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YOUTH| Strabane Young Sports Volunteers Celebrated.

Monday 15.02.2016
Team Talk Mag

As part of their delivery of the DSD supported ‘Sport – a home for lifelong Volunteering’ programme, the three largest sporting bodies have officially recognised young people involved in volunteering in their clubs.  At a joint awards ceremony on Wednesday evening in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast Ulster GAA, IFA and Ulster Rugby put the spotlight on young sports volunteers.  The celebration event officially recognised all those young people aged 13-24 years who volunteer at their local sports club and who have completed 50, 100 or 200 hours volunteering as part of the GoldMark Programme.

Jack O’Connor from the Department for Social Development, attended the event to congratulate all the young people involved, speaking at the event he said: “The contribution and achievements of volunteers are essential to sport.  There is no doubt that many clubs and communities would not be sustainable if it weren’t for the commitment of their volunteers. I have been inspired by the number of young people here this evening who have accumulated so many hours of volunteering, activity and I would like to thank you for your time, energy and dedication.”

 Ulster GAA President Michael Hasson praised the young people saying, “Our sports clubs rely on volunteers and it’s great to see so many young people giving their time freely to help out.  We hope the young people who participated in the GoldMark Programme will continue to be valuable volunteers for their clubs in the years to come.”

Jane Gribbin from Volunteer Now said it was important to encourage volunteering, she said, “The GoldMark Programme is a widely recognised volunteering programme run by Vounteer Now and is accredited by the Department of Education. The certificates for 50, 100 and 200 hours volunteering is something these young people should be very proud of and put on their applications for further education or career development.”


Local volunteers Aoife & Niambh Ní Fhoghlú attended the event to collect their awards for completing 200 hours of volunteering. 15 year old Aoife, when asked to for a few words on her experience as a volunteer,  had this to say, “I got into volunteering as my Daddy is a coach at my Gaelic Football Club. It started with helping him carry the footballs to the pitch and moved on to setting out some cones to eventually me supervising a game or two at training. I’m glad I started helping out as I enjoy every single minute of my time with the Children and the other coaches at the Club at the Club. I hope that my contributions have had a positive influence on the children and they enjoy my company as much as I do theirs.”

The younger of the Ní Fhoghlú siblings, Niambh, stated: “I also started volunteering because of my Daddy. I decided to help out when I saw how much he loved coaching Gaelic Football and how much respect the children and the parents had and still have for him. I enjoy coaching the most because I love working with children, and seeing them do all of the skills that I have taught them makes me feel outstandingly proud!

Volunteering has benefited me in many ways: it has helped me gain in confidence in speaking to groups of people, the importance of time management and taught me how much easier things are when you are organised and plan ahead.  I would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone, I have had loads of fun, made new friends and hopefully taught a few of Sigersons Youth players and coaches a thing or two whilst doing it.”

Club Youth Officer Jason Foley attended the event with his two daughters, He had this to say: “First and foremost I was there as a proud father to witness the tremendous achievement of the two girls. I’ve treasured every moment working with the girls,  they have made an invaluable contribution to the Club over the last two years and despite their own busy schedule of their own training and school work they still found time to give a bit back to their Club and community. I have witnessed them grow in confidence and have no doubt that the skills they have developed working within the coaching team at Sigersons will benefit them in their Education.

Aoife & Niambh were not the only the volunteers that are registered on the program. Erin Gallagher, Stacey Quigg and Sarah Quigg are also worthy of a mention as they have been regularly assisting with training throughout the winter months. Our Club rely on volunteers and without the support of these young volunteers there would be no football for some of our younger age groups. As Youth Officer of Strabane Sigersons GAA I’d urge all youth members to help make a difference in your Club and community and start volunteering within the Club  and sign up for the VolunteerNow program.”


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