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10th March 2010, 2:03pm
Olympic glory for project which champions sport volunteers
The London 2012 Inspire Mark A project which champions the vital role played by volunteers in running amateur sports clubs and events has been granted the prestigious London 2012 Inspire Mark – an exclusive accreditation from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Researchers at the University of Lincoln are looking at the ways in which sport can bring communities together and particularly how grass roots clubs and societies rely on the initiative and good will of unpaid volunteers.

Now the scheme, the Take Part Lincolnshire: Sports Volunteer Leadership Programme, has won the blessing of the organisers of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The project is one of just a handful in the UK and the first in Lincolnshire to receive the London 2012 Inspire Mark, which recognises outstanding projects which contribute to the Games’ lasting legacy.

The University of Lincoln is working with community sports leaders from across Lincolnshire, looking at the work they do in their communities. The aim is to document what achieves results and identify the problems volunteers can come up against. The research is backed by the Lincolnshire Sports Partnership and the Lincolnshire Voluntary Sports Forum.

The research team is now producing a Take Part Guide for other parts of the country, outlining what has been learned so far. It is hoped that guide, which will bear the London 2012 Inspire Mark, will help volunteers all over Britain to take on board the skills and knowledge that have brought success for others.

Robin Wright, Director of Sport at the University of Lincoln, said: “Sport is great at bridging differences and establishing bonds. A village team can draw together people of all ages and walks of life who might never normally meet or speak to each other. That sort of interaction can really strengthen a community.
“In a rural county like ours, most sports are run by volunteers. Things happen thanks to individual leaders, not professional services. All this helps to raise people’s quality of life.
“The project is about giving these volunteers greater influence and impact. We’re very proud that the importance and potential of this project has been recognised with the London 2012 Inspire Mark. The Olympic and Paralympic Games is the most recognised and respected sporting brand in the world, so to be associated with it in this way is fantastic.”

Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said: “The Inspire programme is ensuring the legacy of the 2012 Games starts now as projects like The Take Part Lincolnshire: Sports Volunteer Leadership Programme are enabling people in Lincolnshire to make positive life changes.”

The Take Part Lincolnshire: Sports Volunteer Leadership Programme is part of a wider research programme run by the University of Lincoln which aims to increase civil and civic engagement in Lincolnshire. This over-arching project, The Lincolnshire Take Part Pathfinder Programme, is a partnership between the Lincolnshire Assembly and the University of Lincoln. It aims to improve citizens’ skills, knowledge and confidence to enable them to get involved in local activities, politics and decision-making.

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