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I knew I had to give something back

Liam Watson from Ballymoney volunteers at Millennium Centre Loughgiel.

1. What does your volunteering involve?

Sports Coach – I coach all ages in the following sports – Hurling, Soccer, Gaelic, Basketball, and some athletics.

2. When did you first begin volunteering?

Five years ago.

3. What inspired you to get involved?

When I was young being involved in sport made my life move in the right direction so I thought if it worked for me then I had to give something back to the youth in my local community.

4. What attracted you to the role?

I am a very keen sports person and have the need to train on a regular basis, so I thought why not volunteer in the community and kill two birds with the one stone, I train and coach, the kids benefit and we all keep fit together and enjoy our sport.

5. What skills or qualities are required for your volunteering role?

Being able to join the kids on their wave length, good temperament, child protection (the club will pay for this training) and most off all enjoy yourself as if the kids see you enjoying your sport they will do the same.

6. Why do you volunteer?

Having been successful in my sport by reaching the highest level and always having the support of my local community I knew I had to give something back, it is very important that when the community you live in support you, you support them in return.

7. How often do you volunteer?

5 hours per week 

8. What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Watching the kids enjoy themselves, seeing the smile on their faces, watching them grow and excel in their sport and in life.

9. Why would you encourage others to get involved?

If you have had the advantage to be good in your sport, you have to think that someone volunteered to get you to the level you are at today, therefore I believe there is no better reason to get involved than take the lead from your peers you owe them that much.

10. What has been the highlight of your volunteering?

Seeing the under 9’s soccer team that I coach going into the PAPA’S BAKERY Foundation Cup as underdogs, reaching the final and winning the cup. Watching a 6 year old join our team and being one of the weakest players to being 8 years old now and being the strongest player. 

11. What advice would you give someone starting to volunteer?

Start with the basics, find you feet, listen to others, watch the group you are involved with enjoy your help and you will progress and flourish at whatever type of volunteering you decide to do. 

12. Do you think the London 2012 Olympics will inspire people to get involved in sport and will it leave a legacy?

I believe it will get more people involved in sport and inspire them; yes a legacy will be left however this will be shorter if the government do not invest in communities, more activities and sport opportunities will encourage the legacy to become long-term.