June 7, 2023, by Habbi Liton
Volunteers’ Week: University of Nottingham Boat Club
Every year the Leadership Academy works really closely with the university’s sports clubs to create opportunities for children around the local community, allowing them to discover new sports and breaking the economic barrier that comes with being an athlete. This academic year the University of Nottingham Boat Club showed outstanding efforts and contributions to get over 150 children involved in rowing. They helped launch the Active Row Nottingham programme, which is supported by London Youth Rowing and the Henley Royal Regatta Charitable Trust, with the aim to provide children with less opportunity the chance to experience rowing.
We reached out to the club’s president, Ethan Page-Mason, who told us a little bit more about their motivation behind getting involved in volunteering.
“We got involved in this program as rowing traditionally can be seen as a sport dominated by privilege with very few minorities or underprivileged communities ever getting the opportunity to experience the sport we love. Therefore I felt it is important that we try to get as many people involved with the sport as it can teach great life lessons like teamwork alongside all the other benefits that are associated with sport. In 2021/22 we first launched our outreach program with Nottingham Girls High School which was a massive success so when it was announced that a new Active Row program was being set up in Nottingham we jumped on the opportunity to expand into more schools and expose the rowing world to as many people as possible.”
As part of the programme, the club went out to 7 different schools throughout the year with some of the highest free meal rates. Our students delivered weekly rowing sessions with 4 rowing machines donated by Concept 2, and they later started getting the kids out on the water during term 2. One of the highlights of the year was having the BBC attend one of these sessions to film one of their water sessions, and interviewed Josie Cunningham who spoke about increasing diversity in rowing. This was part of the broadcast that was shown alongside the Boat Race footage!
Opportunities such as this not only have a huge impact on the children, but also on those university students that volunteer their time every week. The Leadership Academy makes it possible for students to gain numerous skills, from confidence delivering sessions to transferable leadership skills. Ethan remarks that “the club has grown massively from the opportunity to work in the community and create a positive impact on so many young lives. The individuals involved with running the sessions gain a massive sense of accomplishment from having participated in the program.”
If you would like for your club to get involved and volunteer through one of our programmes, join us for next academic year! More information is available through the Leadership Academy Website as well as the Sport for Good Page. If you have any questions, please join the Leadership Academy Facebook Page and don’t hesitate to drop us a message!
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