Mags has been a long time supporter of Join In - here she's helping out at the Tour de ITV in 2014
Mags has been a long time supporter of Join In - here she's helping out at the Tour de ITV in 2014

Local Leader Spotlight: Mags Mathieson

Name: Mags Mathieson

Network: Northern Ireland

Local Leader since: 2013

What have you been up to recently in your role as a Local Leader?

“Having been a regular volunteer in the Northern Ireland running community for the past three or four years, I am now trying to combine volunteering with my recent role as a Local Leader and also raise the profile of Join In here in Northern Ireland.

I help out at a local parkrun most Saturdays. If I’m not doing that, I’ll be helping out at some other running event that’s taking place. Volunteering for so long in one particular area of sport (running) has allowed me to develop a great deal of experience and knowledge and I find that I’m asked more and more often to come along and help out with local races, many of them for charity. In the past few weeks I’ve been involved in a dozen or so events but the highlight was being asked to take on the role of Race Director for a 10k charity run. I’ve also been involved in some of the bigger running events here including the NI Road Relay Championships, the Bangor 10k and the Belfast Half Marathon.

You’re matched to a couple of Intersport stores. Tell us a bit about that…

The Intersport store in Belfast that I’m matched with is a well known local sports shop and one I’ve been going into for years to purchase sports kit for my own children.

I did a little presentation to staff about Join In, telling them what we’re about and what we’re trying to achieve. I was delighted that all the members of staff showed a great interest in the concept and seemed to get on board, asking questions and wanting to know what they could do.

“When I hear or see any of the articles about Join In, I think to myself, ‘I’m part of that’.”

What do you think is the best thing about being a Local Leader?

Being a Local Leader has opened up opportunities to volunteer at some amazing events that I wouldn’t have had access to as ‘regular’ volunteer. It’s been great to have the opportunity to meet up with other Local Leaders at various events in England. It’s also good to know that I have the support of the Join In team and other Local Leaders if I have any issues or questions, as well as feeling that I belong to a wonderful family of volunteers. I feel proud when I hear or see any of the articles about Join In and think to myself, ‘I’m part of that’.

Any advice for new Local Leaders just getting started?

Just enjoy the experience of being part of this fantastic organisation and wear your Join In t-shirt with pride. If you’re unsure of anything or need any advice just ask, either by emailing the team or posting on the Local Leaders Facebook [Closed] Group. And don’t worry! I spent so much time worrying that I wasn’t doing things properly or that I wasn’t putting enough effort in, but I eventually started listening to my own advice, that we’re all volunteers and whatever we do, we’re making a valuable contribution to sport in our society.

– Read more about what our amazing Local Leaders have been up to.

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