Be(ach) Volunteer, Be(ach) Fair! -
This EU-funded project Be(ach) Volunteer, Be(ach) Fair! (VolFair) lasted for two years, commencing in 2021, and concluded at the end of 2022. The main objective of this project was to improve the volunteer policy and increase volunteer satisfaction at beach handball tournaments in such a way that it simultaneously develops our current volunteers, increases the number of new volunteers, and extends the period of volunteering for both of them. The project’s ultimate was to set guidelines related to volunteer management that could be useful for all future sports events, particularly beach handball competitions. This project was the first in Europe to be associated with the theme of beach handball.
With the sport of Beach Handball becoming more and more professionalised, it is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on the "all-in-one" volunteers (coaches, players, and event organisers are all volunteers at the same time), although this enabled the sport’s rapid growth and spread by respecting its main rule: fair play. By increasing the seriousness of the sport’s competition level, an urgent need has grown for the development of new volunteer systems that will enable future volunteers’ motivation and involvement.
Over the two years, the project participants attended numerous working meetings, promoted fair play, and volunteered at more than ten top-level beach handball tournaments organised in the project's partner countries. In June 2021, the project partners conducted the kick-off meeting online. Following that, two meetings were held that year, the first in Zagreb, Croatia, in August 2021, during the Jarun Cup 2021 Beach Handball tournament, held by the project coordinator of Beach Handball Club Zagreb (CRO).
In December 2021, the European University Sports Association held the second in-person meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia. At this meeting, the partners discussed the administrative and organisational aspects and then focused on the development of the platform, which allowed volunteers and organisers of beach handball events to collaborate for the events.
In 2022, there were several more meetings that took place, the first of which was an online meeting in February. The project partners gathered to create an action plan for project-related sustainability activities and to set additional milestones in the project, which are dedicated to volunteering and beach handball. Later, in March, a conference was held in Tilburg, Netherlands, to identify important steps in the project, highlighting beach handball as a developing sport and the importance of volunteering and fair play. The partners finalised the website details and focused on the platform’s development, which will allow volunteers and organisers of beach handball events to collaborate. Partners also contributed to the handbook, which will be presented to the tournament organisers at the upcoming beach handball events.
Afterwards, in April 2022, another meeting was held in Zagreb, during the Beach Handball Tournament Jarun Cup 2022, led by the project coordinator of Beach Handball Club Zagreb (CRO). At this meeting, the project partners discussed the next stages in the project as well as finalizing the details of the Internet platform, that would allow volunteers and organisers of beach handball events to work together. Partners also had the opportunity to volunteer at the Jarun Cup event, to gain a better understanding of the specificity of such an event and enhance volunteer services and policies.
The partners met again in May 2022, in Tilburg, Netherlands, during the Camelot Beach Handball Tournament, hosted by the Student Sports Association in the Netherlands. At this event, there were discussions on how to implement the new website, which would allow volunteers to quickly identify and participate in upcoming beach handball events. The partners also had the opportunity to watch spectacular matches at the Camelot Beach Handball Tournament.
During the Lodz Games in Poland in July 2022, there was another meeting organized, to distribute the survey among beach handball volunteers.
Following that, the project partners met in September 2022, to finalise the project recommendations. Project partners also evaluated the previous beach handball events and began the evaluation process of follow-up initiatives.
The project’s last meeting was conducted in December 2022, at the Sports Association of the City of Zagreb to wrap up and discuss the project’s final operations. The meeting discussed the project outcomes, including the final survey results, following which the project partners discussed ways to continue empowering and involving volunteers in beach handball, as well as sharing personal best practice experiences. The research findings and analysis of the surveys have offered future guidelines and recommendations that are critical for the experience of future beach handball volunteers.
Future collaboration, project ideas, and potential partners involved were also discussed during the final meeting in order to maintain the great work and teamwork that the partners have done on this project. The meeting concluded with a discussion of all the necessary information needed for the final report and project completion.
The entire 2-year project was funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, led by project coordinator Beach Handball Club Zagreb (CRO), and partners in the project include the University Sports Association of Poland (POL), Camelot Beach Handball Tournament (NED) and the EUSA Institute (SLO).
For more information, please see the official website https://beachvolunteers.com