Volunteering - Available Roles

Role Descriptions

Below you will find descriptions for each available volunteer role at the Games. During registration you will be asked to pick your top 3 preferences:

To provide a full range of support to the regional delegations from a warm welcome and settling in on arrival, right through to send off on departure. A varied role responding to requests for information, help and assistance as and when required throughout the week to provide a home from home environment. When not on shift volunteers will be encouraged to go and watch some of the sport and support the athletes. The responsibility for the athlete's day to day care and any special requirements will be met by their coach and support team, not the accomodation volunteers. Please note that as with all other volunteers, those volunteering in this role will not be given accommodation.
There will be a great demand for administration and IT support during the Games, from printing schedules and results to updating information on the Games website to general photocopying and providing one off requests for notices or bulletins as and when required. There will be a main Games office in a central location and one or two small hubs in the larger competition venues.
The awards presentation teams will be made up of volunteers who have specific roles, this will include: receiving results once they have been checked and ratified and preparing the medals and ribbons for each presentation, organising the staging/holding area to ensure athletes line up in the correct order to receive their medal/ribbon, volunteer announcer who will read out results using the Games awards script, sound volunteer to play Games music to accompany presentation, medal bearers to carry out awards. This requires great teamwork by all awards volunteers. Medal bearers will be younger volunteers aged 10 – 15 who will be recruited from local schools, sports clubs, community groups.

There is no cooking required for this area of volunteering, you will be assigned to one of two main areas:

  • The accommodation venue to provide support in the refectory areas to keep tables cleared, water jugs replenished and to assist the catering team at the university to keep the flow of diners moving as the numbers coming through with be significant at the peak times of day ie breakfast and the evening meal.
  • The competition venues to distribute packed lunches to the teams, distribute water throughout the day and ensure that black sacks are available for rubbish and emptied before getting too full. This relates only to the competition and break areas – not the public domain.
This is a stewarding role and as such a key role in ensuring that all visitors receive a warm welcome on arrival at a venue, accurate directions for where they need to go or where they can sit and also to provide general information and respond to requests for any general help and assistance as and when required. Great role for those who enjoy face to face interaction and like to feel they are keeping everyone moving to where they need to be.

We are expecting in excess of 4,000 registered family members to travel to Sheffield. Our Families Programme volunteers will provide a welcome centre where they will collect their accreditation passes to access the Opening Ceremony and Competition. Wherever there are families, there will be Families Programme volunteers to provide support, information, conversation, and a listening hear to hear all those stories throughout the week about how athletes have got on and to share the celebration in each achievement. There will also be a Families hub that will provide light refreshments and a variety of entertainment and where Family members can meet up informally and get to know each other.

Please note the Families Programme supporter – Lions Clubs International (MD 105) – will be recruiting the majority of volunteers from their members so please ensure that you select two other preferences as the number of volunteer roles in this area may be limited.

There will be a Competition Manager and experienced qualified Officials assigned to every sport ensuring that all National Governing Body roles and regulations are adhered to and the quality and integrity of the sport is maintained to the highest level. The requirement for volunteer roles in this area vary from sport to sport.

Roles include:

  • Athlete registration - where athletes report to sign in for their event.
  • Staging area – where athletes are seated to wait for their event.
  • Escorts – will accompany a group of athletes to the starting point for their event.
  • Finishing Line – to accompany athletes directly to the awards area (if appropriate for the sport) .
  • Results runners
  • Equipment monitors
  • Ball boys/girls – this role is for football and tennis only and can be fulfilled by volunteers who are 16 and over.

The number of volunteers assigned to Field of Play roles are a relatively small percentage of the overall number of our volunteer team, so please ensure that you select two other preferences so that we can offer you an alternative role if that is the case.

The Games Village is an athlete only area that will be located at the accommodation site where athletes can spend some down time when they are not competing. It will have a range of activities that they can try and some social areas for fun or just relaxation. Volunteers will co-ordinate the activities in these areas – possibly lead on creative workshops if they have some skills in art, drama, music etc – but otherwise encourage athletes to try out some of the things on offer and just ensure they have an enjoyable time.
GMS is the IT software used by Special Olympics International that stores and collates the results data for all athletes and the data is then used to schedule events based on athlete ability and performance to ensure meaningful and fair competition. For this role volunteers will need to be IT literate with attention to detail and will be required to attend GMS training in order to fulfil this role. This training will be over and above the generic volunteer training. GMS volunteers will be assigned to a specific sport and will be based in that venue.
Many special Guests, Sponsors and Supporters will visit the Games and the Guest Services team provide the welcome and hospitality to ensure that they have an enjoyable Games experience. This might include escorting a Guest around a multi-sport venue or taking them to the awards presentation area if they are due to present some awards. Volunteers will also provide information about what is happening in their venue and also link in with transport to arrange make arrangements for them to be collected at an agreed time.
Most of the sports venues will have qualified health and safety staff on site already. However we envisage the need for a small team of experienced and qualified volunteers to fulfil a roving role to visit venues and provide support and information on an eye and ears basis and to report any concerns.
Healthy athletes is a health screening programme for all athletes at the Games All volunteer roles will be fulfilled by professional medical practitioners and students who are at an advances level of their training in their discipline. We will be providing screenings in : optometry, audiology, dentistry, podiatry, physiotherapy and general health promotion. All screenings are led by a Clinical Director and volunteers will be provided with induction and specifical screening training.

Volunteers in this area will ALL be required at least two days pre-Games to assist with taking delivery of the large consignments of equipment that will be delivered on site, assist where, appropriate with the reception of any small temporary structures, ensuring that all goods received are signed for and stored in an organised and safe manner. Attention to detail is key in ensuring that time is maximised by only moving an item once and that everything is logged.

It is envisaged that volunteers will work closely with the Look and Signage team. We are hoping that most if not all volunteers will also assist with the tear out and close down at the end of the Games.

Branding is a very visible and powerful way of acknowledging the support of sponsors at the Games and volunteers who will be required for at least one day pre-Games will assist in ensuring that branding and signage are placed around the venues in accordance with a pre-prepared a venue plan that will highlight the location of every piece of branded material plus signage. During Games time volunteers will have a roving role to ensure that the branding/signage remains neatly and securely in place and replaces anything that is missing or damaged. We are hoping that most if not all volunteers will also assist with the tear out and close down at the end of the Games.
Volunteers for this area will require very specific experience and knowledge in event management as they will be required to monitor all Games activity from a main control centre using radio and mobile communication to maintain contact with all venues. They will be the overarching eyes and ears of the Games knowing what is happening right across all venues and able to respond to any concerns, requests for assistance if required. They will also link in with the local emergency. Volunteers will be required to work shifts to provide the level of cover required during competition but also evening activities. This is not a competition venue base role.
MATP Challenge Days will take place over two days with an additional day for a Come and Try event. Volunteers will assist by setting up equipment and resetting it during the event ie standing skittles back up when they are knocked down. There may also be a requirement to support the MATP coaches and carers on arrival at their accommodation venue to take luggage to rooms and also during the evenings with social activities. MATP athletes have very individual requirements so a flexible approach to helping as and where is required will result in the best experience for both athlete, coach/carer, and volunteer.
We hope to attract a large number of representatives from local and regional tv, radio and newspaper to the Games and media volunteers will be in venues to meet them on arrival and direct them to specific viewing areas for filming and photography that have been agreed in advance and also areas that have been designated where they can interview athletes. These volunteers will also be encouraged to provide updates from their venues through social media. Training will be required for this role over and above the generic Games volunteer training.
There will be medical team recruited for the Games made up of nurses, doctors and physios who will report to the Games Medical Advisor. Volunteers for this role will all need to be qualified and will be assigned to a number of different competition venues including the accommodation venue. The Games Medical Adviser will also create close links with the local hospital, GPs, Dentists etc in the event that they might be needed for any emergency treatment during the Games. A DBS will be required for these volunteers.
There will be a range of Games merchandise that will be on sale at the Opening Ceremony, a number of venues and also at the Games Village. Volunteers will be required to set out the items at the beginning of the day, keep accurate records of all items sold and ensure that the clothing and gifts are put away safely and securely.
There will be a daily briefing and Photographers will be assigned to the venues that they will cover that day to ensure that there is an even spread of images taken across all sports. There will also be a requirement to capture non-sports images at the Opening Ceremony, Families social evenings, Games Village plus other activities which have not been confirmed at the time this information has gone out. We are looking for volunteers who have a range of experience across subjects, not just sport, who can bring their own style and creativity to ensure we capture some exciting and professional images of the Games. There will be a requirement to attend a specific training workshop for this role to go through the Special Olympics photography guidelines over and above the generic Games volunteer training
We envisage the need for a small team of experienced and qualified volunteers to fulfil a roving role to visit venues and provide support and information on an eye and ears basis and to report any concerns to the Games Safeguarding & Welfare Manager. There will be a requirement to attend a specific training workshop for this role over and above the generic Games volunteer training
Some, not all, sports venues will request sound – whether that is music before and during competition, for awards presentations and to make announcements/commentary on during the events. For this role we will need volunteers with experience in this area who can work with either static equipment already in the venue or a mobile unit if we need to bring it in. Quality and clarity of sound, volume control and the ability to follow a menu of tracks to enhance the event will be in the hands of the volunteer.
There will be a sports information desk in every venue to provide information , updates, schedules, results on all the activity that has taken place is going on at the time or is still to come later that day or the following day. Liaison with the Competition Manager will be key in ensuring that the desk is kept up to date with any changes to schedule.
This will largely be a pre-Games role to train Games volunteers who will receive generic, role specific and venue orientation training to help them prepare for their volunteer role. Training will largely take place at weekends in May/June 2017 (tbc) and will take place in Sheffield. There will also be two or three “just in time” sessions much nearer to the Games for any last minute recruits of for those volunteers who be travelling to volunteer from outside GB. We are looking for a pool of trainers to spread across the training days and also for input to the development of the training sessions. We are also very keen to recruit some volunteers with experience of developing online training modules and webinar for some of the role specific training. There is an opportunity for Trainers to take up a role at Games time as part of the Volunteer support team.
Transport will play a huge role in these Games – every morning every athlete will get up, have their breakfast and then have to get on a bus to go to their venue. Transport teams will be required at every venue to assist athletes get on and off buses safely and escort them across any parking or waiting areas into the venues. Volunteers will need to be alert to health & safety at all times, especially in the morning when buses will be arriving, loading and then departing back to back. Transport will be a key area of the Games.
Volunteers who are assigned to a role in the volunteer support team will fulfil an HR type role during Games time and whilst all other volunteers are focussing on the athletes, their coaches and family members, the volunteer support team are focussing on the Games volunteers, ensuring they are receiving any support, guidance and reassurance they need, especially in the first day or two, but then getting creative and looking at ways to enhance the volunteer experience by mini competitions, a prize draw, social opportunities to get together or just simply going out and about to see how everyone is getting on. Volunteers will blossom even over a few days, they just need to be given the support and encouragement to do so. Volunteers fulfilling this role will be encouraged to get involved in the Games build up by attending training workshops to help with the welcome and registration as a great foundation on which they will build at Games time.
Volunteers will be required for two to three days only for the Young Athlete Programme. YAP is a programme for 3 to 6 year olds and there will be two demonstration days plus a Come and Try. Volunteers will help with the set up and will get involved in supporting the session by assisting activities like bench balance, obstacle course and the ever popular parachute game. We will also be encouraging families and siblings to get involved with the session.