Developing citizenship through sport: the impact of a sport-based volunteer programme on young sport leaders

Diann Eley, David Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


The Millennium Volunteers (MV) is a nation-wide government initiative designed to encourage citizenship in young people by providing opportunities to volunteer their time in the community for the benefit of themselves and others. This paper examines an MV programme focused solely on sport that sets out to provide training and support for young sport leaders to do volunteer work in their schools and the community. The rationale behind this study is to describe the psycho-social characteristics of young sport leaders (males = 138; females = 168; mean age = 16.6 years) from across England who were involved in the programme. Assessments were made on their motives and attitudes to volunteer work and their perceptions of leadership skills over a nine-month period. Overall results showed that leadership skills and volunteer motivations increased while the importance of and attraction to volunteering also changed over time. Providing a profile of young sport leaders and a measure of the impact of their volunteer activity may be of benefit to sporting organisations, educators and community administrators who wish to increase interest and opportunities in volunteer work by young people. This study demonstrates the advantage of using sport and volunteering as a means for encouraging pro-social behaviour and citizenship among young people and the positive impact this combination can have personally on the volunteer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-166
Number of pages16
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • MV programme
  • leadership skills
  • sport leaders
  • volunteer work
  • young sport

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