Dr Geoff Nichols

Senior Lecturer in sport and Leisure Management

Room: C097
Phone: +44 (0)114 222 2184
Email: g.nichols@sheffield.ac.uk
Geoff Nichols  

Geoff completed a BA Joint Honours in Economics/Sociology at the University of Durham. He completed a MSc Industrial Relations (by research and dissertation) in 1981 while working with a team at Strathclyde University researching the impact of productivity bonus schemes. In 1986 he completed a MSc in Sport and Recreation Management at Loughborough University and in 2004 was awarded a PhD from Sheffield University for his thesis, `The impact of sports programmes on youth crime.' Geoff has worked at Sheffield University since 1990.


Geoff leads an undergraduate level 3 module, MGT363, The Leisure Industry. This covers: the importance and meaning of leisure, the birth of modern sport, the rational for the public sector in leisure, sport and crime reduction, the voluntary sector in sport , managing sport volunteers, mega-sports events and regeneration, time and money as leisure determinants, and leisure’s importance in future society. He also leads a level 2 module, MGT242, Research Methods. Both modules are able to draw on his previous and current research. Both use a combination of lectures and student led tutorials. The content and structure reflect the aim of the university to develop students’ ability to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own learning.


Geoff’s main research interests are volunteers in sports clubs and events; management of sports clubs run by volunteers and the volunteering legacy of sports events. Recent research has included the volunteering legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, a national survey of sports clubs in the UK (for the Sport and Recreation Alliance), research into how sports clubs recruit new volunteers (for Sport England) and the experience of volunteers at the 2012 Olympic Games. He has worked on two previous national surveys of sports clubs (both also conducted for Sport England). Since 2009 he has chaired the Sports Volunteering Research Network. The network promotes research into sports volunteering through arranging research symposia and a newsletter. Network presentations are available at http://svrn.group.shef.ac.uk Most of Geoff’s research is conducted in collaboration with colleagues in other institutions, both in the UK and abroad. Prior to 2007 Geoff’s research focussed on the relationship between sport and crime reduction, especially for young people. This was the topic of Geoff´s PhD. Geoff was involved in six major programme evaluations and two national surveys, including a survey for the Home Office, into physically demanding activities for probation service clients (1997/8). Much of this work was incorporated into his 2007 book, `Sport and crime reduction: the role of sports in tackling youth crime,' which was written for policy makers and academics.

Click here to read Geoff and Deborah Forbes' (University of Newcastle) report on the community asset transfer of libraries: considerations in community managed libraries taking a lease

Click here to read Geoff's EU-funded report on Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sports Clubs in Europe.

PhD Supervision

Volunteers in sport

Professional Activities, Recognition and Other Information

Previous employment

8 years as an outdoor pursuits instructor; both for Outward Bound, and for Tameside Council, where he was a sports development officer

He is a keen mountaineer, rock climber and fell runner and lives in Sheffield. He helps with mountaineering and climbing training for the Scout Association.

Current chairs/boards:

Geoff is a member of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity and the Leisure Studies Association.

He has formerly served as a board member of the Journal Leisure Studies and on the Leisure Studies Association executive committee.