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Volunteer Development Fund

The Volunteer Development Fund is open to all colleges registered as part of the AoC Sport Student Leadership Programme. Colleges will be able to apply for funding to support the creation and delivery of a new and innovative project to engage students from underserved communities in voluntary and leadership roles in sport and physical activity.

Colleges can apply for up to £800 to support the creation and delivery of a new and innovative project to engage more students from underserved groups in volunteering in sport and physical activity, ensuring that the volunteer workforce is more representative of the student population.​

"The development fund will use college expertise to engage underserved students in college sport, ensuring that the volunteer workforce is more representative of the student population."​

Window Opens: Thursday 21 September 2023​ | Window Closes: Wednesday 18 October 2023​ | Applicants notified by: Friday 10 November 2023​


Underserved Groups

  • Students with disabilities
  • Students from ethnic minorities
  • Female students
  • LGBTQ+ students
  • Students from lower socio-economic groups

As a project aimed at engaging students from under-represented and under-served groups, we would particularly welcome applications that:

- Are very specific in their approach e.g. South Asian students

- Are innovative and trial new methods and activities


New volunteers from under-served groups are engaged in line with agreed targets​

Volunteers are developed, upskilled and supported to identify and achieve future aspirations including continued volunteering​

The project and volunteers engaged through it positively contribute to sport and physical activity at the college

Use of funding

Unfortunately, we can't fund everything, and we are unable to fund:​

  • Engaging and supporting students already involved in AoC Sport leadership programmes e.g. Ambassadors and Activators​
  • Existing activity - although we may pay for additional costs associated with the expansion of that activity if it's related to increasing the diversity of volunteers​
  • Purchasing large pieces of equipment​
  • Supporting the delivery of any activity not recognised by Sport England

Further Information

For further information take a look at the 2023-24 Development Fund overview.

Application Form

Applications to the Volunteer Development Fund should be completed using this application form.​

​The application window closes on Wednesday 18th October 2023.​

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by Friday 10th November 2023.

If you would like to discuss your project idea with us before submitting your application or would like further information, please contact

2020/21 Projects

Kirklees College​

Kirklees College's project focused on encouraging students to take an interest and care for their community, creating a sense of belonging and achievement whilst developing employability skills. ​

​Using knowledge of the local area, an initial skills assessment of students, and internal auditing Kirklees College identified a need for the opportunity to enhance employability skills and create character-building diversionary activities through volunteering for students from lower socio-economic groups and ethnically diverse backgrounds. ​

​The students developed a social action project to support a local foodbank. Students collected donations and set a challenge to walk to the nearest foodbank, therefore encouraging physical activity whilst positively impacting the local community, In total 27.7kg of food was delivered over a distance of 12.4 miles. ​

​Alongside delivering the foodbank challenge, students were upskilled through training sessions delivered by college staff.​

Varndean College​

Varndean College's project aimed to engage more students from an ethnic minority. Insight was gathered through focus groups and surveys to identify activities that would appeal to students from diverse ethnicities. ​

The college delivered a basketball activators project with the goal of upskilling student volunteers, using basketball as a vehicle to do this, whilst developing a new student-led basketball enrichment activity at the college through the project. ​

Students delivered informal basketball sessions to their fellow students. Over the course of the project, 18 students were engaged as volunteers and over 30 students from ethnically diverse backgrounds took part in the newly developed basketball sessions. The project reached students that had not previously volunteered and gave them the opportunity to develop their own personal skills whilst positively impacting the college community.

Leeds City College​

Leeds City College identified that their LGBTQ+ Society had over 50 student members that were inactive. The group were consulted to understand their barriers to being active and it was found that students would feel safer being active if sessions were led by LGBTQ+ volunteers. ​

​Students from the LGBTQ+ Society were trained as leaders to be able to deliver sessions that the society members felt were a safe so​.​

Due to Covid-19 the programme adapted to online delivery and included a first aid course, leadership training, tutoring and support from the Sport Enrichment Team. LGBTQ+ specific support was provided by mentors from the Staff LGBTQ+ network.​

​The college identified a key success to the programme was from engaging students in the design of the programme to ensure it met their needs and they felt ownership of it.

Tyne Met College

​Tyne Met College's project targeted students with a disability or from an ethnic minority. The college worked with their Foundation Learning and ESOL departments to identify students.​

​Students did group sessions with activities to improve their teamwork, communication and confidence. They also learnt about physical and mental health and social action.​

​Each group planned and delivered a project or event. These included a sports beach day, disability sports day and a mental health awareness week campaign.

Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College​

The project targeted students from an ethnic minority who played cricket or volleyball but had never volunteered before. ​

​Students delivered taster sessions at college, promoted the teams and recruited new students, coordinated competitions and volunteered at AoC Sport events.​

​Due to Covid-19 the students completed their activator qualifications at the end of the project.

Student Leadership Programme