An estimated 26,000 people volunteered for netball in this country in 2019, giving the equivalent of £55m of skilled time annually to the game.

These volunteers have supported netball through a variety of different disciplines from coaching and officiating to leading counties and regions, supporting events or facilitating netball sessions, plus much more.

Our recent Big Netball Conversation survey, which was completed by over 4,876 people (2,369 of which volunteer in netball), has shown that 89% of volunteers feel a sense of achievement. However, there are still some areas that need developing as we are seeing an increase in volunteers feeling under pressure to help more than they want to and have a lower satisfaction score than our participants, which we want to improve.

To help address the pressure and satisfaction level of volunteers, we need to recruit more volunteers and provide more tailored support for those currently involved. Over several years we have developed a strategic plan to inspire, connect and engage with the netball volunteering community, which will also help in encouraging even more people to dedicate their time to supporting netball throughout the country.

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To lead the way in implementing this vital strategy, which is the first volunteering focused strategy introduced at England Netball, we recently welcomed Imogen Greatbatch to the team as the new Head of Volunteering.

Imogen’s role will focus on bringing the strategy to life and building a volunteer movement in netball.

She said: “At England Netball we want to recognise the vital contributions that volunteers have made over the years and ensure that we are continuing to support them, through appealing to their motivations and enhancing their experience, inspiring more people to get involved.

“I feel extremely privileged to be in this new role and to be leading the launch of this exciting and ambitious vision for netball volunteers. I have been lucky to feed into the development of the strategy through my volunteer role as a former Regional Chair, witnessing first-hand the effort and appetite from England Netball staff and volunteers, across the country, to support each other to enrich more lives through netball.

“We have been working hard to create this strategic framework that will help us raise awareness of volunteering opportunities and tailor this support. We know there are different motivators for people getting involved in netball at varying points throughout their life, so it is important to understand how we need to meet these different motivations.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to all the fantastic volunteers for their continued support, they are the life and soul of netball and I can’t wait to continue to work closer with as many of them as possible to bring it all to life.”

The strategy will also focus on areas including revolutionising volunteering roles to attract younger people, it will support parents to help them stay involved in the sport, provide more mentoring and CV development opportunities and ensure volunteering is flexible and bite-sized.

To see the full strategy and the work England Netball are doing to inspire volunteers, click here.

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