Callum volunteers with Thatcham Tornadoes for Duke of Edinburgh Award

Volunteer initiative brings Duke of Edinburgh success for young players

Callum volunteers with his clubs' youngest teams to support his Duke of Edinburgh Award

Callum has been associated with Thatcham Tornadoes for 11 years. Much of that time has been spent as a player but Callum is now also into his third season of volunteering at the club too. 

With a passion for football from a young age, Callum, 17, and others before him, started volunteering with the club’s U6 team to help him work towards achieving the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh Programme requires young people to complete achievements in four sections, Skills, Physical, Expedition and Volunteering before achieving their Bronze, Silver or Gold level Award.

As a club Thatcham Tornadoes recognised that there could be multiple young people in the same position as Callum and so started to encourage some of the older teenage players to get involved and help with the clubs’ U6 teams. The club have had great success with the initiative with many young people aiming to work with them to achieve their required volunteering hours.

Young players who have volunteered with the club to support their Duke of Edinburgh Award

After initially completing the FA Playmaker Course and receiving FA Enhanced DBS Checks, the young volunteers start off by assisting qualified coaches in sessions before gradually building up to running a training session themselves (under supervision). This allows them to achieve volunteering hours whilst also submitting a short write up of what they have done to submit for their DoE certificate.

Callum is currently studying Maths, Computer Science & History going into his final year of A Levels and has found the experience of volunteering for the club where he started out at the same age, to be incredibly rewarding.

“It’s really satisfying to see the U6 players learning and developing knowing that you have helped them to do it.” said Callum. He added: “To be able to give back to the club I’ve been at since I started playing football by helping support new players starting out, helping them to learn and have fun, is really rewarding.”

It isn’t just the young U6s players who can benefit from the volunteering either. Over the course of his time assisting with the team, Callum reflects on his own development and how this can support his own playing career and his journey through higher education.

“I’ve learnt a lot, helping the kids develop and helping them work together, communicating with each other are definitely things I can take forward into my own game.”

Jon Harrison, Safeguarding Officer at Thatcham Tornadoes, said: "We're really pleased with the initiative and have found that the young volunteers enjoy adding extra fun elements into training sessions and engage really well with the U6 players. In turn the U6s are eager to try out new skills and show them off to their young mentors - they all really enjoy it, and it helps all of them develop their communication and team working skills."

If you’re a young person and would like to get involved in grassroots football, either playing, volunteering, coaching or as part of our County FA Youth Network, please contact Richard Brant via email.

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