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University conducting study on challenges and pressures facing volunteers at athletics events

University of Gloucestershire is collaborating with national athletics governing bodies on a new study aimed at gaining a greater understanding of the pressures and challenges facing volunteers across all areas of the sport in the UK.

The UK Athletics Volunteer Survey has been commissioned by UK Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Federations – Athletics Northern Ireland, England Athletics, Scottish Athletics and Welsh Athletics – and designed in partnership with Dr Emily Ryall from the University’s School of Natural, Social and Sports Sciences.

The governing bodies say anecdotal evidence suggests that since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteers involved in athletics are feeling and experiencing increased pressure and challenges related to the activities that they carry out on a regular basis.

The findings of the survey, which is being conducted and administered by the University in partnership with UK Athletics, will help the governing bodies address those issues as they look to ensure that their volunteers feel valued and have a positive sense of wellbeing.

The UK Athletics Volunteer Survey closes on 1 September 2023.

Dr Ryall (pictured above), Reader in Applied Philosophy at the University, said: “We’re extremely proud to be collaborating with UK Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Federations on the UK Athletics Volunteer Survey.

“With volunteers playing such important roles across the sport, the governing bodies are looking to find out more about the challenges they’re facing so they’re able to enhance and develop the support they’re providing at all levels.

“We encourage all those that currently volunteer and play a role in the delivery of athletics across the UK, as well as those that have volunteered in athletics previously, to complete the survey.”

Dr Ryall has written and lectured on a range of topics over the past 25 years from good governance in sport, the implementation of technology in officiating, and the value of games and play as part of a good life.

In November, she was among the panel of experts for the University’s public debate entitled ‘Should we be watching the Qatar FIFA World Cup?’.