Volunteers are the lifeblood of Scottish football. Selflessly lending their time and energy to their local clubs and communities, their input is invaluable in delivering the innumerable benefits of grassroots football.
Now, thanks to Teamworks, a pioneering volunteer programme managed and delivered by the Scottish FA, local grassroots clubs are also benefitting from the professional expertise of volunteers from the business sector.
The programme, initially called Work Out for Sport when it launched, matches volunteers from the business sector with football clubs and organisations in Scotland.
Time is allocated to employees through an employers’ community investment policy which they can use to volunteer within sport.
The programme initially launched in 2017 with two partner organisations, Deloitte and Grant Thornton, with Standard Life Aberdeen and Skyscanner now also involved.
Grassroots clubs are linked with employees in the organisations who are seeking volunteer opportunities, obtaining access to knowledge and skills they may otherwise struggle with.
Through the programme, volunteer mentors have helped clubs with support and advice on aspects such as governance, marketing, communications, financial planning, IT & administration, property advice and fundraising – all with the ultimate goal of developing their off-pitch experience.
For the employees at Deloitte who have participated in the programme, the experience has been extremely fulfilling.
“Deloitte are delighted to be part of Teamworks – we feel that it’s a wonderful opportunity for us as an organisation to demonstrate our commitment to corporate social responsibility,” said Rick Ballard, Partner, FA Transaction Services at Deloitte.
“The programme allows us to invest in our people, offering opportunities for them to develop both personally and professionally by spending time with local communities and impacting on wider society across Scotland.
“We believe that business can positively affect sport and Teamworks is a fantastic vehicle to help create a legacy for us and our staff – I would encourage other organisations to sign up to this programme.”
The Teamworks programme now has 30 mentors across the country, who are matched with clubs based on the skillset suited to achieve the clubs’ off-pitch goals.
Although in its relative infancy, the programme has been an unbridled success – with its true potential far from fulfilled.
Danny Bisland, Scottish FA Project Manager for Community Football Clubs, has set an ambitious target of having 100 clubs across the nation supported by these talented mentors by 2020.
“The impact that these mentors have had on the clubs and crucially, the positive impact the club have in turn had on the mentors, has been fantastic to see and these types of relationships are replicated the length and breadth of the country,” said Danny.
“Due to the size and scale of many of our clubs we are always on the lookout for additional support and we would welcome any organisations who recognise the two-way benefits available for their skilled employees through mentoring, to pursue this opportunity.”