Volunteering Development Programme

The Volunteering Development Programme launches today

Would your organisation benefit from some volunteering support?  Do you have staff who are currently furloughed who would like to experience some personal development?  Would you like to work in an organisation that can give you valuable learning and career development? 
The Volunteering Development Programme, which launches today, hopes to achieve all of the above.

The benefits of volunteering

Volunteering is a great way of learning new skills and meeting people who can help you develop in your career, partly by the knowledge you gain, but also by the opportunities to meet others and be aware of experiences that can benefit you.

Sport organisations are great opportunities to learn new skills.  In smaller organisations, you will meet everyone in the company and will get to experience a broader range of activity, compared to a larger organisation, where your work could be more specialised.  Sport organisations are based on volunteering, it’s a challenge to function without valuable volunteers to make events and engagement activities work well. 

The benefits  for the employer in this situation will be that staff and volunteers that they support will gain valuable skills elsewhere and will return to work feeling more motivated.

Who will be offering the voluntary experiences?

The National Governing Bodies of Sport in Wales will be offering these voluntary experiences. Most of our sports governing bodies are small to medium sized organisations, with up to 50 staff. 

They work with professional athletes to help them prepare for major competitions, and they help people in the community to become more active.  They have positive, team-based cultures.

They organise events to enable people to compete, both at a professional and social level, and these events rely on volunteers to make them work.

There are more than 50 sports governing bodies in Wales.

Where are the volunteers coming from?

Sports governing bodies have a number of challenges in terms of their team members. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has provided a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (commonly called a furlough scheme). In this, many governing bodies have furloughed staff, so they don’t work but continue to receive the majority or all of their pay, with a reimbursement being claimed from the government. This is due to the fact that, due to Coronavirus restrictions, they are not able to perform their normal role. 

Directly funded roles. 

Many people in sports governing bodies can’t be furloughed because their role is directly covered by public funds. People in those roles will either continue to work, if they can, or be home based, not working. These staff could choose to volunteer with another sports governing body, if their employer allows it. 

Roles not directly funded.

Many of the sports governing bodies have had to furlough some staff, because part or all of their roles cannot be performed at the current time. This could include coaches who can’t access leisure facilities or gyms or development officers who can’t travel for unessential journeys.  Whilst these staff are furloughed, they cannot do work for their employer. This means that if there’s a part of the role that could have been done, it would either have to be covered by a colleague that is still working, or held over until the employee returns to work.  This could cause a backlog, if volunteers are not used to help out.  This furlough scheme presents an opportunity for them to volunteer with another sports governing body, if they have work that can be done, and insufficient resource. 

Other volunteers.

Whilst the above two options, including the furlough scheme, presents some options for staff who might wish to volunteer, there are others in the community who might be interested in volunteering if they are aware of the opportunities.  In time we will extend this offer to them as it is a great opportunity to get practical, work based, experience which will help them in their career.

Furlough Scheme changes

As of the 1st July 2020, the furlough scheme changed, so people can now be furloughed part time. This has, and will result in a return to work for many staff.  However, it’s anticipated that there will be a significant backlog of work that’ll need to be addressed.

Using this valuable resource.

Vibrant Nation, the trading arm of the WSA, is proposing to manage a brokering service, to match volunteers with organisations needing support.

As well as covering work activity, there will be other opportunities for project work that will provide an exciting opportunity for willing volunteers.

Any sports governing body can make a bid for support by completing the forms below.


  1. Application forms can be accessed via the Volunteering Development Programme section of the Vibrant Nation website. They are also noted here for ease: Volunteers can apply here. Organisations can apply for volunteer support here
  2. These should be fully completed. One submitted, Stephanie Makuvise, at Vibrant Nation, will be in touch.
  3. Stephanie will match volunteers to opportunities and liaise with both parties.
  4. The host governing body may well wish to interview or have an informal conversation with up to three volunteers before agreeing to proceed.
  5. The governing body will advise the successful candidate of their appointment.  They will also advise Vibrant Nation.
  6. The governing body will prepare a Volunteers Agreement for signature.
  7. The governing body will arrange an induction programme for the volunteer, which will include confidentiality, data protection, health and safety, and any other appropriate topics.


The Volunteering Development Programme has been launched today, the 13th July 2020 and will continue indefinitely.

Queries on the scheme

Any queries should be forwarded to Stephanie Makuvise at [email protected]

Notes regarding the furlough scheme.

  1. This article does not provide guidance on whether employees were/are eligible for the furlough scheme. Separate advice should be sought on that matter before the decision was/is taken to furlough staff.
  2. As noted above, the furlough scheme can operate on a part time basis from the 1st July 2020. 
  3. Further changes will happen on the 1st August, when employers will have to meet part of the 80% salary grant.
  4. Employers will no longer be able to claim for employer costs from the 1st August 2020, eg. National Insurance, employer pension contributions.

Share This

Our Partners

Scroll to Top
Carbon Literacy Training: 6 & 13 June 2024 WSA Facilities Community Webinar NED & Senior Leadership Training 2 Leading Sport: Board Composition and Inclusive Leadership