Proud

Last weekend, we celebrated my 100th run at Guildford parkrun. And somebody hummed this tune.

The build up to my 100 started with She’s the girl!!!!. And in the briefing, the Event Director informed 320 runners that they were all shivering in Stoke Park on a bitterly cold February day because of me. Because four years ago I helped set up Guildford parkrun. He joked that it had taken me four whole years to reach my century milestone – and hinted at my lack of commitment, and then revealed that it had taken so long because I had volunteered nearly 100 times too.

I’m pleased that I’ve earned a coveted black 100 T-shirt. Although plenty of runners have done it before me. In fact, at the time of writing, there are 13526 other runners in the parkrun “100 club“.

100 parkrun

I’m far more proud of my volunteering T-shirt and the part I have played in Guildford parkrun. Nothing beats the feeling that we’ve started something that will carry on – every week – free – and organised by volunteers.

And I know the current Event Directors are proud of our event and our parkrun community. Even the Council are proud of our parkrun. It made the front cover of the Guildford Sport Development Strategy.

This weekend I found out just how many people are proud of our 5k run in the park.

For all the volunteers, the core team and especially the present Event Directors, this is for us. Hum a little tune.

So, I’m worth £16,000

…..as one of the 3.2 million people who regularly volunteer in sport.

Join in, the volunteering organisation, set out to calculate the true value that a sport volunteer contributes to society. Using information on the “Social Value of Volunteering” from the Bank of England, Join In has released ground-breaking research in it’s report Hidden Diamonds.They evaluated the increase in wellbeing and improvement in mental health for both the volunteer and the sports participants and found that:

A volunteer creates the capacity for at least 8.5 people to participate.

One volunteer in sport creates wellbeing worth £16,000

Join in talks about us volunteers as investing our time, skills and energies in creating opportunities for others to take part in sport. In doing this, we are seen to be creating community assets. Hardly surprising then that a volunteer in sport is significantly more likely to feel good about their community than someone who doesn’t volunteer.

Join in compared the community feel-good factor between volunteers and non-volunteers and demonstrated that volunteering boosts happiness and wellbeing.

Compared to those who have never volunteered in sport, 87% of people who volunteer agreed that their life has meaning.

If you volunteer in sport you are significantly more likely to trust people in your community

We know that sports clubs and volunteer-led events like parkruns bring communities together and we feel happier as a result. I believe that quite a few people go home from volunteering feeling better than they do after competing. But is nice to see the social value of volunteering being recognised and hear the Bank of England’s chief economist describing volunteering as a hidden jewel.

You might also like to read:

“In giving, how much do we receive. The social value of volunteering.” Bank of England speech

“Jo Pavey: Volunteers enabled me to fulfil my dreams in athletics” The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

parkrun newsletter in which Tom talks about the potential of this research for parkrun which had 33,000 volunteers in 2013,