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Active volunteering

Kirsty Partridge, Active East Programme Manager

27/02/2014
Blog / Volunteering
My first foray into volunteering was an essential part of my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award in the summer of 1997. I was helping out with a local play scheme organising a variety of sports and fun activities for the children who attended.

This experience was made great due to support from the existing staff and having a clear role to play. I carried on volunteering for the duration of the summer and then, through the contacts I’d made, started helping out at a local primary school after care service 3 afternoons per week. Here I developed skills in engaging the young people as well as different sports and activities I could deliver and most importantly had great fun.

Working with the same children every afternoon meant devising many variations and adaptations on the same games to keep them interested which was challenging but really exciting. I can honestly say it was this experience together with my own passion for sport which prompted me to go on to study sport at university. Not only had I learned how to run sports activities but I also developed the confidence to speak in front of groups, and really lead them. Without volunteering and it being the meaningful experience it was, I doubt I would have got on the course. It set me apart from other people as it taught me more than what I had learned in school, I had given my own time and learned so much in the process and subsequently has really helped me to shape my career.

Fast forward 17 years and I am now the manager of legacy programme Active East. Using the games as a catalyst we aim to build an inspired community of active young people within the East of Glasgow. To do this we work in partnership with existing sport and youth organisations. Managed by Scottish Sports Futures, we aim to encourage young people to participate and take a leadership role in their community who would otherwise not do so. Through this work, we enable young people to both develop their own skills and to help deliver programmes that benefit the communities in which they live.

Active East training residential weekendSince we started last year we have 63 Active Champions, young volunteers, who are completing an individualised programme of awards and training and then crucially, put what they learn into practice in their volunteering. What I have learned personally since I began my own journey as a volunteer I have used to shape Active East. These young people are so inspirational, they take every opportunity and give 100%. Being Games year we wanted to start on a high so, in partnership with Youth Scotland, we arranged and have just completed a training residential weekend for them to learn more skills and have the opportunity to create their own programmes to deliver back in their own communities. One of these young people who himself has had quite a journey in the one year I have known him said: “Active East will bring new things to the community and through our play training, we can involve everyone… I want to be an inspiration to young people” Daryl, Active Champion.

Through the volunteering they have done with Active East and our partners and by gaining skills, experience and confidence, some of these young people will be volunteering at the Games, some of them have gone on to gain employment and all of them are still completely engaged. It’s truly wonderful to have so many young people committed to providing opportunities for other young people to get active.

Kirsty Partridge, Active East Programme Manager