Latest ‘Volunteer Spotlight’ in the Rotherham Advertiser promotes a different view of volunteering in sport
On Friday 18th April the Advertiser published the latest in a series of Volunteer Spotlights, this time celebrating the volunteering effort behind cricket clubs across Rotherham and in particular the volunteering contribution of Dawn Nicklin at Aston Hall Cricket Club.
All grassroots sporting activity relies heavily on volunteers, whether Mums and Dads of the children and young people that play or adult members who take on extra responsibility as committee members to ensure that ‘sport’ actually takes place in local communities. Many of the people involved don’t even class themselves as volunteers, they just do what they do because they are passionate about the sport or they recognise that certain things need to happen for clubs to function and it’s just ‘what they do’.
Rotherham’s Cricket Clubs are no different and as part of the Volunteer Spotlight series they’d like to appeal for new volunteers. Even for those who don’t want to play cricket, there are almost limitless opportunities to get involved within the game, you could be designing a club’s website, maintaining the site, writing media releases for the local press, helping to prepare the ground and wicket for fixtures or even starting on the road to becoming the next future England coach!
Aston Hall Cricket Club is one such club which relies on volunteers like Dawn Nicklin working mother of two teenagers from Aston Cum Aughton. As well as being the Child Welfare Officer for the club, Dawn also has both a Junior and General Committee member role with a focus on funding applications to improve facilities and increasing participation. Volunteer Dawn said:
“Hopefully this article will show that you don’t necessarily need to have a sporting background to become a volunteer at a sports club. There are many roles for volunteers. My relationship with Aston Hall CC started when my son began playing quick cricket there when he was about 8 years old (he is now 16 and still plays cricket for AHCC). As he carried on playing through the junior age groups I gradually started getting more involved – making cups of tea on cold mornings etc. I was approached by the Junior Chair Andy Scott in 2009 who asked me if I would help with a bit of form filling for funding applications and be one of the Child Welfare officers (CWO) as we didn’t have any females in this role even though we had female players. I went on to formally join the Junior Committee and then the General committee the following year in 2010. I have made use of the free training available which I found out about through Voluntary Action Rotherham. The on line safeguarding courses are particularly relevant to my role as CWO. I have shared my funding knowledge with other cricket clubs in the area to give them a few pointers and tips I have picked up on the way.
What do you get from volunteering Dawn and what would you say to others who were thinking of coming forward to help their local club?
Even if you can only spare a few hours here and there help is always appreciated, from making tea, to major building work. It’s a great way of making new friends, for personal development and learning new skills through training. If you end up getting involved in larger projects and they come to fruition it is extremely rewarding when you see the benefits they bring especially to youngsters. It’s nice to think I played a small part in getting the much needed and well used facilities and equipment that we now have and that they will be enjoyed by future generations.
One such project where Dawn’s fundraising and planning efforts were instrumental was in the development of an off field facility. Some of the younger members of the club are pictured here at the launch event in 2012.
On the right is: Volunteer Dawn Nicklin, Volunteer Graeme Simmonite (Club Chair), Gareth Davis Club Development Manager from YCB and former professional cricketer John Hampshire.
Cricket Development Manager Gareth Davis from Yorkshire Cricket Board is currently supporting local clubs to recruit volunteers and said: “Without people like Dawn community sport will not survive, your local cricket clubs can be in some cases the hub of the local community, the time spent by Dawn on the projects she has got involved in for me are worth more than cash, as the impact made causes bigger ripples through the club than cash could ever dream to achieve. Dawn is the perfect example who has skills sets clubs cry out for without having any cricket experience, the roles needed to run a sports club run wider and deeper than players and coaches, please give your time and skills to your local club, your support is invaluable”.
Want to know more about volunteering in Rotherham?
There are volunteer opportunities available for people of all ages and from all walks of life. Being a volunteer is a two-way process, you can contribute your experience and knowledge, and in turn you can learn new skills and meet new people.
For more information about volunteering with local cricket clubs whether it be as a coach, umpire, scorer, fundraiser or social media account manager please visit the YCB website to watch a short volunteering film which has been produced http://www.ecb.co.uk/development/volunteering or telephone Cricket Development Manager Gareth Davis from Yorkshire Cricket Board on 07860 949607
Alternatively, if you would like to find out about other local volunteering opportunities visit the national volunteering website www.do-it.org.uk. If internet access is a problem or you would prefer to explore your options with someone, please ring a member of the Volunteer Centre Team on 01709 834464 and make an appointment.