ITV launches sport volunteering campaign ahead of World Cup

ITV has teamed up with the Olympic legacy charity Join In to try and attract 100,000 new volunteers into local sport.

The 'ITV Local Heroes' campaign is a collaboration between the broadcaster and Join In, which was set up after 2012 to increase participation in grass-roots sport.

The campaign launched on Wednesday with a promo trail, produced in-house by ITV Creative, shown during England’s pre-World Cup friendly against Ecuador and starring the former footballer Ian Wright.

In the promo, viewers are urged to sign up to an online database after which they will be matched with sports clubs in their local communities by Join In.

The charity’s own research of 110 clubs suggests that every volunteer enables 12 participants to enjoy community sport, which means that, if the target of 100,000 is achieved, up to 1.2 million more people could get involved in sport.

ITV declined to comment on how many volunteers signed up to the database following Wednesday night’s debut of the promo.

As part of the campaign ITV has created ITV Fever Pitch, a beach soccer stadium in Manchester, which will act as its World Cup fan park.

World Cup matches will be screened at the stadium and every morning a community programme for 150 schools and clubs in the North West will see children receive beach soccer lessons from professionals in the sport.

Join In hopes to recruit 250 additional volunteers to staff ITV Fever Pitch for the duration of the campaign.

Sara Hanson, the head of corporate responsibility at ITV, said: "This summer ITV will be bringing some of the world's biggest sporting events into our homes, and we hope to channel some of that national pride and emotion into local community sports.

"Our hope is that fantastic events like the World Cup will inspire viewers to get active and offer their help, so even more people can enjoy community sport."

Rebecca Birkbeck, the chief executive of Join In, said: "Join In is thrilled to be working in partnership with ITV, putting sport at the heart of communities by encouraging thousands of people to volunteer at local sports clubs and groups across the UK."

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