National Volunteers Week - Day 3

Today is day 3 of National Volunteers week. Each day this week we would like to showcase and say thanks to  a different volunteer in the Region for their commitment and contribution to volunteering. 

Today we are hearing from our Volunteer Champion, Sue Dors.

‘Then why don’t you come down and help’.  Those words uttered by the head coach of Mendip Swimming Club, set me on my volunteering journey that has now lasted over four decades! 

This journey has not been without its challenges but these have been far outweighed by the enjoyment and rewarding experiences.   I have been very fortunate and have volunteered in various roles – poolside and admin - at Club, County, Region and National level.  Currently I am Vice-Chair of Weston-super-Mare Swimming Club, a member of Somerset ASA’s Emergency Committee, Finance Officer for the SW Region’s Open Water Committee and Trophy Co-ordinator for the Region.  Volunteering has given me confidence, enabled me to learn new skills and, most importantly, established lifelong friendships across the South West and beyond.  I have always enjoyed volunteering and still get a buzz whether I am chatting with colleagues on poolside, talking to parents on the balcony or just watching the interaction during training between our swimmers and our Club’s teachers and coaches.  I am probably happiest and feel most comfortable back where I started, at Club level.

It goes without saying that things have changed during my years of volunteering - we are all so much busier and there are many more opportunities that compete for and require our time. Therefore to attract, encourage, develop, retain and look after our volunteers is really important.  I was very lucky to have people in my Club and County who encouraged and mentored me and made me feel welcome.  Those qualities make a massive difference when trying to recruit and retain volunteers.  One can easily forget that the majority of volunteers are already holding down a day job and have family responsibilities plus they may have other commitments that are completely unknown so breaking down roles into several smaller tasks for several people to manage is often a way forward. 

Rewarding and recognising volunteers can be done in many ways - a few words of thanks and encouragement can often turn what was a bad day into a good one and help keep that volunteer.  Thank you cards and small gifts given to helpers and officials at Open Meets are always appreciated.  Many Clubs and Counties have annual awards that recognise volunteers and the South West Region links into the Swim England recognition awards.  

Volunteers are absolutely vital to a Club’s existence – probably more so now than ever before.  Social media is an excellent way to gain peoples’ interest initially but a welcoming face to face chat at the pool or at a club social event can help strengthen that initial contact. 

Posted by Swim England South West on June 3rd 2021

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