Volunteering with Midland Mencap: Assistant Football Coach

4 June 2024
2 min read.

I have been volunteering with Midland Mencap for a couple of months now and it has exceeded my expectations.

I initially joined as a placement student from university and while capturing content from one of the football sessions I really enjoyed the environment I was in and the engagements I was having. I went back to the office and talked to the Volunteering Manager about joining in with the football. A very easy process of providing a few key details, having a simple chat about the role and since my DBS was already done, I was ready to go.

I attend when I can, and I let the team know I will be coming in and from there I have as much fun as anyone else there whilst making a difference in someone else’s life. Over the weeks I have seen improvements in how social everyone has become with me and with other new people while working on their football skills. I feel like I am part of the team and feel welcomed by both the staff and the players which is mostly from how much fun we have together.

I will help set up and support the staff with activities which puts my knowledge of football, communication, and support into action while also keeping physically fit. I have developed my ability to communicate with different people as the group is so varied and unique and I feel a lot more confident with newcomers too. This has put inclusiveness at the heart of football for everyone and it has made me happy to see those with learning disabilities receive equal opportunities at a game many of us love and enjoy.

I have had personal experience with learning disability through friends and family, so I understood the difficulties and barriers they have in certain areas of life. Here at Midland Mencap, you will see results from your efforts and that is fulfilling to see. You are supported by staff, praised by parents and carers, and treated as a friend by your new teammates.

My favourite part has been the tournaments the team go to every month. Before the games have even started, the team is excited to see one another and warm up for games. I support them in a few warmup drills alongside the coaches and it is great to see the confidence in the team going into games. The matches themselves will keep you on your toes as you are always eager to see your team do well. There is plenty of cheering, exciting drama and nonstop crazy celebrations. You will feel proud and fulfilled from the whole journey with the team which is a fraction of the reasons you will want to keep coming back.

If you have a passion for sports and for football especially, this is a perfect opportunity to make a difference and find a community of people that are as passionate as you are. I joined for the love of football, and I stayed to continue seeing others enjoy the sport as much as I do especially if they never had the opportunities me and you did.

Want to learn more about volunteering at Midland Mencap? Click here

By Zaryab Khan