Volleyball Ireland are proud and honoured to win NGB of the Year at the Irish Sports Industry Awards. VLY. fought off strong competition from Canoeing Ireland, Badminton Ireland, Irish Sailing, Special Olympics Ireland and Vision Sports Ireland to win the coveted award, which recognises excellent governance and development of sports organisations.
Despite the Covid-19 restrictions on indoor sport, Volleyball Ireland (VLY) has thrived over the last year growing and exceeding pre-Covid metrics across all strategic areas, including a massive 55% growth in verified participation figures versus 2019, a 47% rise in social media followers (v y/e 2020) and +325% increase in the number of active and licensed juniors playing the sport.
VLY. President Clodagh NicCanna, “This is a huge achievement which is testament to the brilliant work of our club network, volunteers, committees, board and staff. The Volleyball community has accomplished so much in recent years and I’m so excited about what we will achieve next.”
VLY. Chief Executive Gary Stewart, “I’m so proud that the team could win this prestigious award for the Volleyball community. It’s been a difficult couple of years for indoor sport but this shows what can be done with ambition, energy and when everyone pulls together in the same direction. This is just the start.”
VLY. have used the opportunity of Covid-19 to focus on long term strategic projects such as a new brand identity, high performance framework and long term player development model, whilst pivoting current programmes to grow the sport rapidly including a new Beach Tour and youth participation initiatives. We’ve also specifically targeted the recruitment of foreign nationals into our sport with an innovative PlayVolley marketing campaign translated into different languages, and in early 2022 led the drive to help integrate Ukrainians into Irish Sport.
Our new brand identity was implemented to great applause and brought vibrancy, colour and energy to our events, whilst reinforcing our image as an innovative, progressive and diverse National Governing Body.
We have taken a serious approach to our Governance structures with the appointment of 2 x Independent Directors, the roll out of a comprehensive induction programme for Board and Committee members and the publishing of an award-winning Annual Report becoming the first Sports body to win the prestigious Carmichael Good Governance Award for Annual Reports. We also ensured we have gender balance at Board level (56:44, F:M).
We have developed a Women in Sport action plan to ensure that more women progress on the Coach, Referee and Leadership pathway and have began the development of our first Youth Council.
Competition-wise we have created a new development league to help young players transition from youth to national league level, we’ve setup our first Junior Beach Tour, implemented a new junior boys programme and created a Regional Development Centre programme for advanced teenagers to progress their skills.
Our growth has been noticed at International level, with VLY invited to present our story of success at the Annual European Volleyball Congress.
Volleyball Ireland would like to thank Federation of Irish Sport, category and main sponsors Clubforce® and the judging panel chaired by Rob Hartnett, for a brilliant awards programme and evening.