Carers, Volunteering

Why I Volunteer – Kerry Swarbrooke-Coy

Kerry Swarbrooke-Coy  Event Director at Boston Road Rec Junior Parkrun, talks about why she enjoys volunteering.

This week is Volunteer’s Week which celebrates the brilliant work that volunteers across the country do. We know that volunteers in Lincolnshire are essential to helping people of all ages and abilities to be more active, and enjoy the many benefits physical activity brings. Much grassroots and community sport simply wouldn’t happen without volunteers to support it.

Volunteering also has many benefits to the individual, and is proven to support wellbeing. Being a volunteer can help reduce stress, provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and improve confidence.  It can also be great for learning new skills, and gaining work experience. There are many different ways to get involved in volunteering in sport – you don’t have to be super fit, and you might be able to use existing skills you have to support a local sports club or group.

We spoke to Kerry Swarbrooke-Coy who is Event Director at Boston Road Rec. Junior parkrun, in Sleaford as well as a volunteer football coach at Lincoln City Foundation, about what her work as a volunteer involves and why she enjoys it so much. If you’re inspired to be a volunteer after reading, follow the link at the end of the article for further information about volunteering in Lincolnshire.

How did you first get involved as a volunteer at Boston Junior parkrun, and what does your role involve?

 I got in involved with parkrun as a participant first and then through my work in the community realised that there were very little opportunities for juniors in the area to enjoy the same. I took on the role of Event Director to initially help set up the Boston Junior parkrun initially and have kept the role ever since. 

What do you find the most rewarding aspect of being a volunteer?

 Without a doubt the finish line and being around the barcode scanning area. Seeing the happy, smiley and sometime red and exhausted faces of the kids is so lovely. Especially those children that aren’t traditionally ‘sporty’. One parent once told me her son wouldn’t usually get off the sofa for a chocolate bar….but he wanted to come to parkrun on a Sunday morning regardless of the time or weather. I also volunteer as a football coach for older adults at Lincoln City Foundation which is just as rewarding. No matter your age, ability or goals if as a volunteer or coach I can help it’s a pleasure.

Why do you think it important to keep young people active and engaged in physical activity?

It’s the bedrock of a healthy and happy lifestyle.  As a child myself I played out all the time either with a football or taking my dogs out for walks or just with friends. I worry for the kids that only want to play on computer games and I worry for those that don’t have an interest in ‘traditional’ sport. We need to engaged our young people in a variety of activities that keep them active in way that aren’t just sport….health by stealth! 

What advice would you give to people who are thinking about volunteering at parkrun or at their local sports club?

Do it!!! You can’t underestimate the impact volunteering has on an organisation, especially non profit or charitable ones. But mostly the impact on your own physical and mental wellbeing is out of this world! So many organisations couldn’t do what they do or action what they can for others without volunteers to support their work. 

Find out more about volunteering in sport and physical activity in Lincolnshire here

Find out more about parkrun and junior parkrun in Lincolnshire here