Goalball UK has made a renewed commitment to volunteer development and recruitment with the appointment of a Workforce Development Officer.

The recruit, Steve Cox, has been involved in coaching and sports education for over two decades. Starting as a swim club coach where he supported athletes at a national and international level, he has since worked in higher education as a sports activator and Club Competitions coordinator at Sheffield Hallam University. Most recently, he was involved in club sport development at the University of Sheffield.

In his new role, Steve is working on a new volunteering strategy to support and enhance the experience of the existing volunteer workforce as well as increasing the number of opportunities to be involved in the sport.

Since the 2012 London games, participation in goalball has grown 425%, bucking the overall trend in Paralympic and able-bodied sport, with the number of clubs nationwide doubling.

Becky Ashworth, national development manager for Goalball UK, said: “We always say that when you start playing goalball you’re joining more than just a sports club – you’re becoming part of a community.

“This is in no small part thanks to our incredibly dedicated volunteers, coaches and referees. Steve’s appointment is a statement of intent. We want to ensure that our volunteers are supported, valued, and offered every possible chance to develop their skills and experience everything goalball has to offer.”

“He is offering his invaluable experience in volunteer and club development that will put us in good stead as we aim to transform even more lives.”

Steve said: “Goalball already has a remarkable cohort of volunteers working hard in clubs around the country and travelling to make sure that tournaments happen without a hitch.

“But with the remarkable expansion that the sport has seen, it is vital that we attract more people to the sport to match this surge in participation.

“I am enjoying working with the clubs and wider goalball community to build on what is already a transformative volunteering experience.”

This new role is the latest in a series of appointments to secure the long-term growth of the sport.

Peter Elliott, former Olympic middle-distance runner, joined the board to focus on developing talent and elite performance as well as issues around athlete welfare.

Steve Ferres, formally of the Bradford Bulls, recently started as business development manager to identify partnerships and opportunities for income generation as well as developing existing revenue sources.