The accolade celebrates clubs and programmes that make volunteering accessible to people from all backgrounds, with recruitment and retention programmes also in place which reward volunteers.
Loughborough’s CVA provides students with valuable sport-based coaching, volunteering and leadership opportunities to enhance their experience and personal development.
Students from all academic Schools are encouraged to engage in the programme, with over 1,300 students taking part in 2017/2018 and a total of 48,368 volunteering hours logged.
All volunteers have access to qualifications, training and a high-quality recognition scheme to recognise the brilliant job they do by volunteering.
The programme offers a bespoke recognition package for volunteers, with six milestone achievements ranging from 25 hours to over 1,000 hours. At each milestone, student volunteers receive a certificate signed by the Vice-Chancellor and the Director of Sport, as well as a range of different rewards such as water bottles, clothing and tickets to sporting events.
In addition, there is also an annual CVA Awards evening held which celebrates the work of all volunteers, with special individual awards given out to those who have gone above and beyond in their volunteering strand.
Ella McLoughlin, a CVA volunteer who was named Volunteer of the Year for 2018, commented: “I have been a part of the CVA at Loughborough University for the past four years, and this programme has provided an invaluable amount of skills and experiences that I will be forever grateful for.
“The opportunities available are of interest to every student at Loughborough, not just those who are physically active or those on a sport-specific degree. These opportunities increase employability skills, and students gain an advantage on competitors when applying for placements and graduate jobs.
“This is unique to Loughborough and was a major influence on why I chose to attend Loughborough University for my undergraduate degree and continued to stay on for my MSc.”
Cath Harvey, Sports Volunteering and Employability Manager at the University, added:
“We feel that our volunteers deserve this award and should be recognised nationally for their contributions and development of themselves and others.
“We often reward the individuals that we know and hear about within our programme but winning this award would mean a lot to the hundreds of unsung heroes that go about their volunteering work and put so many hours into helping others.”
The winners will be announced on 15 March at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, where HRH the Earl of Wessex will present the winners with the award and a £1,000 cash prize.