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Team Personal Best

This project is now complete

Building on the momentum of the 2017 World Athletics Championships to transform the experience and diversity of volunteering

The project in numbers


Project spend

August 2016 – November 2019

Project duration

Visit England Athletics website

For further information

Team Personal Best was a three-year Spirit-funded programme with England Athletics to deliver the volunteering element of the legacy and inspiration programme of the London 2017 World Athletics Championships.

The project was much more than a recruitment drive for more volunteers, but a response to changing patterns of volunteering. As Chris Jones, Chief Executive, set out:

“We need to find more flexible and creative ways of integrating volunteers from all backgrounds into our sport who might only be able to commit a small piece of their disposable time for the good of others. What worked 20 years ago will not necessarily work these days. The days of the same few people being expected to commit a lifetime of goodwill and effort, to one club for example, are in many cases a thing of the past. We need to support people who are prepared to commit smaller chunks of free time to make things happen, and the onus is on all of us to find ways in which such efforts can be accommodated.”

Project aims

To harness the profile of 2017 Summer of World Athletics to:

  1. Prioritise creating positive experiences for new and existing volunteers
  2. Create supportive environments that make it easier for existing volunteers to stay involved, to feel happier and valued
  3. Develop a volunteering workforce that better reflects society, helping people who have a love of the sport to easily get, and stay, involved

England Athletics set itself specific targets for attracting younger people, disabled people and people racialised minority backgrounds into the volunteer workforce, so that it was more reflective of their participant base.


Game Changers: The main strand to diversify athletics volunteering, with a particular focus on young people. Over two years, it provided 46 clubs with grants to reach out to and support new volunteers, leading to 397 new volunteers aged under 25. 95 of the new volunteers received a formal qualification and 91% of the group said it had helped prepare them for the workplace. This strand was successful at supporting clubs to integrate younger people into the volunteer workforce,  but less successful at achieving meaningful increases to the numbers of disabled and BAME volunteers.

Champions: A set of short and accessible training sessions to improve the volunteer experience, helping some volunteers to improve the experience for others in their clubs. This programme trained 351 volunteers from 32 clubs. The training was rated very highly by volunteers.

The project involved the pilot of a more intensive Ambassadors programme for lead volunteers at clubs. This was paused after the first cohort of six had been through it, with England Athletics deciding to focus on embedding the Champions training before introducing a further step.

Conferences and events: This strand of the programme helped to increase reward and recognition opportunities for volunteers, and included two national events, eighteen regional volunteer awards and a volunteer conference. 100% said they enjoyed the conference and 99% that they would attend future conferences. It is likely that improved reward and recognition activities contributed to a significant increase in overall volunteer satisfaction over the course of Team Personal Best, which went from 77% to 89%.

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