belong. Sadly, there is a crisis in young people's well-being, with rising numbers reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression, alongside a decline in levels of physical activity. Youth Sport Trust is fighting to help all young people tackle the issues they face in today's world. I’m so proud that was able to contribute to helping them deliver their work and I hope I can inspire other people, young and old to get active and support the work of the charity too.
You can find out more about current volunteering opportunities for young people within school sport here:
You can also register to run the 2024 London Marathon on behalf of the Youth Sport Trust here.