Volunteers Week 2023

This week, June 1st to June 7th, is Volunteers Week. Street Soccer Scotland was built on the foundations of volunteer work and the fantastic value they bring to communities across the country. We spoke to a current volunteer in our Edinburgh programmes, who is looking to bring positive change through the vehicle of Muay Thai boxing.

Our volunteer first engaged with Street Soccer through searching for new opportunities for his son and soon found himself as part of a new football family.

“I initially discovered Street Soccer through my son’s school. We had suggested together that we should engage him in more outside activities and we eventually got him started at the free football session at Leith Links.

“After going with him for a little while, I started to get a bit more involved myself. I spoke to Robbie and he encouraged me to get involved with the session, so I started volunteering, got my disclosure and progressively got more and more involved with Street Soccer.

“I am helping out at various sessions now and its been a really positive change for me, positive for my son and has opened up some doors for us too.”

Through helping at weekly sessions, he believes that he has seen a significant change in his own mental health and has used that progression to lead a new activity for players in the capital.

“Through my own struggles, especially with mental health and the challenges over the lockdown periods, I knew I wanted to find something that had a positive impact on my life and create closer ties to the community. I had volunteering roles beforehand and always found it beneficial, so staying engaged with Street Soccer was a no brainer.

“Recently, we have started Muay Thai sessions that I have been leading. There’s been a keen interest and its good to work in that intimate environment with smaller groups. I was a thai boxer for 15 years and practiced all over Scotland, I fought competitively and mentioned that to Robbie. He asked if I could help with a new activity for our local players and we went from there.”

Weekly Muay Thai sessions take place in Ocean Terminal, next to the Street Soccer office, and have allowed players to engage in a new sport, removing barriers and the anxiety around sessions in a public setting.

With the right guidance, new activities such as Muay Thai can allow players the opportunity to progress in both mental and physical wellbeing.

“A lot of people are keen to take up something new but we understand that there is anxiety around that and the social settings they may be in, so we made a small group that our players can take it at their own pace.

“All of our participants have found it beneficial for their fitness. Different ranges of movements and exercises for everyone involved, so its great to pass that on to the community.

“I am really enjoying and would be happy to do more. There will be natural progression for those involved and working to create a more social environment. Robbie has introduced a few people to the classes and we’ve even had a few kids taster sessions too.”

With further opportunities both on and off the pitch, he highlights that volunteering roles are extremely valuable for both the individual and communities across Scotland.

“Predominantly through Street Soccer, I’ve found that volunteering has helped me discover new skills and passions. I’ve progressed as a coach and Street Soccer have put me through the first step of the SFA coaching badges as I continue to help at the community centre down at the links.

“I think volunteering is a really special experience, regardless of where you go. You feel at one with your community and you’d often be surprised at what’s available on your doorstep. Like myself, when I wasn’t engaged, you are on a spiral and can become more anxious but finding and creating opportunities really lifts your confidence.

“It’s never easy to begin with, struggling with self-talk and negativity, but naturally you realise the support that organisations such as Street Soccer are able to provide and it puts you in a really good place.”

You can find out more about volunteering with Street Soccer, online.

We collect cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.