Gary Lineker and Asda launch sports volunteering campaign

Gary Lineker and netball star Geva Mentor have teamed up with Asda to launch a major push for sports volunteering in north west London.

The campaign, part of the Big Help Out initiative, addresses findings from the Asda Foundation revealing that 55% of sports clubs cite a lack of volunteers as a significant barrier.

Lineker, speaking at the launch event, emphasised the crucial role volunteers play.

He said: “Volunteers are the backbone of community sports. 

“Clubs can fold if they don’t have enough people to make them work. 

“By getting involved, you could be saving a whole community.”

The launch took place at a youth sports day hosted by Connect Stars, a London-based community group focused on tackling social exclusion among young people through sport.

Lineker and Mentor encouraged the public to volunteer with local clubs during this year’s Big Help Out, running from 7 to 9 June.

The push for volunteers is backed by additional research from Sport England’s annual Active Lives survey, which shows a deficit of 2.1 million volunteers in the sector compared to five years ago. 

Many clubs are struggling to survive without the necessary volunteer support.

As part of the Big Help Out, Asda is organising over 350 litter picks at grassroots groups nationwide. 

Through its network of stores and 390 Community Champions, Asda aims to build connected communities, enhance resilience, and remove barriers to health and wellbeing.

Donna Turner, Asda Park Royal Community Champion, praised Connect Stars for its work.

She said: “Connect Stars does incredible work in our community, led by volunteers. I’m proud we’re able to support them.”

Turner also presented Connect Stars with a £1,000 Under 18’s Better Starts grant from the Asda Foundation to fund a summer activity camp for girls.

She added: “I’m looking forward to helping out in the summer.”

Chris McKellar, Asda’s Vice President South West, highlighted the importance of grassroots support.

He said: “Grassroots groups, like Connect Stars, are key to building connected communities but rely heavily on volunteers. 

“We are proud to support Connect Stars with one of our Asda Foundation grants and partner with the Big Help Out to encourage volunteering.”

The Big Help Out app enables users to find volunteer opportunities in their area by simply inputting their interests and location. 

The initiative, running from 7 to 9 June, promises to be a major event in the UK’s volunteering calendar, aiming to address the volunteer shortage in the sports sector and beyond.

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