Eddie Izzard and Tanni Grey-Thompson launch volunteer initiative

Join In and BBC Get Inspired hope to see a significant uptake at local sports clubs.

Sports volunteering charity Join In and BBC Get Inspired have announced their partnership for the launch of the Big Help Out, an initiative to inspire 10,000 new volunteers to help out at local sports clubs, groups and events across the country.

Join In patron Eddie Izzard and Paralympic athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson are spearheading the campaign ahead of BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 this December.

The campaign aims to encourage 10,000 new volunteers by connecting them with regional clubs. Research shows every volunteer in sport creates capacity for an additional 8.5 participants. As a result of the campaign Join In and BBC Get Inspired hope to see a significant uptake at local sports clubs.

Eddie Izzard says, "Real heroes don’t wear capes or masks, they’re in the community around us, helping out at local sports clubs and using their super skills to help with fundraising, coaching, social media and everything else it takes. But it’s not just the players that benefit, these local heroes also feel happier and healthier for helping out."

Tanni Grey-Thompson added, "Volunteers have played a vital role in my career, their motivation, dedication and commitment has helped me progress in sport and they continue to help athletes, at every level, to take part in and enjoy sport."

Barbara Slater, BBC Director of Sport commented, "I’m delighted that once again the BBC is partnering with Join In on such a worthwhile initiative. The Get Inspired website now attracts on average 1.2 million views a month with over 350,000 people referred onto partner activities last year alone. We want to use that success to build on 2014’s Big Thank You campaign and inspire more people to get involved with their local sports communities."

Currently 3.2 million people give their time for free to enable sport to happen across the UK. Despite this huge effort, 55 per cent of the general public are not aware that sports clubs are run by volunteers and 7 out of 10 clubs still need more help.

Every year BBC Get Inspired presents the Unsung Hero Award at BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which recognises one individual who has made an outstanding volunteer contribution to sport. Last year’s BBC Midlands Sport’s Unsung Hero Denis Neenan says, "I have been a volunteer for over 40 years and I'm still going strong. When I first started I could never have imagined the people I would meet and the places I would go through volunteering, it’s been incredible, if I had the chance to do it all again I would."

For further information or to find a local sports club that needs your help, visit joininuk.org/bighelpout.