Sports volunteer representatives from Russia have visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to meet volunteering experts as they prepare to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The delegation from Moscow visited Preston to meet members of UCLan’s Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership (CVCL) who, in partnership with UCLan Sport, played a key role in developing the volunteer programme for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Now the CVCL members will use their expertise to advise the World Cup volunteer organisers on how to develop a volunteer programme ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Dr Alethea Melling MBE, Director of the Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership at UCLan, commented: “We are very pleased to welcome our guests from Russia who were very impressed with the volunteer management systems within the Centre and said they are looking forward to collaborating on exchange projects in the near future.
“Back in 2012 UCLan was at the heart of an innovative programme to set up volunteer centres in support of the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 so we have a lot of experience in this area that we can share to help ensure the 2018 FIFA World Cup volunteer programme is a success.”
As part of their visit the Russian guests met Dr Adrian Ibbetson, the Assistant Dean of the School of Sport, Tourism and the Outdoors at UCLan, who introduced them to sports students who have taken part in volunteering projects both at home and abroad in Zambia and Russia. They also visited The Myerscough College Football Academy to meet staff and students from the football studies programme, discuss the role of volunteers within the Football Academy and Sport England Volunteering and consider possible collaboration.
The Mayor of Preston Councillor Veronica Afrin was also on hand to welcome the delegation who presented her with a special bound book on the history of Moscow.
The Sports volunteer representatives visited Preston as part of a wider UK visit to learn more about the country's football infrastructure and sports volunteering projects as well as to meet representatives from the organising committee of Olympic volunteers for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Delegation was made up of volunteer corporation heads from different regions of Russia and representatives from Moscow City Government and Rostovskaya obl Government.