Recognition for volunteers 'vital'
YOUNG volunteers are the lifeblood of sports clubs across Torbay.
And Torbay Sports Council chairman Roger Mann says it is vital we recognise their efforts in this Olympic year.
Speaking after the new look Torbay Sports Awards were launched, Mr Mann said youngsters who volunteer in sporting communities will give a lifetime and 'leave Torbay with a lasting legacy'.
Nominations can now be made for the awards which take place in November.
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Joining forces for the first time to organise the event, Torbay Council and the Herald Express will celebrate the huge sporting talent and achievement across the Bay in a spectacular event.
The Friends of South Devon College will also be working as part of the team to help organise the awards initiative that will showcase and recognise the very best of Torbay's impressive sporting talent, as well as acknowledging the selfless efforts of those working to help them achieve their goals.
Mr Mann, who himself won the senior volunteer of the year award in 2007/08, said: "Awards are not what volunteers volunteer for, or sportsmen compete for, but it is nice from the view that it sends out a message their work is recognised.
"Volunteers like to be behind the scene, but it is nice to recognise their efforts.
"It also draws to the attention that volunteers are appreciated and it may inspire more people to step forward.
"The longer the world goes on the harder it is to get people to volunteer on the administration of sports particularly.
"There are still plenty of coaches, many are paid, but filling club secretaries, treasurers and chairman roles is much more difficult than 10 or 20 years ago.
"That is only one reason we need to highlight the value of volunteers because sport relies on them. All of these people and we are not honestly getting enough of them."
Mr Mann said the awards this year would continue the celebration and passion promoted by London 2012.
"With the Olympics happening and these awards which will happen in November it will continue to say that thanks we owe to all our volunteers.
"I think the Olympics volunteers were almost as important as the competitors. It has been a wonderful year for volunteers and in Torbay in November it will be a chance to clap them again.
"One of the really encouraging things to me in recent years in the Torbay Sports Awards is the number of younger people nominated. Young volunteers are really important as if people start young they will probably have a lifetime to give.
"Torbay is different to other places I have been to. There are always a number of retired people and as much as they do good in their jobs I'm personally particularly encouraged by younger people leaving places like Paignton Community and Sports College and contributing in their early 20s and they have a whole life time to offer and that is really good stuff. The younger volunteers will leave a whole legacy for Torbay."
The Herald Express has already been promoting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle through its loveLIFE campaign which kicked off in February.
All nominations must be submitted by September 28, with the awards ceremony taking place at the Riviera International Conference Centre on November 29.
For more information and details of how to enter, log on to www.torbaysports awards.co.uk
Senior Sports Personality of the Year
Junior Sports Personality of the Year
Disabled Sports Personality of the Year
Young Volunteer of the Year
Outstanding Contribution Award
Coach of the Year Award
Senior Team of the Year
Junior Team of the Year
Torbay Club of the Year
Contribution to London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics