I have enjoyed taking part in Princes ParkRun (liverpool) over the last year, it is at Princes park that i met Mark Connor (the guy that ParkRun sacked as a volunteer)
Mark is a keen runner and has done a lot for running in Liverpool in the last couple of years, he was a key part to bringing ParkRun to Liverpool and managed to create several great events locally all of which raised money for the club that he setup "Liverpool running bugs" if you google Mark you will find that he is a RunBritain accreddited race director and has helped various charities create events, James Bulger memorial trust, Stoke association, RNLI, Clatterbridge hospital and of course Park Run and the bug events.
In January the bugs started a Saturday afternoon 5k that is free to participate (i have done this race its good) www.bugruns.org.uk
the race was organised for a 1pm start to allow people to have the option to do either parkrun or this event or both, Mark was splitting his time between the two events both as a volunteer.
a few weeks back Mark recieved a email from parkrun telling him to have no further involvement (effectively sacking a volunteer) one of the other volunteers at ParkRun posted what had happened on the ParkRun facebook this post was deleted by ParkRun.
Having spoke with Mark since all this it is clear that his biggest grievence is with the manner in which he was dismissed which has left himself and many other including me questioning ParkRuns treatment of volunteers and also if indeed Parkrun is good for the sport?
After a bit of googling I would like to raise the following questions;
1. Why was Mark sacked as a volunteer for helping other projects? if ParkRun is about benefiting the sport they should admire and encourage this not condemn this and punish those that volunteer.
2. As a volunteer to ParkRun is their a complaints procedure for volunteers, do ParkRun have a guidlines that they follow for dealing with volunteers and if so are these readilly available to view?
3. Are the ParkRun HQ staff who deal with volunteers and runners details (many of which are children) subject to CRB enhanced disclosure to check that they are suitable?
4. Why is the financial information suurounding ParkRun not transparent? having done a bit of background checking it would appear that their is two companies involved in ParkRun;
ParkRun limited (not for profit) and UKTT limited (for profit) Paul Sinton-Hewitt is the sole owner of UKTT limited, while Parkrun limited may be operated on a not for profit basis UKTT limited is not, their may not be anything underhand here but why does UKTT limited (for profit exist) if parkrun is sold and supported because people believe it is "not for profit"
Why not offer better financial transparency? is the not for profit status of ParkRun limited for the purpose of encouraging the backing of its projects via public funding and encouraging UKA and local authorities to offer support that they may not offer if they where aware that UKTT limited is in fact "For Profit"
I Would like very much to see ParkRun succeed but I do think that they need to have better practice and policy in place on how they deal with volunteers, I dont think that sacking volunteers via email is the way a organisation that relys heavily on volunteers should conduct itself.
I Also think that event directors and key volunteers at events should be CRB checked.
I Do think that in todays climate we do require financial transparency, when ParkRun is being awarded public funding and free use of parks on the basis that it is not for profit, we need to be sure that the funding is not in someway finding its way to UKTT limited which is for profit.
Mark is a friend of mine (only through running) and it is his treatment that has sparked a interest into this subject, to have a look at the runnersworld thread on this subject take a look at;http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/for ... TN/175586/