Volunteers' Week (1-7 June) helps to recognise the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day. Throughout the week Tennis Scotland will be highlighting a small number of the wonderful volunteer workforce that have helped to grow and sustain the game in Scotland.
Chair of the Moray Tennis Forum, Lead on the School of Tennis at Forres Academy
What encouraged you to get involved in Tennis/Volunteering:
To provide new opportunities for our pupils at Forres Academy really was my main objective at the time but my interest and desire to help others develop has widened my goals to support clubs, players and coaches across Moray.
When the Moray Tennis Forum started approximately 13 years ago I was invited to get involved, helping to start up the Moray Secondary Schools Tennis Competition which I still run on an annual basis and also the Moray Primary Schools Competition.
I was a committee member at the time but then took on the role of Vice Chair in 2007 and then Chair in 2009 and have remained in this position since then.
What do you do out with Tennis? (Job/Other Hobbies):
I am a teacher of Home Economics at Forres Academy with a role which includes being Study Support, Sport and Health and Wellbeing Coordinator for the school. I have been teaching since 1976 (not all in Moray) which has allowed me to network with many talented and resourceful people across Moray and opportunities to engage actively in various groups - many of which are on a voluntary basis.
I am heavily involved with the Moray Tennis Forum which has thrived since our successful grant funding bid attracting more club representatives around the table for open discussion and opportunities to support each other and give advice. I am a great believer in giving opportunities to young people - they are the adults of tomorrow and if we invest in them at a young age hopefully we can reap the benefits at a later stage.
I am Chair of sportMoray the Sport Council for Moray and been on the committee/executive committee for the last 17 years. As well as this I am also the Chair for the Forres Community Sport Hub and Badminton Moray Forum, and also approached to take on the role of Moray Schools Swimming Convenor on a voluntary basis.
I really have little spare time but when I do I thoroughly enjoy sailing and rowing on the Moray Gig which is based in Findhorn Bay. I am a member of the crew and have had a long connection with this group through school involvement. 3 years ago I was asked to become part of the Executive Committee.
I also do a fair bit of fundraising - for school clubs, the forums and also for the church I attend and am one of the elders. Through my church involvement much of the fundraising allows me to enjoy card making, sewing/crafting and baking and also a time to work with others.
What does your average volunteering day look like:
I come into school usually between 6.15am-6.30am. Most people say that there are only 24 hours in the day but I have found that these two hours before registration probably equate to 4 hours during the working day so I feel I have found another couple of hours to get through my work. Some of the voluntary work I do is specifically related to school pupils and schools across Moray so when I need to put out information to them it is usually done during this time e.g. Moray Secondary Schools Tennis Competition Paperwork, returns and collation and then creating the draw, same for the Primary Tennis Competition.
Any organisation for lunchtime clubs which require supervision give students the opportunity to take on leadership skills e.g. the young tennis ambassadors taking soft tennis sessions, I am the member of staff that supports them. Meetings with the students who are involved with leadership or young ambassador roles always take place over a lunchtime due to availability of students. We are soon to be introducing tennis into sports day so I will be meeting with the Young Ambassadors to discuss and get things in place for this.
If it is a Friday then throughout the year I run a badminton club from 4.30pm – 8.00pm – usually over a minimum of 34 weeks. Some weekends – usually 2 out of 4 I will be assisting with the Badminton Moray Feeder and Intermediate Squad – 6 hours in total, and every Wednesday I will be involved with the Performance Squad from 5.00pm – 7.00pm. We have a group just now doing Sailing on a Sunday – 6 outings of 3 hours each – As the school lead I need to attend but am also one of the qualified crew so instruct the students during each outing.
My week day evenings are frequently taken up with attending meetings and following through on work that has to be completed or investigated to allow follow up discussion at the next meeting.
I do enjoy a challenge! I have a most understanding husband which also helps.
Favourite moment when volunteering:
Seeing the look on young people's faces when they have success - it's not always when they are winning but it could be when something just clicks and things come together and they realise that they can do it - it's a wonderful feeling to see such joy.
What would you say to anyone looking to volunteer:
You put yourself in the position to help provide opportunities or give support to others without asking for anything back, but what a reward you can get yourself when you see people develop - young and old alike - a great sense of pride, achievement and satisfaction knowing that you helped along the way. There should always be support as no one can do it on their own.
Favourite Tennis Player – Andy Murray
Favourite Grand Slam - Wimbledon
Favourite Scottish Tournament - Scottish National Championships
Favourite Tennis Moment – Andy Murray taking No.1 ranking last year
Local clubs, leagues, regions and districts always have opportunities available for a range of people from all backgrounds and varied experience levels. If you would like to volunteer then please visit https://www.lta.org.uk/volunteering/ for more information on how to get started.