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Sharing My Passion

Joel Harper, 18, volunteers at T13 Urban Sports Academy, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. He tells us of his volunteering experience and how he can incorporate his passion for BMX into his volunteer role. Joel is a recent recipient of a Springboard Community Inspiration Award.

1. What does your volunteering involve?

My volunteering on a day to day basis includes things like opening the park,  making sure it is safe for example no dust or leaks that anyone could slip and potentially hurt themselves.  Things like giving safety inductions so that people know the rules and regulations. I also do things like fix rental equipment so if there is a bike or scooter damaged I would run it through various checks to make sure it is up to our standards, cooking in the burger van the list goes on…

2. When did you first begin volunteering?

I started volunteering in 2012. 

3. What inspired you to get involved?

I just loved the place that much from riding bmx that I wanted to be involved in that type of environment where I would be able to help build ramps and be apart of the team :-)

4. What attracted you to the role?

With my love and passion for BMX I just wanted to get other people involved so I guess just being able to be in that sort of environment everyday attracted me to it :-)

5. What skills or qualities are required for your volunteering role?

Maths for the till and being able to count properly.

Being able to talk to a full group to give them an induction without feeling nervous.

First aid - sports specific first aid in case someone hurts themselves.

Safety hygiene so I can cook in the burger van.

Child protection because I’m working with kids.

6. Why do you volunteer?

It's simply to keep me busy at something I've always wanted to be a part of.

7. How often do you volunteer?

8-20 hours a week.

8. What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

I just love the whole atmosphere of  T13 and because it lets me get into opportunities that I wouldn’t be able to get into anywhere else.  I’ve been awarded and trained for things like:

Millennium volunteer award;

Inspiration award for dedication to sport and BMX;

Child protection;

First aid - sports specific first aid;

Level 2 safety hygiene;

World host.

9. Why would you encourage others to get involved?

I would encourage others to get involved because you will be able to gain great experience and will be able to gain certificates and awards that are useful in life :-)

10. What has been the highlight of your volunteering?

The highlight of me volunteering was being able to achieve all the great awards and certificates I have got over the years :-)

11. What advice would you give someone starting to volunteer?

Think about what you would like to get involved in see how it goes and just try it you will feel better about yourself at the end of it because knowing that you have helped others is a great achievement alone.