Stuart Pearce hails online volunteer portal for non-league clubs

England legend Stuart Pearce has given his backing to the Pitching In Volunteer Hub
England legend Stuart Pearce has given his backing to the Pitching In Volunteer Hub

Stuart Pearce has hailed the game-changing impact of Entain’s new innovative online portal that makes getting involved at your local non-league club easier than ever this International Volunteer Day.

With the annual global event taking place on Monday December 5, the Pitching In Volunteer Hub has already filled over 60 roles across the Northern Premier, Southern and Isthmian Leagues as part of Entain’s multi-million-pound, multi-year investment programme into grassroots sport.

The Pitching In Volunteer Hub, powered by Entain, functions as a one-stop-shop to connect football fans and potential volunteers, providing a simple web-based interface through which clubs are able to post volunteering vacancies.

And fans can also search for available opportunities at a specific club or based on their location, with well over 200 positions and applications posted since the platform launched back in May.

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Volunteers are indispensable at non-league level and former England captain Pearce, an official ambassador of Pitching In after starting his career at Wealdstone at non-league level, believes Entain’s new Hub is blazing a trail.

Speaking ahead of International Volunteer Day, he said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of football.
“Going back to my own playing days, our club only survived on people giving their time and effort. It’s the hub of the community, it brings people together.

“The community feel is the big one for me. If it wasn’t for Wealdstone, I’m not sure what journey I would have ended up going on.

“They gave me the opportunity and the people that volunteered set that platform for me to flourish.

“Football clubs won’t survive unless they’re getting people to come and help out. There’s a multitude of jobs, from working on the turnstiles to helping in the bar.

“If anyone is worried about volunteering their services, don’t worry about that, just turn up.”

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Through the Pitching In Volunteer Hub, clubs are able to advertise for positions online, with the aim of making it easier than ever for people to find a role that suits them.

Previously, volunteers were recruited by word of mouth and clubs’ own advertising - but the Volunteer Hub allows clubs to cast their net wider and makes it easier for would-be volunteers to find their calling.

One club who have made prolific use of the Volunteer Hub Marske United, who play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and have filled over six vacancies through the platform.

And Bob Ryan, stadium manager at the club, said: “The Volunteer Hub has been absolutely fantastic.

“It’s fantastic the way it’s come on and growing with people that want to help.

“Everybody has got something to offer – nobody knows how to do every single bit. What we’re trying to build at Marske is a community hub for the village.

“Marske is only a little village but we’re in the league with all the big teams.

“What’s happening now with people coming to volunteer, it’s making it more of a community environment for people to get involved and make new friends.

“Anyone can volunteer at any club to do anything. There’s always some skills that people have that can be grasped and welcomed by non-league clubs.”

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Bim Afolami MP recently visited his local club Hitchin Town, who ply their trade in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central.

And the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden praised the role of volunteers after trying his hand at manning the turnstiles.

He said: "Without volunteers, the club doesn't exist, which would be a shame because people feel part of the club here, it's really a family.

"This isn't the Premier League, it really is a community club and the more people that volunteer, get involved and support the club, the better off it will be."

Entain, the global betting and gaming operator behind Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to support Camden Town FC as part of its ‘Pitching In’ Grassroots Investment Fund. Through Pitching In, Entain supports community sport, including the ‘Pitching In’ Trident Leagues.