Skip to main content

Meet the volunteers who are making a difference in Welsh sport

  1. Home
  2. News and Events
  3. News, Features, Events and Campaigns
  4. Meet the volunteers who are making a difference in Welsh sport

As we celebrate Volunteers' Week, we speak to four volunteers who are making a big difference in Welsh sport.

From a teenager who coaches rugby to a pair of Dads who roll up their sleeves at the local cricket club to a retired nurse turned athletics official - they all have their own inspiring stories to tell and tips to share with anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer for their local sports club.

Arif Saad and Paul Graham – Clwb Criced Aberaeron

Paul Graham and Arif Saad at a cricket match at Lord's Cricket Ground
Aberaeron Cricket's volunteers, Paul and Arif.

 

Two Dads of budding young cricketers, Arif Saad and Paul Graham have become increasingly involved at Clwb Criced Aberaeron Cricket Club. The duo has made it their mission to grow the club, with more children and adults now playing than ever before. Their efforts have earned them a top accolade from Cricket Wales for Connecting Communities.

How did you start volunteering?

We first got involved in the club when a member of the club stepped down. He’d always been very instrumental to the running and the development of the club and, together, we decided to help more so that the club wouldn’t slip backwards after the progress that had been made. 

What do you do?

Between us, we coach the under 13s and run the Dynamos programme which is for children aged eight to 11. We’re also trying to create an under 11 hard ball team. We arrange winter training for adult and youth teams, manage team selection, help to set up the ground, score/umpire matches (when we’re not playing!) and upload results and write reports. Over the last two seasons, we’ve also built a women’s soft ball team that is now a vibrant part of the club and community. Everyone is talking about it!

One of our biggest tasks is to modernise our facilities to be more accessible and inclusive. We’re looking to obtain a lease on the council-owned ground so we can improve the facilities and grow as a club.

Why do you do it?

We do it because it needs doing! But it’s really rewarding to introduce kids to cricket and keep them involved in the game. 

We believe that sports clubs are valuable community resources which bring people together and can be inspirational for people, young and old, to be more active and enjoy sport. We are now trying to grow every aspect of the club.

On a more selfish level, we enjoy playing the game and want there to be a successful club for us to play with! We have also made loads of good friends.

How does it make you feel?

We’re proud of what we've achieved - it is rewarding when something you have devoted time and effort to comes to fruition. There have been a few occasions recently when we have looked around and thought that this is what we are trying to achieve. It motivates you to continue putting in the effort. 

It gives us a huge sense of happiness when everyone rallies together, all doing their bit to host matches and to generally improve as a club.

What would you say to people thinking about volunteering for a sports club?

Every sports club is crying out for more people to get involved. There is so much to do to run a successful sports club and it requires people with so many different skills and experiences - or just time to help out. 

It can be daunting when you are a newcomer and everyone knows everyone else but sports clubs tend to be incredibly welcoming environments, desperate for more people to roll up their sleeves. So, throw yourself into it and you’ll make some great friendships along the way.

Arif and Paul’s Top Tip: Don't overthink it - just ask what you can do to help.

Read more about the volunteers making a difference in cricket.

Tracey Weetman – Menai Track and Field

Tracey Weetman volunteering as an official at a Welsh Athletics event
Tracey Weetman has started volunteering as an official.

 

Tracey Weetman retired and relocated with her husband from Staffordshire to Ynys Mon in 2020. Having turned up at Menai Track and Field to offer her services, she is now a very active volunteer and has even won the Welsh Athletics Newcomer to Officiating Award.

How did you start volunteering?

My husband’s always been involved in athletics clubs and I used to sit and watch. I was working shifts as a nurse so it was difficult to squeeze in volunteering, too. But when I retired and we relocated to Anglesey in 2020, he asked the club if they needed a sprints coach while I decided to give officiating a go.

What do you do?

I’m now a Level 2 field official and I’m also the Welfare Officer for the club which means I make sure everyone’s up to date with safeguarding policies and I answer enquiries.

Why do you do it?

It’s a great way of joining in and getting to know people. The club is like one big family – it’s wonderful. I’ve also decided to learn Welsh so it’s a brilliant way to practise my language skills!

How does volunteering make you feel?

It’s fun and rewarding and it makes you feel like part of the community. It was a great way for us to integrate when we relocated.

What would you say to people thinking about volunteering for a sports club?

If you fancy joining in and lending a hand, just give it a try. It’s a great way of using your skills and experience in a very positive way.

Tracey’s Top Tip: Ask other volunteers at the club why they like doing it.

Find out how to become a volunteer with Welsh Athletics here.

Ieuan Pilliner - Bridgend Sports RFC

Ieuan Pilliner carries the ball playing rugby for Bridgend Sports RFC
Ieuan Pilliner volunteers and plays for the Sports' youth team.

 

Ieuan is just 16 years old, yet he has already been coaching at Bridgend Sports RFC for around a year. If he isn’t coaching, he’s refereeing or helping to set up on matchdays. His efforts have not gone unrecognised and he won this year’s WRU’s Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

How did you start volunteering?

My Dad’s a Team Manager at the club and I asked him if I could start coaching a team. I then started coaching the under 10s.

What do you do?

As well as coaching, I also referee on a Sunday and I help out when I can. There’s lots of little jobs to be done on matchdays so I tend to get stuck in with whatever’s needs doing. I also play for Bridgend Sports Youth team.

Why do you do it?

I love putting something back into the sport and the club that has given me so much. It’s really rewarding to help develop younger people and give them a pathway. It’s also a brilliant way of getting to know people and the sessions are really good fun.

As part of my Skills Project for the Welsh Baccalaureate, I had to do 30 hours of community service so it helped with that and I’ve noticed that my communication skills have improved massively. I was a bit shy to start but I speak up a lot more now.

What would you say to people thinking about volunteering for a sports club?

There are always people around to help and answer any questions. So many clubs need a spare pair of hands so get involved and don’t doubt yourself.

Ieuan’s Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves – just give it a try!

Find out how to volunteer in rugby here.

Are you ready to make a difference by volunteering in Welsh sport? If you want to give back to your local community, then Sport Wales have some advice on how you can start volunteering at a local sports club near you. If you want more inspiration, here are Run4Wales’ reasons to get involved with sport volunteering.

Latest News

Team Wales’ schools roadshow inspires next generation

Since September, athletes have visited 167 schools to encourage young people to lead an active lifestyle.

Read More

British Ju Jitsu Association to continue as national governing body for the sport in the UK

The Home Country Sports Councils will continue to recognise the British Ju Jitsu Association.

Read More

Athletics has given James Ledger so much more than medals

James worried that sport might not be for him, but he now hopes to wear a GB vest at the Paralympics.

Read More