Great Expectations: Voluntary Sports Clubs and Their Role in Delivering National Policy for English Sport
Voluntary sports clubs (VSCs) account for about a quarter of all volunteering in England. The volunteers work in a mutual aid, self-production, self-consumption system whose main purpose is identifying and nurturing high-level performers. But the new HMG/Sport England strategies leading to London 2012 expects volunteers to make a major contribution to sustaining and extending participation. The study utilized six focus group sessions with a total of 36 officials and members of 36 clubs across the six counties of Eastern England to assess whether and to what extent government policy objectives can be delivered through the voluntary sector. The study focused on the perceptions and attitudes of club members about being expected to serve public policy and the current pressures they and their clubs face. The results lead the authors to question the appropriateness, sensitivity, and feasibility of current sport policy, particularly the emphasis on VSCs as policy implementers.