‘Pass on your passion’ campaign inspires women into volunteering within sport in Greater Manchester

Campaign aims to inspire more women into volunteering and coaching within sport and physical activity in Greater Manchester.

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Volunteer: Jen Weaver

The Pass On Your Passion campaign has been celebrating the female workforce that make sport and physical activity happen across the north of England for the last three months.

Starting in Yorkshire in September the campaign has reached its final week here in Greater Manchester this week and will see women share their stories of how they overcame their own barriers to get involved in volunteering.

The hope is that by sharing how they have overcome barriers, others will be inspired to overcome their own barriers and start their own journey into volunteering, so that they too can reap the benefits of volunteering, such as improved mental wellbeing, confidence and building new friendships.

Jen Weaver from Wigan is a perfect example of who this campaign is showcasing. She is a carer for her husband and felt guilty about being away from him and taking time for herself. However, she’s learned that as a carer she has to take time for herself to help her be the best support to her husband that she can be.

Through volunteering with the On Your Bike programme, she’s found something that she loves to do and an extra support network for herself, that she didn’t even realise she needed. Watch her full story here.

In England, volunteering rates within physical activity and sport are decreasing, with just 13.7% of people aged 16+ volunteering twice in the last year, a trend which is mirrored in Greater Manchester.

There is also a marked gender gap, with just 11.1% of women volunteering, compared to 16.3% of men, part of the reason why the campaign was created by GreaterSport in 2016.

Another female who is passionate about volunteering in sport is Special Olympian Kiera Byland, who has multiple learning disabilities. For Kiera, sport was the first place she was able to make friends after being bullied at school, and it was seeing her coaches helping others that inspired her to start her own journey.

Volunteering and coaching people of all ages, as her mother Jacqui says, has been the making of her.

People with learning disabilities are often faced with people telling them they can’t do things, however “can’t” certainly isn’t in Kiera’s vocabulary; she said: “Sometimes there are going to be people out there in the world who might say ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that’ because of your disability, but actually, if you have a dream you can achieve it, you just do it in a different way to everybody else.”

If you want to volunteer in sport or physical activity in your community, visit the GreaterSport website here, fill in our contact form and we’ll help find you volunteering opportunities local to you!

For further information about the Pass On Your Passion campaign in Greater Manchester, visit www.greatersport.co.uk/PassOnYourPassion and to see how the campaign has travelled around the north of England, check out #PassOnYourPassion

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