Creating that hockey buzz
For 15 years, Katie Jackson has volunteered for Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club in Bedfordshire. We caught up with Katie to hear why she helps and how she managed to raise £6,000.
How and why did you get involved all those years ago?
I was asked by a friend to try out a summer league that Leighton hosted as I loved the sport. I went along and have never looked back since. The longer I was at the club, the more I knew I could do for it. Now I have a “hockey family,” as well as my husband, sister, cousins and nieces who all play at the same club. I’ve always been a giving person, and why not in a sport I absolutely love playing.
How much does your club rely on volunteers?
Voluntary work is important if we want to keep our club going. We have a few people who coach and do other voluntary roles. I organise all the socials, sponsorship, junior teas and help out with coaching, umpiring and whatever else gets thrown my way.
Playing and volunteering must be a big commitment. How much time do you spend at the club?
I spend most of my weekends on the pitch playing, umpiring and helping out with refreshment and coaching. People say I should pitch a tent with the amount of time I’m there. I also help out on training nights with goalkeeper training. I’m not a qualified coach so I help out with the juniors and teach them all that I learned as a player, but a coaching qualification is something I would love to complete in the future.
For 15 years, Katie has been a pivotal part of Leighton Buzzards HC.
You organise “Back to Hockey↑” programmes for those returning to the sport. What does this involve?
Getting people back into hockey is almost as hard as encouraging juniors to play. I have had the most success with parents and friends. I chat with them on the sideline and ask them to pop along to a training session or play our summer league. This seems to work, but it’s not the answer all the time; though my best friend played in goal for me as a favour three years ago and is still playing now.
Fundraising is one of the more difficult volunteer roles. How did you raise an amazing £6,000 for your club?
Fundraising is probably one of the hardest roles but I enjoy doing it. It takes a lot of organising but I have a good family that’s always willing to help me out. We raised more than £6,000 so far from local carnivals and hockey socials including race nights, bingo, Hallowe’en parties, Christmas parties, open days, junior tournaments, quizzes and curry nights. My fellow members are amazed at my raffle ticket selling skills! My advice to other clubs: get juniors involved and keep it fun.
What is the best thing about volunteering?
Volunteering makes me feel good. It’s a way of giving and seeing the benefits at the end. If we didn’t have volunteers, we wouldn’t have a club.
What did your BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award nomination mean to you?
Being nominated for the Unsung Hero↑ award and getting into the last three for the southeast was the best feeling ever. It makes all the work I do for my club worth it. Getting nominated by England Hockey↑ and invited along to their end of season awards evening topped it off, as I got to meet and dine with one of my idols: Susannah Townsend. This was as good as winning the award.
How do you think England will do in the European Championships?
I think England will do very well, and I’m lucky enough to be going to watch the ladies on 26 August.
Finally, what advice would you give to people who want to volunteer?
If you’re a giving person, a voluntary role in any club will be easy. It comes naturally to you.
– Would you like to volunteer at a hockey club near you? Then get involved in the #BigHelpOut
– Alternatively, check out England Hockey’s volunteering scheme↑