June 1, 2022, by Grace Dixon
Leader In Focus: Siobhan Harrison
Today marks the start of National Volunteer Week! It is a time when we can celebrate all the amazing achievements of volunteers. Here at UoN Sport, we have an abundance of volunteers who we can congratulate for their outstanding contribution to UoN and the local community. Therefore, this week, we will be hearing from several volunteers about what volunteering they have done.
The first volunteer we are hearing from is Siobhan Harrison. Here is her volunteering story…
What volunteering have you done?
In terms of sports volunteering within the University, I am the Women’s Football IMS Exec this year, coaching and managing the league on my own. I also volunteered at this year’s BUCS Big Wednesday. Outside of University, I have also been an Under 8’s Girls Football coach this year.
What is your favourite thing about volunteering?
My favourite thing about volunteering has been the impact I am able to elicit on the players I have worked with. Working as the Women’s Football IMS Exec, I have been able to see players transition from the beginning of the season where they were unsure on what to do, to playing in both our All-Stars and Variety matches, being asked to trial for BUCS next year as a result. Being able to help students, especially those in first year, navigate university life and incorporating sport into that has been the most rewarding. Seeing the impact that sport has also played a major role in my volunteering experiences. Being able to generate a crowd to come watch a fixture for players who have never had people come and watch them before is so important in their own development and really rewarding to see.
What is the hardest thing about volunteering?
On the flip side, the hardest part of volunteering is all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running sessions, hosting events, and keeping the opportunities alive. Balancing volunteering and all the tasks that accompany it, alongside my degree and other things outside of University is challenging. There are so many things that have been in the pipelines that haven’t come to fruition mainly due to a lack of time. The most important thing to remember is that you are doing the best you can do. As a volunteer, you become invested in the development of people you are working with and it becomes hard to separate that from everything else you are doing. Remembering that you are doing the best you can do and it is having a positive impact makes it all worth it.
How has volunteering benefited you personally?
Volunteering has been a vital part of my own personal and professional development. At the beginning of June, I will be starting a new job with BUCS and so I will be working with most of the workforce I met whilst volunteering for BUCS Big Wednesday. Being able to come back to Nottingham in the 2022/23 season and see the development of BBW from the other perspective will be really rewarding and something I am really looking forward to. Without the volunteering work I have done in the past and within the University, I never would have considered an opportunity like this.
What advice would you give to anyone who is unsure about volunteering?
If you are unsure whether to start volunteering, the best advice I can give you is to get stuck in and don’t panic. At the start, it can appear to be overwhelming as you are new to everything but remembering that it is all worth it and you will gain so much from the experience is key. The people you are volunteering with wouldn’t be able to do what they are doing without you being there so that in itself is also rewarding. Seeing the enjoyment and development over the period you are volunteering also makes all the hard work worth it.
What can you do?
If Siobhan’s story has inspired you, it is very easy for you to get involved with sport volunteering at UoN. You can find opportunities on the Leadership Academy Website or on the Leadership Academy Facebook Page.
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