Volunteer of the Month: Ellie Stroud

Ellie talks about the volunteering she is involved in, why she wanted to participate and how it feels to win volunteer of the month.


‘Ellie has been a fantastic addition to our team of netball umpires – she is reliable, punctual, eager and frequently goes above and beyond. She is also a lovely, kind, pleasant human being who proactively looks to help and make a difference.’ – Rachel Harrison, Social Sport Coordinator.


Which volunteering programme are you on & what does your role involve?

I do two volunteering programmes for Leeds Sport. The first one is the Netball Umpiring Scheme which involves umpiring two games a week in the Tuesday and Friday social leagues. The second is the Media Assistant role, which is a bit more varied. I mainly focus on social media, where I can be covering anything from Varsity to the One to Watch Twitter Poll. I am also in the process of writing a blog post about GoodGym, which has recently launched in Leeds.


How much time do you commit to volunteering per week and how do you manage this alongside your studies?

I do a few hours of volunteering a week. As schemes, they are really flexible meaning that I can balance my studies and volunteering easily.


What made you want to volunteer?

For the Netball role, I had been involved in the social leagues a lot during my first and second years, both playing twice a week then being Sports Secretary for a society. I really enjoyed these two years and so I felt passionately about the social leagues scheme at Leeds and wanted to help run it. For the Media role, I am interested in a career in sports marketing, but did not have any direct experience of marketing in a sports context, and so thought it would be a great way to develop some more marketing experience and skills.


What is the best thing about volunteering?

It has really helped me develop skills for my future career. For example, it has allowed me to develop leadership and communication skills in the umpiring role in particular, whereas the Media role has given me some invaluable marketing exposure and experience. I’ve found that it’s been really useful to talk about these schemes when I have been applying for graduate jobs, along with giving me some future direction for career options. I’m also hoping to get an umpiring qualification this year, which the University generously offer a bursary for, which will really help improve my skills as an umpire.


What are the challenges?

It took me a little while to develop my confidence as an umpire. I did not have much experience before, it was more just when I was running training sessions, and I had not played for a year so the first few weeks were a bit challenging!


Would you recommend volunteering to others?

Definitely! There are lots of different volunteering schemes to get involved with, from Gryphons Abroad to Sports Sport Activators so there’s something for everyone to get involved in, regardless of your experience and what skills you’d like to develop.


How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?

It was a lovely surprise! I really wasn’t expecting it at all.


If you are interested in getting involved in volunteering with Leeds Sport, check out all of our programmes on our website.