You're never too busy to make a difference
Posted: Fri, 04 Nov 2016 16:00
Hayley Lever, Director of Derbyshire Sport reflects on an inspiring week, as she is once again reminded of the value of sport at the High Peak Sports Awards...
I am very lucky. My job offers daily reminders of how an active life, and being involved in sport can bring so many benefits to people and communities. This week I was fortunate to be a part of the High Peak Sports Awards, as athletes, teams, volunteers and coaches were rewarded for their success, dedication and commitment.
My job enables me to attend quite a few events like this, in different parts of Derbyshire, and they always inspire me. Often they bring a lump to the throat, or a tear to my eye. In the High Peak, where I live with my family, I know many of the award winners, their parents and teachers personally. I hear their life changing stories when I meet them and read all their news on social media and in the press.
I know how much people here get from being active together, I see friendships develop, people overcome huge barriers and fears to get started. I see the impact that volunteers like people like Sue Danson have on many, many lives. It was great to see Sue awarded her Service to Sport award, recognising years of commitment to the local netball league.
The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Carl Braithwaite who has only been volunteering for a couple of years at his children's school, and at the local cycling club, but has made such a difference to the lives of the children and the local community. I'm sure this small bit of public recognition will spur him on further and inspire him to keep on giving his time and energy.
I see how week in, week out men, women and young people with busy lives, put aside other demands, and find the time and motivation to develop opportunities for others.
Two young ambassadors, Rohan O' Neill and Jack Bentley, spoke eloquently and confidently on the stage, about their experiences of volunteering, as a group of excellent Young Ambassadors accepted their awards.
Jack has been involved in lots of activity and sport programmes with High Peak School Sport Partnership. He talked about the confidence it has given him, and the skills for his future career. His passion for getting others active, and making it fun was clear for all to see.
Rohan, a swimmer from Glossop talked about the doors that opened for him when he started to put something back into his sport. Rohan has completed over 300 volunteering hours at Glossop and Trafford Metro swimming clubs.
His story took me back to my first volunteering roles, helping with our school gymnastics club. That experience was the beginning of a passion for leadership in sport, which has opened so many doors for me, personally and professionally. I've had some some brilliant jobs, as a teenager and an adult, topped off with the chance to volunteer at London 2012.
Rohan was so right... you're never too busy. It's about what you choose to do with your spare time... do you while it away, or do you step up and do something to transform the lives of others?
When I got home I talked to my kids about Rohan and Jack. We talked about how much time we all spend browsing the internet or watching Netflix. We're not really as busy as we think we are...How about offering an hour a week to help others? As a result of this conversation, my daughter has decided to start helping at a local youth group.
Rohan and Jack inspired me, and as a result, they have now helped to start another young leader on a journey which will hopefully last a lifetime.
There are people like Sue, Carl, Rohan and Jack all over Derbyshire.
In my job I get to see and hear their stories daily, and meet the paid and voluntary champions who are encouraging others into active lives and sport. They are making people happier, fitter, healthier and communities stronger. The power of sport and physical activity to bring people together, build confidence, friendships, skills, careers is immense. The benefits are never ending.
Keep up the great work, and let's make Derbyshire a fitter, healthier, happier place. If you fancy stepping up and making a difference, why not get in touch today, and we'll help to find you a place to start.