Volunteers: The heartbeat of our Social Enterprise

Vi-Ability is a social enterprise with two main goals. We want to engage young people in finding work and getting qualifications through their love of sport, and we want to help to make sports club a viable and thriving part of their local communities.

Volunteers play a vital role in achieving our social mission, this volunteers week (1st-7th June) we would like to thank our volunteers across the UK who continue to support Vi-Ability in many ways.

We have a diverse range of volunteers with varying skills sets, who support all aspects of the business, from front line staff, finance, operations and at board level. Without them, we could not be the high performing, ambitious and award-winning social enterprise that we have become. Volunteers are truly at the heart of our organisation and have been instrumental in Vi-Ability’s growth spanning several years.

Volunteers week is about raising awareness of the opportunities available, and, how your help, big or small, can make a huge difference to Vi-Ability. We know that volunteering is on the rise with 91% of the population in the United Kingdom being involved in some kind of charity work (as reported by the NCVO). By volunteering, people can give something of themselves and make a valuable contribution to the community while perhaps learning new skills and improving their health and well-being.

Colin- Community Support & Finance

Colin coaching Saturday's disability football session at Conwy borough FC

Colin coaching Saturday's disability football session at Conwy borough FC

Colin, a retired business owner volunteers for Vi-Ability and Conwy Borough Football Club in North Wales. He supports Vi-Ability with finance and administration as well as having taken groups of young people on 2-week European work placements at partner football clubs, such as Torino FC and S.L Benfica! He is treasurer of Conwy Borough FC, and as a former footballer himself, Colin coaches 3 nights a week at the Conwy Academy - as well as being responsible for the club kit! The most rewarding of all Colin’s voluntary work is coaching the Saturday disability football sessions. He set this up over 3 years ago with a small grant from Conwy’s Young People Partnership and continues to run the sessions, and has seen the group go from strength to strength, considerably improving their mental and physical health.

Colin said “If football didn’t have volunteers everything would stand still, it is so important to give something back. I volunteer for 7 days a week, I feel really valued and proud that I can support the community in which I live. Saturday’s disability football sessions are my highlight, there are smiles all round and the individuals really take something out of the sessions each week. I’d encourage anyone to give back their time, even if it’s only an hour a week, I feel great satisfaction from it and it’s surprising how much you learn each day”

Romeo - Young person mentor

Romeo moved to London in 1999 with his mother. He studied accounting and finance at the University of West London.  At 23 years old, with a degree, Romeo struggled to find employment that reflected his ambitions. He began to lose motivation and lost his confidence when seeking work. Romeo enrolled on our Run the Club programme in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, through the programme we introduced him to Crystal Palace where he began coaching across South London where he found a passion for supporting young people.

Romeo says “ Vi-Ability has helped me to further develop my social skills, and as a result allowing me to gain more confidence. I learnt a great deal about how football clubs operate behind the scenes and found out other jobs within football besides playing & coaching. Vi-ability provided a platform in which I could grow; a great programme which is football related but also teaches relevant life and work skills.“

Romeo is now shadowing our senior trainers and is completing a Level 3 in Education and training which will allow him to deliver our Run the Club programme across London. He is also a mentor and role model to other young people, Romeo supports individuals on a 1-1 basis, providing advice and guidance to people, like him, who may have struggled with their self-confidence and motivation. Romeo is a huge asset to Vi-Ability and we look forward to welcoming him to our training team.

Chief operating officer, Shelley Meyern says: 

“ We really value our volunteers who contribute on the day to day operations as well as contributing from afar. As a social enterprise, we need as many volunteers as possible to ensure our sustainability as an organisation so we can continue to transform the lives of individuals and the communities in which they live. Hopefully, you have more of an understanding on the type of roles available and we encourage you to get in touch if you are looking to volunteer your time with us.”

Chief Operating Officer, Shelley at 'Run the Club' programme hosted at the Black Prince Hub, Lambeth.

Chief Operating Officer, Shelley at 'Run the Club' programme hosted at the Black Prince Hub, Lambeth.

If you’d like to volunteer with us, please email info@vi-ability.org, or call 01492 583555 for an informal chat on how you can help.

If you’d like to find out more about how our Run the Club programme works, you can watch here.