Youth sport volunteers in England : a paradox between reducing the state and promoting a Big Society

NICHOLS, Geoff, TAYLOR, Peter, BARRETT, David and JEANES, Ruth (2014). Youth sport volunteers in England : a paradox between reducing the state and promoting a Big Society. Sport Management Review, 17 (3), 337-346.

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Link to published version:: 10.1016/j.smr.2013.09.001


This paper uses the example of volunteers in clubs promoting youth sport to consider the role of the UK Government in promoting a general civic activism as part of a ‘Big Society’. The UK government advocates the replacement of public sector provision by a greater role for volunteers. Exemplary of the ‘grassroots’ organisations which epitomise ‘Big Society’ ideals are the 64,000 volunteer-run sports clubs in which almost 1.5 million volunteers support over 5.3 million junior participants in England. These clubs face problems which state intervention could alleviate; and this state support may in fact be critical to maintain the structures which provide the opportunity for so much volunteering to take place. The government's desire to increase volunteer activity can be seen to be at odds with other policy intentions such as cost-cutting, and with wider trends affecting volunteerism such as professionalisation. Thus the paper illustrates the complex, even paradoxical relationship between promoting civic activism and the role of the state. The example of youth sport volunteers also suggests that policies to promote a Big Society will need to deal with more fundamental questions about the role of volunteering.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sport Industry Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.smr.2013.09.001
Depositing User: Rebecca Jones
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2014 13:56
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2014 13:56

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