Organisers of the ParaVolley European Silver Nations League are calling for more volunteers to help ensure the continued success of sitting volleyball – following the triumph of the UK’s first international tournament since the London 2012 Paralympics.
The University of Nottingham’s David Ross Sports Village hosted some of the best teams from across Europe in a three-day event, as they vied for a chance to qualify for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
The British Volleyball Federation (BVF) and ParaVolley Europe jointly held the tournament, with volunteers playing an essential part in its running.
The roles included court managers, courtside assistants and stewards, as well as line judges and scorers, who took part in internationally-recognised officials’ qualification prior to the competition.
Volleyball England project competition lead Richard Williams has hailed the success of the event – but has warned that more volunteers are needed in order to secure the future of sport in the UK.
“Without volunteers and technical officials, sitting volleyball events just would not continue,” said Williams. “We need a vast amount of people to come down to support these events because we can not do it on our own.
“These people are integral to the sport’s participation and the performance of the players, and are crucial to our mission to get the sport out there to as many people as possible. As a federation we are committed to giving people the opportunity to learn new skills and get involved in sport, which are all accredited for and play a huge part in making the game work.
“What you find with volunteering is that community feel which continues year-after-year. There’s a lot of people I’ve met on these types of occasions and it’s always nice to get a chance to catch up. It is very much a team of people that work together, help each other out, and make sure everything runs smoothly.
“Most of the time when we advertise these volunteering roles, people want to be a part of something and sitting volleyball is the perfect place to do that. Volunteers are the backbone of the whole volleyball community, so anyone who can give some time is fantastic, no matter how often you can come down and help us.”
In March 2021, the BVF was awarded £375,000 from the National Squads Support Fund (NSSF) ahead of UK Sport’s Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic cycle.
Charlie Hedgecock, who was part of the volunteering team at London 2012, has praised the extra funding given to the sport and believes it has been essential in training more individuals.
“At the end of the day, volunteering is all about making sure the sport can happen and it doesn’t just happen by turning up,” said Hedgecock.
“We are always trying to train and bring as many new people in as possible, and that is how we keep the sport going. It’s a great sport whether you’ve played it or not and it’s a lot of fun to be involved in.
“You only need to be here a day, half a day – any help or assistance is welcome here.”
To get involved in volunteering with Volleyball England, click here for more information.