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Volunteering is greater than any medal or title

Andrew Brines from Larne is a volunteer with Larne Swimming Club.

1. What does your volunteering involve?
I am the former Chairperson of the club and remain an active member of the committee; I also coach the 11-16 year old children in the Club Squad.

2. When did you first begin volunteering?
16 years ago.

3. What inspired you to get involved?
Previously I was involved in Rugby as a player and referee however my son got involved with Larne swimming club on a Saturday morning and my wife said she was not doing all the running so Rugby had to go. The club were looking for volunteers and I decided as I would be there with my son why not get involved to help out and 16 years later I am still involved.

4. What attracted you to the role?
With both my sons being involved and the commitment I could see from the other coaches when working with my children made the decision that I wanted to give something back and the fact the club needed help was my main driver.

5. What skills or qualities are required for your volunteering role?
You need to be able to relate to the kids, they also need to respect you, and you respect them in return. If you have these qualities the training required for the role will follow.

6. Why do you volunteer?
To help the kids grow, they are the young statesmen of the country and if I can help in any way to get them greater exposure to different cultures and environments in training camps which will educate them for the future then it is a job well done. Through sport the children grow in confidence, their fitness levels and skills improve they have a structure and goals to achieve and when I see the results from this all combined that is why I volunteer.

7. How often do you volunteer?
Four hours per week.

8. What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
Seeing the kids grow, move forward and progress through the club and life in general.

9. Why would you encourage others to get involved?
Generally everyone has their own sport, well why not put something back into it, you could be part of future competitors in your chosen sport, you could guide them and advise them help them learn by your mistakes, when the child achieves their goal and you see the smile on their and the parents face you can stand back I say I was part of that. This is greater than any medal or title.

10. What has been the highlight of your volunteering?
Watching my own children achieve so much and as a volunteer with the club I had an input into that and was there to help them through the ups and downs, not only was I volunteering it became a family activity helping all the children.

11. What advice would you give someone starting to volunteer?
Keep an open mind, keep learning about the activity, improve your knowledge and this will enable you to share with others and just be there for whoever is involved. 

12. Do you think the London 2012 Olympics will inspire people to get involved in sport and will it leave a legacy?
I hope people will think and move out of their box and get involved, participate in sport and make it a family affair. I think short term people will get involved and yes a legacy will be left however we will be limited as to where people can get involved long term. We need to help provide that opportunity to all.