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Foundation Volunteer Wins Premier League BT Volunteer Of The Month

A Newcastle United Foundation volunteer has won the Premier League BT Volunteer of the Month award for March 2019.

Craig Manson has been a volunteer at the charity for more than two years. He was nominated for the award as a result of his commitment and dedication to the Foundation’s Powerchair programme. Despite working night shifts as a BT field engineer, he still manages to attend every session on Thursday and Friday nights. What does he do when he is there?

Craig first got involved with volunteering after attending a presentation at BT’s head office, delivered by Foundation disability coach Reggie Dornan. It was at this presentation Craig realised he wanted to rekindle his passion for football coaching which had started a few years earlier – and he began coaching with the Foundation as part of the Premier League / BT Disability Project.

The PL/BT Disability Fund is a national programme designed to create opportunities for disabled people through sport, removing barriers and increasing disability sport participation.

The dedication that Craig has shown towards the Powerchair programme is unrivalled. Having recently injured his shoulder meaning that he was unable to go to work or drive, Craig walked 3 miles and back to the Thursday session, though was unable to take part, because he wanted to be there to see how the team were doing.

Craig said: “I got involved because I did some coaching at school and really enjoyed it. I like how I can build on this experience whilst helping others.

“I enjoy these sessions as I get to maintain the power chairs using my skills as an engineer, ensuring they are suitable for the players to use, hence improving their playing and teamwork skills.

“It’s my desire to ensure our participants have the best environment and enjoyment possible during the football sessions, and get as much out of them as I do.”

Reggie Dornan, Senior Disability Football Development Officer at Newcastle United Foundation, added: “The best compliment I can give Craig is that he has such a great working relationship with our staff, parents and all the coaching groups of children and young adults.

“I want to say a huge congratulations to Craig. This award is richly deserved and is a testament to the fantastic job Craig and volunteers like him do every day to support Foundation programmes.”

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