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Business & Economy

Pioneering North East-based organisation is leading the charge to support volunteers

A pioneering North East-based sports tech organisation is leading the charge to support the invaluable role of volunteers at community clubs across the UK.

Tyneside’s GiveToLocal launched in December 2019 with a focus on helping grassroots clubs raise an additional £10m of funding per year.

Its innovative service enables donors and small businesses to connect with their local communities and achieve sustainable income.

And a network of like-minded corporate partners is enabling GiveToLocal to expand its reach and broaden its remit — helping the thousands of volunteers who remain committed to ensuring sport’s safe return at a local, regional and national level in the post-lockdown era.

“Volunteers are the backbone of community sport,” says Keith Watson, club engagement manager at GiveToLocal.

“Their contribution has come into even sharper focus during the pandemic.

“We want to do as much as we can to support our volunteers and shine a light on their invaluable contribution.”

Last month GiveToLocal asked its clubs to submit stories detailing examples of how volunteers continue to make a difference to community sport.

“We wanted to hear all about the people who are the heart and soul of grassroots sport,” adds Keith.

“The response was fantastic and we came across some truly inspirational stories.

“We’re here to support the hard-working volunteers who sustain community sport.

“It’s the very reason we exist.

“We want to make sure that they’ve got a tomorrow and that all of their hard work continues to reap rewards.

“With that in mind we promised to send a £500 kit voucher to the club of the volunteer who really stood out.”

GiveToLocal chose to focus on the unique role of volunteers in recognition of the additional challenges they faced as a result of the pandemic.

Many of the people who make community sport tick have been asked to shoulder extra responsibility ahead of the return to sport.

And a shining example of volunteering at its very best caught the attention of Keith and his team after Kevin Roberts got in touch to tell the story of his 60-year-old father, Colin.

The Roberts help to run Oakley Diamonds FC, based in Northampton, and Kevin explains: “Most of the players are local and live within a few minutes of the club.

“That’s where my dad comes in. He devotes a huge amount of his spare time to driving around and picking up players before games and dropping them off again afterwards.

“It can take him 35 or 40 minutes to get around everyone but he’s the life and soul of the club and loves his role.

“He’s always there for all of us. He makes a point of checking if everyone’s ok and nothing’s too much trouble for him.

“He’s done just about everything for Oakley over the years.”

GiveToLocal’s service has been designed to support more than 77,500 clubs, across 21 sports, nationally.

Keith adds: “We’re hugely proud of the fact that, as a North East-based organisation, our reach is national.

“It’s fantastic to be able to support people like Kevin and Colin in Northampton but there are so many opportunities to do the same across our region.

“There are 3,096 affiliated community sport clubs in the North East that can benefit from what we do.

“There’s a fantastic opportunity for regional businesses to get on board and support those clubs and their volunteers.”

Kevin adds: “Volunteers like my dad are the people who keep community sport going through the good times and the bad.

“The additional support from GiveToLocal is a huge boost just when we’re trying to get back up and running again.

“They’ve been shot in the arm for community sport. Everywhere I look they’re making a difference at grassroots level — whether it’s with basketball, netball, football or whatever.

“Unless you’re involved in community sport on a day-to-day basis it’s impossible to imagine just how difficult things have been during the last year.

“GiveToLocal’s service has never been needed more as far as I’m concerned.”


To find out more about how your business can support community sport clubs and their network of volunteers visit