College volunteers scoop national award

Tue 08 Apr 2014

Young people from Milton Keynes College have a won a national volunteering award for helping with school and club sports groups in the city.  The Milton Keynes Leadership Academy won the award from StreetGames, the national sports charity.  The programme allows students to gain extra qualifications while building their confidence and team-working and giving something back to the local community.

The Leadership Academy is a partnership between the College and Milton Keynes Council Sports Development.  Volunteers have access to National Governing Body Coaching Qualifications and volunteering and mentoring opportunities at sporting events and community clubs.  The aim is to produce a generation of highly-skilled sports leaders for the city.  On top of the qualifications they can achieve, volunteers gain confidence and maturity.  What’s more, the work they do can be hugely impressive on a CV when applying for jobs or higher education.

Nineteen year old volunteer, Shannen Brown, says, “We go to some ¬¬¬¬places where the children don’t have many opportunities for organised sport and it’s really satisfying to see them joining in and having fun and getting better and better at whatever sport they’re trying.”

The College’s Sports Development Manager, Ollie Jordan, says, “We’re so proud of winning this and it’s absolutely deserved by all of the brilliant volunteers who do so much good.  Whether it’s in schools, local clubs or leisure centres, it’s not just about playing football, cricket or rugby, we’re introducing children to sports they’ve never played before.  The project has also produced qualified coaches in cricket and softball, tennis, handball and baseball.  All the participants have at least fifty hours involvement and that is genuine, valuable experience. ”

Seventeen year old Beth Taylor wants to take sport further to either university or a job.  She says, “Volunteering for the project has given me real self-confidence and, I think, made me more mature.  Everybody feels good when they have the chance to help someone else and watching the children having so much fun is so rewarding.  I talk to friends who are still at school and they can’t believe the experience I’ve built up in the Leadership Academy.”

College Principal, Dr Julie Mills, says, “Staff put in so much time and effort to form effective working partnerships with different sports groups and national organisations and finding placements for students.  This award proves that all that effort is paying off.  On top of all the other benefits the programme helps with one of our key roles which is making our students fit for the workplace.  Employability skills like being able to speak to a room full of people, organising events and taking charge of them are in great demand.  By taking part in this wonderful project students are not just putting something back into the community they’re also helping themselves in the jobs market.  We’re very proud of them all.”

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