Volunteering With Newcastle United Foundation: Meet Robbie
Newcastle United Foundation has launched a brand new programme, funded by Postcode Lottery, designed to encourage more Magpies fans to volunteer for the charity. Volunteer Coordinator, Robbie Welch, talks us through the project and the various ways you can get involved with the Foundation.
“I actually started off as a volunteer myself.”
Robbie Welch has been with Newcastle United Foundation for most of his working life. Starting out at 16 years old he began volunteering with the charity, helping community coaches on Half Term Soccer Schools.
“I assisted the coaches with anything they needed. That experience made me decide that working at the Foundation was what I enjoyed most.”
Robbie threw himself into every opportunity the Foundation could give him, gaining his FA Level 1 and 2 in football coaching, before becoming a sessional, and later full time community coach, joining the ranks of those he had volunteered to help a few years before.
Now beginning his new role as Volunteer Coordinator, Robbie hopes he can serve as an example to potential participants, of the opportunities volunteering can bring about.
“People want to boost their CV, they want to give back to their community, and we can definitely help out with that. Volunteering just gives a great insight into how things are run and how the Foundation operates.”
“I’m an example of the pathway from volunteering to full time work, so hopefully I can be a bit of an inspiration for anyone coming in.”
However, Robbie is keen to stress that football coaching isn’t the only opportunity available to prospective volunteers.
“It not just football coaching at all.
“We have so many different programmes for people to get involved with, from nutritional sessions on our Match Fit project, to supporting disengaged young people or working with people with disabilities, there are so many different opportunities.”
Part of the process of becoming a volunteer is discovering which Foundation programmes will benefit participants the most.
“Once someone gets in touch I’ll meet up with them and we’ll discuss what they’re doing with their lives currently and where they want to go. After that, we’ll try and match them with the programme that suits them best!”
Richard Albone is 23 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. He represents Newcastle United Foundation’s C.P team and recently began volunteering on the Foundation’s Holiday Soccer Schools.
Richard said: “When I first started, I was unsure of myself and a little nervous, but throughout my time volunteering I have gained confidence and become a more involved member of the team of coaches, which has helped me loads. I have also been given the opportunity to do my FA level 1 coaching qualification which I have completed.”
With more than 40 new volunteers already signed up, Robbie has big plans for the future of the programme. Right now, however, he’s revelling in his new role, more than a decade since he first came to the Foundation as a teenage volunteer.
“Knowing that I can meet new people, help people and push them onto where they want to be in their lives, that’s the best part.” says Robbie.
“It’s incredibly rewarding. So please if you want to get involved, get in touch!”
The Volunteer programme’s development is part of ‘United Futures’, funded by the Postcode Lottery, which also includes the Foundation’s work with LGBT team Newcastle Panthers, an Over 50’s Fit Club, and Women & Girls football in schools.
Anyone over the age of 16 is eligible to become a Foundation volunteer. Interested in hearing more? Please email Robbie.Welch@nufc.co.uk for an informal chat around how we can help.
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