Springboard to success
For Kieran Bird, volunteering has led to paid job in the sport he loves. He tells us about his time at Milton Keynes Springers Gymnastics Club.
Why did you choose to help out in gymnastics?
I’ve been around sports all my life, either playing or watching them on TV, and gymnastics was always something I had an interest in. I mean, some of things gymnasts can do are incredible – truly a piece of art as I like to think in the back of my mind.
What made you decide to volunteer?
After finishing college, I was looking for work but it was hard to come by especially in sport. So I decided to go the old fashioned route and volunteer (via the Join In website). That way, I could get experience and improve my coaching.
For how long have you helped out, and how often do you coach?
I started midway through July and have loved it ever since. At the moment I coach four times a week for three hours each day.
How important was it that you did your coaching qualification and how much did the club help set that up?
The club have been very supportive from the start as we’re working towards our Sports Leaders award in gymnastics, which would be a great achievement.
What have you learned from it, and what skills do you now put to use?
I’ve learnt a lot so far, especially working with children and dealing with certain types of situations, like handling a group on my own and acting as a type of role model to the kids.
“It’s really showed me that if you work your way up starting from volunteering, you can really make a name for yourself.”
Apart from part-time employment, how has your volunteering benefitted you?
It’s really showed me that if you work your way up starting from volunteering, you can really make a name for yourself – not just now, but for many years into the future. This can be a great benefit to you and others around you.
How popular is gymnastics in the area? How much of an inspiration are successful Team GB gymnastics teams to the young athletes?
Gymnastics is a big favourite around Milton Keynes especially at Springers, we have loads of classes starting from a young age, which is surreal. The London 2012 Games had a major influence on children wanting to try new things and sports such as gymnastics and hockey. The Team GB athletes give children the chance to support gymnastics idols like Beth Tweddle or Louis Smith, which allows them to have big dreams or inspires them to compete at that type of level.
What other assistance does MK Springers need, e.g. more coaches, help with funding or marketing work?
I feel MK Springers maybe needs more coaches to support the ever-growing list of children wanting to become gymnasts.
What is the most rewarding part of your time spent at the club?
Honestly, every time I coach, seeing the other coaches, or noticing the kids smiles every time they come to gymnastics or see their friends. It’s great for everyone.
What are your plans for the future? How do you hope to develop your role at MK Springers?
I think I would like to become a coach one day in any sport or working with kids in some way, whether that’s in sport or leisure. I hope to develop my role by becoming a better coach… and hope to be able to coach other gymnasts in different groups during my time at MK Springers.
– Find a gymnastics club that needs help near you.
– Read about how volunteers saved a gymnastics club in Fife.