Top gear for new NW200 Volunteer Strategy

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Relentless International North West 200 organisers are driving forward a new volunteer development strategy and aim to achieve the Investing in Volunteers Award with support from Volunteer Now; the lead organisation for volunteering in Northern Ireland.

Following the completion of a survey and Impact Assessment Report, the NW200 team has secured a bursary through Volunteer Now to complete Investing in Volunteers and will begin work on the 18 month programme this summer. The objective is to create sustainable and positive structures to benefit both volunteers and organisers alike and ultimately secure the event’s long term future.

The NW200 management team, most of whom are volunteers, recognise the importance of the event’s highly successful 800 strong volunteer network. They appreciate the need to build on and develop current operational processes and activities which have helped position the North West as Ireland’s largest outdoor sporting event generating £7.79 million for the Northern Ireland economy and attracting 100,000 visitors during Race Week.

Event Director, Mervyn Whyte MBE paid tribute to this year’s volunteers and outlined plans for the future. “Over 42% of our volunteers have been involved with the NW200 for over 11 years and have built up a top class level of skills and expertise. With help from Volunteer Now we want to enhance this and take it a step further by introducing additional support and training.”

Wendy Osborne OBE, Chief Executive, Volunteer Now, added: “We are delighted that the NW200 has been successful in gaining a bursary for Investing in Volunteers. Over 50 groups in Northern Ireland are publicly demonstrating their commitment to good practice and are improving volunteers’ experience through the achievement of this Award. We recognise how each and every volunteer supports the successful delivery of the NW200 and look forward to volunteering remaining at the heart of it.”

The Impact Assessment Report identified the need to target more volunteers aged 18 to 25. The NW200, through the gradual introduction of GoldMark, a programme which promotes young people volunteering within sports, plan to link up with appropriate groups, colleges and organisations to encourage young people to take up opportunities which will dovetail with their interests, education or chosen career paths.

The NW200 offers a wealth of year round opportunities and workstreams include operational activities, health and safety, course set up and marshalling to sales and marketing, hospitality, retail, media management and administration. All roles offer practical experience and the chance to learn new skills as well as the satisfaction of contributing to a huge event.

“93% of our volunteers said they would recommend volunteering at the NW200 to others demonstrating their dedication and commitment,” said Mervyn Whyte. “Getting a new strategy underway will help us to provide more support and give something back to our volunteers and well as attracting new people to sign up.”

For more information on the NW200 and volunteering visit www.northwest200.org.