Volunteers are the backbone of grassroots football in Wiltshire
The football volunteers in Wiltshire are remarkable individuals, without the time, dedication and commitment volunteers demonstrate in football clubs and leagues, grassroots football would simply not exist.
Volunteers’ Week, 1-7 June, is a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
Oliver Selfe, CEO at Wiltshire FA said “Our volunteers often say they donate their time for the love of football, they don’t realise the positive impact they have in the community; their value is enormous. Volunteers’ Week gives us a chance to reflect on the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day.”
Gordon Ford is a volunteer at Shrewton United FC, located near Amesbury in Wiltshire. Gordon is 84 years old and has been volunteering at the club for 20 years. Present at every match day, Gordon makes sure equipment is set up and stored away before and after each match. He volunteers at the summer 6-a-side tournament and attends Shrewton United matches as an avid supporter, both home and away.
Gordon said “Without volunteers our club would not be here, we are a small village club and no one is paid. The club has been a part of our community since 1946 so we have a duty to the village, supporters and future generations to keep it going.
In my day, we did not have volunteering, everyone just pitched in and we got work done. I understand nowadays people have really busy lives but volunteering is so important, especially in grassroots football.”
Grassroots football is much more than players on a pitch; it takes a lot of coordination, organisation and management, often with the entire workforce volunteering. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) state the most common reason people give for why they volunteer is to improve things and to help others.
Joe Sheldrake, Manager at Shrewton United FC said “It can be quite overwhelming running a football club; there is always something that needs doing. Having a volunteer like Gordon is a massive help. He ensures we always have the best set up, allowing the players to concentrate on warming up and the game ahead.
However, I believe Gordon’s support goes much further; his passion instills belief in the team and he is always around to boost morale.”
As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers' well being and confidence too.
Gordon comments “I want to make a difference to my club but volunteering also benefits me. I get to stay active and keep busy and most importantly I have a great relationship with the lad’s; although they regularly have to educate me about the latest fashion and hairstyle trends!
I fully recommend volunteering at your local clubs; it will keep you busy, fit and young at heart. You will learn things you never knew before and you will see a new side of life. There is nothing better than giving something back to your community.”
Oliver Selfe, CEO at Wiltshire FA concludes, “We would like to thank the football volunteers across Wiltshire, they are a strong, supportive network. They are helping to create the next generation of sporting stars.”
Find out more about volunteering opportunities at Wiltshire FAFind out more about Volunteers' Week 2019#thefootballeffect