Matt talks about the volunteering he is involved in, why he wanted to participate and how it feels to win volunteer of the month.
‘Matt has been a great volunteer on poolside and has integrated well into the team. He has been eager to learn and is highly motivated to get the best out of himself and the swimmers he is coaching. He is well mannered and a pleasure to be on poolside with. He continues to push himself to do more and I look forward to continuing his education on poolside.’ Jacob Greenhalgh, Head of Swimming
Which volunteering programme are you on & what does your role involve?
I am a swimming coach for Leeds University Union Swimming and Water Polo Society (LUUSWP) on the Leeds Sport Coaching Scholars programme. I assist the head coach, Jacob with the coaching of all 3 squads (Performance, Competition and Development) at both training sessions and galas (competitions). Most recently, I travelled down with the Performance squad to Ponds Forge in Sheffield to assist with the coaching of University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Trinity University at BUCS.
How much time do you commit to volunteering per week and how do you manage this alongside your studies?
Varies week on week depending on how busy I am with other activities but is usually between 4-8 hours per week if no galas are on at the weekend. Because most of the training sessions are on an evening after lectures have finished it allows me to concentrate on my studies through the day then spend my evenings volunteering.
What made you want to volunteer?
I have been an active member of LUUSWP since I arrived at university 2 ½ years ago, as a swimmer for Competition squad and a Water Polo player for the 2nd Team. Last year I was the Men’s Captain of Competition and Development Swimming Squads where there were some sessions that I had to write and deliver the session when we didn’t have a coach. I had previously coached at my local swimming club before university and found myself getting back into it last year so Jacob, the head coach, suggested I apply for the Coach Scholar program and assist him this year.
What is the best thing about volunteering?
The best thing about volunteering is the feeling of giving back to a society that has done so much for me over my time at university. Some of my best university experiences have been through LUUSWP and I have met so many new people and friends through the society that volunteering for them makes me feel like I am giving back to the society and helping the new members have as good a time as I have had and continue to have.
What are the challenges?
It can sometimes get a bit stressful trying to manage my volunteering around my studies but I always feel better for it afterwards as I would rather be doing activities that keep me busy than sat around my flat doing nothing useful.
Would you recommend volunteering to others?
I would highly recommend volunteering to others as it’s such a good experience and improves upon skills such as time management, leadership and critical thinking that will be needed in later life.
How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?
It’s an honour to win Volunteer of the Month as it shows that I am being recognised for my volunteering and gives me encouragement to do more.
Student Volunteering Week kicks off on 10 February with events for you to get involved with and learn more about volunteering opportunities with us!