Retford Swimming Club has won a prestigious national award in the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Community Sport and Recreation Awards at a ceremony in St James’s Palace in London.
The Alliance’s President, HRH The Earl of Wessex, presented the club with the Volunteer Management Award sponsored by GBGroup, at the ceremony on Wednesday 9 July.
This prestigious award celebrates the club, programme or scheme from across the country that makes the most of their volunteers – offering them training, skills and rewards to recognise them for all the hard work, time and effort that they contribute.
Founded in 1896, Retford Swimming Club (RSC) has been a huge part of the community for decades and now caters for 164 swimmers from 124 local families, all supported by a thriving network of volunteer helpers.
RSC clinched victory in the Community Sport and Recreation Awards for their commitment to developing their enthusiastic volunteer workforce across all aspects of the club’s operation.
From coaching swimmers and organising galas, to running courses on nutrition and even developing a new club website – volunteers are absolutely key to the club’s success. And RSC supports them in turn by investing in their training, enabling 21 new volunteer coaches and swimming teachers and 13 Amateur Swimming Assocation club helpers to gain their qualifications over the last three years.
The club’s superstar volunteers also raised over £5,500 for the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice by organising and completing a 24 hour swimming marathon.
Sallie Barker, Interim Chief Executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said:
“This award recognises the fantastic example that RetfordSwimming Club sets in how it recruits and supports its volunteers.
“There are more volunteers that give their valuable time to sport than in any other sector and without them most sport and recreation clubs simply wouldn’t be able to function.
“Retford Swimming Club is an excellent example of a club that has embraced volunteers and helped them develop their skills to ensure the club continues to go from strength to strength.”
Simon Ferrarelli, Director of Swimming at RetfordSwimming Club, said:
“Like most community based sports clubs, we are reliant on the support of our volunteers. We have actively pursued a policy over the last few years to increase the involvement of volunteers, both young and old.
“Most families who have a swimmer at the club get involved in one capacity or another. Dad might help out running galas, mum might have taken a judging qualification to help officiate at galas and the teenager might help out with coaching on poolside. Most important to our long-term success has been the way in which we have built our team of young volunteers.
“I’m delighted with the award. It is a fantastic endorsement of our approach and will enable us to further build and develop our team of volunteers and give them the support they deserve.”
Lucy Palfreyman (17), Retford Swimming Club Captain and young volunteer, said:
“Whilst I was still competing I started helping out on poolside and I now run coaching sessions for the younger swimmers. This has really helped me with my PE studies and also convinced me that I want to get into the Sports Science area.
“As a result of my involvement with the club, earlier this year I was selected to join the Amateur Swimming AssociationNational Youth Forum – a body designed to involve young volunteers in a range of aquatic issues. It’s great experience and I hope to stay involved with the sport for many years to come.”