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What to expect as an Inclusive Sports Volunteer!

We spoke with our very own Ci Brennan about what any of our volunteers should expect with us.. and why they should come and join in!

Ci started with us in 2021 in partnership with his college Heart of Birmingham. He started with us on a placement capacity and is now working with us full time as a junior content producer. He has made the role his own, finding out what he does and doesn’t like within the role- as well as his strengths and weaknesses. He has also learned how to utilise these strengths and demonstrated to us how we can support him with the weaknesses. Ci has autism, a form of special educational need that a lot of participants we work with also live with! This means that he can identify and sympathise with a lot of our participants- and will be able to guide and support any volunteers that join on with us. The thing that he enjoys the most about working at Inclusive Sports Academy? He says: “It’s hard for me to choose a favourite thing that I do, but I do like doing the fun stuff at times like the World Cup Sweepstake at Three Trees. I also enjoy overseeing the annual leave calendars." Ci thinks that his disability would potentially hinder his ability to find employment at other locations due to several issues, including “That no one maybe understand my condition, needs or the reasonable adjustments that I may need to have.” This is something that we are actively trying to battle against, and giving our participants new workplace opportunities is where we want to start. Ci has listed some of the things that he believes we do to support him at Inclusive Sports Academy: · I have reminders (as I can forget!)/have a diary to write things down, from tasks to events and meetings. · Tasks are broken down for me to understand and get them right. · Things are translated into the English language and words that I understand. · I can ask if I am unsure or do not understand something. · Staff can draw or write out a template for me if they wanted their own version for me to convert. · Step by step guides and support with new applications and systems that I haven’t used before. Ci believes that Inclusive Sports Academy has helped him overcome some struggles, such as: “On dealing with getting bad days at times. There were times when I wanted to leave as I couldn’t cope with the pressure of some tasks and the fast running pace of the organisation. I also don’t like conflict at all. I don’t like upsetting people or people upsetting me. And when other people are upset or stressed, it makes me feel the same way. Also going to new places! What helps is that I would have a familiar member of the team to go with me when I do visit new places.” As far as adjusting to others to cater for their disability in our volunteering and sessions, Ci says: “We can make our own rules up and can make reasonable adjustments for those who are struggling. That’s what Inclusive Sports is all about. Not singling anyone out, and that making adjustments are a good thing because we are then including everyone.” So, what does Ci want to say to anyone who is thinking of volunteering at Inclusive Sports Academy? “We all understand and will be happy to help you regardless of your medical condition, we are inclusive to all, you won’t feel left out.” And… what does he think that you should expect? “I would say… expect some unexpected changes to the day or unexpected times…. Things may change at last minute! It may be a pain and upset you, but it is to help you get used to working life and everything that comes with it!” Do you have a loved one that you feel would benefit from these sessions? We are running our Inclusive Development sessions at Hatchford Brook on Tuesdays 5.30pm-8.30pm. Starting off as a participant, all individuals will be guided and mentored by our team. Go on over to our Class for Kids link to book on with us! If you have any more questions at all, please either email or call 07547 227 639.

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