Volunteer’s Blog: Angus Warren
Occupation: Executive Director in Real Estate & Services at Nomura International Plc
For the last 14 months I have been volunteering on Thursday afternoons at the after-school table tennis club at Morpeth School in Bethnal Green. I became involved with the charity because I am a strong believer in the aims of Greenhouse Sports – the concept of helping young people to develop their life skills through sport is a very powerful one.
I remember my first visit to Greenhouse and how impressed I was by the welcome I received. The kids were so friendly and confident and a lot of emphasis was clearly put on their ability to interact with someone new, introduce themselves and be ready to share their skills. I visited the STEP (Social, Thinking, Emotional and Physical skill development) program event at Earls Court, and it was just amazing to see so many kids enjoying the facilities and benefiting from the broader learning opportunities the STEP program offers.
As well as helping with social, thinking and emotional skills, inspiring children to exercise and stay fit is also incredibly important. Greenhouse gives inner-city kids access to amazing facilities and a level of coaching that they would otherwise find very difficult to access. As a volunteer it has also given me a chance to re-connect with a sport I enjoyed at school and to share some of the enjoyment I have always had. It’s great fun to spend time with the kids and see how much they get out of Greenhouse sessions – especially when you see them progressing and achieving things they didn’t expect they could do.
I decided to take the next step of completing a coaching certificate which I completed last October – I now have the confidence to work with junior players and know that I am coaching the right things and helping them get the most out of their sessions. It has helped my technical knowledge and my understanding of the coaches’ role and to appreciate what a difficult job they do. Also, it’s vital to understand our responsibilities regarding the welfare of the children whilst they are in our care.
Though I am busy, I am very fortunate to work for Nomura, who actively encourage and help employees to spend time volunteering and engaging in community work. I do my best to plan my time well in advance and to keep the volunteering time free – most of the time it works! I’d recommend volunteering with Greenhouse to anyone. Working with such enthusiastic kids and gifted coaches is incredibly rewarding, energising and a lot of fun.
If I were asked to describe my volunteering experience in one word? Rewarding.