As part of the ESRC* 2014 Festival this event will share research findings on the transfer of delivery of local leisure services from local government to volunteers. The audience will be third sector organisations, policy makers, local government officers and the general public.
The event provides us with an opportunity to disseminate the results of research into the process of transfer of public leisure facilities; including sports centres, libraries and museums; towards delivery by volunteers. This transfer is happening rapidly – mainly in response to funding cuts – and it will continue.
We will discuss how the transfer to volunteers can have significant benefits and also the associated challenges. We will share our insights into the bigger picture of the changed balance between public and voluntary sector delivery. We will cover implications of the fast pace of transfer, the uneven distribution of volunteer capacity; the economic viability of transfers and the sustainability of volunteer effort. We will consider challenges from the perspective of volunteers and local authorities, including the political sensitivity of asset transfer. We will finish by looking at the effect on the voluntary sector as a provider of local services, reflecting a local sense of ownership and responsibility.
Speakers will represent the public sector, volunteer support agencies and academics with the event will structured to allow participants to exchange experiences and views.
Confirmed contributors include:
Sylvia Green, CEO, Rural Action Derbyshire: developing volunteer capacity to manage a community swimming pool.
Nick Ockenden, Head of Research, Institute for Volunteering Research: volunteer development in museums.
Spencer Moore, Interim Development Director, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity: presenting the view of CIMSPA.
Bev Cross, Voluntary Action Sheffield: supporting volunteers in asset transfer of libraries.
Chris Chatten, Vice Chair, Richmondshire Leisure Trust: maintaining Economic viability.
The lead researchers are Geoff Nichols, Sheffield University Management School and Deborah Forbes, Newcastle University Business School.
*The ESRC Festival of Social Science will be taking place across the UK from 1-8 November 2014. With over 200 events, suitable for young people; the general public; professionals or those with an interest or some knowledge in a specific topic.