Sport volunteering responses to Covid-19: Changes in practice and innovation

Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form 
(for Online Snapshot)

You are being invited to take part in this research study. Before you decide it is important for you to read the following information so you understand why the study is being carried out and what it will involve.

Reading this information, discussing it with others or asking any questions you might have will help you decide whether or not you would like to take part.


What is the purpose of the study?

The focus of this study is to consider how sport volunteering and volunteer management practices have changed as a result of the challenges and opportunities presented by the Covid‐19 (C‐19) pandemic in England. We seek to understand how sport volunteering was adapted during the C-19 lockdown, the lifting of restrictions and going forward. 

Sport England are conducting this research with Bayfirth Research, so that best practice and case studies can be shared with others to help sport and physical activity and volunteering return stronger to our communities.

To do this we need to:

  • identify clubs, sport for development programmes/projects and National Governing Bodies (NGBs) who have adapted their approach to volunteering in response to C-19;
  • establish what changes have been made and where innovation* has led to improvements or better practice in volunteer management;
  • help facilitate shared learning from the response of sport volunteering to the challenges of C-19; and,
  • identify where there have been innovations or successful approaches that can be shared more widely to help us to embed improvements for the future that benefit both volunteers and participants.

*Innovation means different things for different organisations. An innovation is a new practice for your organisation, something that you have done differently.

The research will inform Sport England’s work in the future in help understand what resources or support may be needed to support these improvements and how to overcome challenges that may emerge as a result of future impacts of the pandemic.


Why have I been invited?

You have been invited to take part in this study as you are involved in sport volunteering or manage volunteers, or you advise those who lead sport volunteers. This includes anyone who as part of their role (paid or voluntary) helps to manage, support or coordinate volunteers.

You must be over-18 and have been involved with sport volunteering for at least 12 months, including since February 2020 (the start of the global pandemic impact on England). As such you are likely to be aware of or involved in voluntary provision during the C-19 period. For this reason, your engagement with, experiences of, and perspectives on sport volunteering at this time, will provide valuable insights into the continued development of sport volunteering in England.

If you are the parent or carer of a child under 18 or a vulnerable adult that helps to support volunteering in sport and physical activity, we would appreciate it if you could complete the survey part of this project from their perspective.


Do I have to take part?

No. It is up to you whether you would like to take part in the study. We are giving you this information sheet to help you make that decision.  If you do decide to take part, remember that you can stop being involved in the study whenever you choose, without telling us why. You are completely free to decide whether or not to take part, or to take part and then leave the study before completion.


What will happen if I take part?

We want to make this research as convenient for you as possible.

There are 3 parts to the project and the part we are inviting you to participate in is highlighted in bold text below:

  1. Interviews with National/Regional Governing Body/Sport programme leads: to identify club/programme innovation and how NGB volunteering management/advice has changed (approximately 30 minutes via phone or Zoom, at a time of mutual convenience).
  2. Online survey of clubs/programme operators: to explore changes that you have made to your sport volunteering and what changes you intend to carry on with (the survey is designed, using the SmartSurvey platform so that you can provide the level of detail that you are comfortable with/have time to complete, so it will take between 3-15 minutes depending on when you choose to exit the survey).
  3. Interviews with club/programme operators: to explore in greater depth the change in practice/innovation identified in the survey (approximately 45 minutes via phone or Zoom, at a time of mutual convenience).

At the end of the interview/survey you will also be asked whether you would like to be invited to take part in any follow up studies.

You will be asked questions relating to those points outlined above in the ‘What is the Purpose of the Study’ sub-section.


What are the possible disadvantages of taking part?

There are no risks or adverse effects envisaged from taking part in this study.

If you find talking about sport volunteering during C-19 stressful in anyway then you are free to withdraw from the study at any time.


What are the possible benefits of taking part?

Your input will be extremely valuable to the future development of sport volunteering in England and you will be able to access Sport England’s report/case studies from the project.


Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential and anonymous?

You can participate in this study confidentially and anonymously.

Your name, organisation and contact details will not be written on any of the data we collect; the written information you provide will have an ID number, not your name. Your name will not be kept on the completed survey, recorded interviews, or on the typed-up versions of your discussions from the interview, and your name and organisation will not appear in any reports or documents resulting from this study. The consent form you have signed will be stored separately from your other data. The data collected from you in this study will be confidential. The only exception to this confidentiality is if the researcher feels that you or others may be harmed if information is not shared. 

However, you can choose to share identifiable information about your organisation, such as name of organisation, contact details and examples of your changed volunteering practice in parts 2 and 3 of the study and these may be included in the study report and case studies. You will be asked about this again at the relevant points in participating and will be asked to sign a data protection/image release form for Sport England where this required


Who will hold my data and how will it be stored?

This project has been designed by Bayfirth Research for Sport England. Sport England and Bayfirth Research are joint-controllers over your personal data.

Bayfirth Research will be analysing your personal data and passing on their findings on to Sport England. They are a processor of your personal data.

SmartSurvey, who designed the software that powers the online survey part of this study, will not be using your personal data. However, by virtue of them creating and powering the platform that your personal data will be shared and stored in, they are a sub-processer of your personal data.

All electronic data, including the survey responses and/or recordings from your interview, will be stored on Bayfirth Research’s shared data server, which is hosted by Microsoft Sharepoint, which is data encrypted and password protected. By virtue of Microsoft Sharepoint powering the platform that your personal data will be stored on, they are a sub-processer of your personal data.

All data will be stored in accordance with Bayfirth Research and Sport England guidelines and the Data Protection Act (2018). 

  • Sport England and Bayfirth Research will hold the data in a way that cannot identify you for as long as is necessary to support the research project and findings.
  • Your personal data will be deleted or anonymised within sixty (60) days of the survey ending.
  • Your personal data may also be deleted within seven (7) days upon your written request to Bayfirth Research (see researcher email below).


What categories of personal data will be collected and processed in this study?

In undertaking this study, we will require some contact details from you, minimally your name and contact email details. We will also request the name of the voluntary sport organisation you are linked to, the sport or activity provided, your role at the organisation and the length of time you have been in this role. Once again, you are under no obligation to provide this information.


What is the legal basis for processing personal data?

Bayfirth Research and SmartSurvey need to collect and use personal data in order to carry out this research on Sport England’s behalf. Their lawful basis are its respective contractual obligations.

Sport England’s lawful basis is its public task. This aligns with GDPR Article 6(1) (e).... “processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest”.


What will happen to the results of the study and could personal data collected be used in future research?

The general anonymised findings will be shared by Sport England on their website and may be passed to third parties such as National Governing Bodies and other Sport England partners. These general findings might also be reported in a scientific journal or presented at a research conference by the Research Team.

Your data will be anonymised and you or the data you have provided will not be personally identifiable, unless we have asked for your specific consent for this beforehand (we will ask for this consent within the online survey and case study interviews). 

We will also use your details to recontact you for any follow-up questions if you provide your name and contact details and if we identify you as a suitable subject for a case study; and for future follow up studies.


Who is organising and funding the study?

Sport England are funding this study and have engaged Bayfirth Research to organise this project. Sport England and Bayfirth Research are joint data controllers of the study.


Who has reviewed this study?

The research project was designed by Bayfirth Research for Sport England and both partners have reviewed the study. It has been reviewed in order to safeguard your interests, and approval has been granted to conduct the study.


What are my rights as a participant in this study?

Your rights can be found at this link: individual’s rights under GDPR, including the following: a right of access to a copy of the information comprised in your personal data: a right in certain circumstances to have inaccurate personal data rectified; and, a right to object to decisions being taken by automated means. You can exercise your rights at any time by contacting us at

If you are dissatisfied with Bayfirth Research’s processing of personal data, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. For more information see the ICO website or by sending an email to:


Contact for further information:

Principal Researcher:  Dr Fiona Reid -

Information Officer at Bayfirth Research Ltd:   Chris Mills - 


Consent to participate

By continuing to complete the online snapshot, participants are consenting as follows:

  • I have carefully read and understood the Participant Information Sheet. 
  • I have had an opportunity to ask questions and discuss this study and I have received satisfactory answers. 
  • I understand I am free to withdraw from the study at any time, without having to give a reason for withdrawing, and without prejudice. 
  • I agree to take part in this study. 
  • I also consent to the retention of this data under the conditions set out in the Participant Information Sheet.   



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