As part of our new ‘Club Matters Meets’ feature, each month we will be speaking to different people from the world of sport. This month, we’re catching up with England Rugby Union International, Chris Robshaw, who talked to us about his personal experience of volunteers and how they helped him in his early career.
Club Matters: When you were growing up, I’m sure there were volunteers who helped at your local rugby club. Is there anyone in particular who stood out or has helped your career?
Chris Robshaw: Looking back at my mini rugby club in Warlingham, my mum would take me and my brothers down there. She would drop us off on a Sunday morning and then pretty much the whole day would be run by volunteers. My early love of rugby is certainly down to them, as they made the whole day so much fun.
Whether it was the parents coaching you on the pitch, local businesses helping to provide the kit, or volunteers working at the clubhose- without people like them, young players wouldn’t have those great experiences.
Club Matters: Grassroots rugby clubs rely on volunteers – can you give a message that would encourage more people to volunteer
Chris Robshaw: I would love to send a message to everyone who volunteers, just to say; “keep doing what you’re doing”. You’re doing such a fantastic job, week in week out. I’ve been back to my old club a couple of times and even when it’s tipping it down with rain, the volunteers are always there. Sometimes the kids don’t turn up because the conditions are so bad, but you can always guarantee the volunteers will be there!
They’re the people that really make it count and are so important to the environment, whatever club that be. In my case it was rugby but if its football, cricket, whatever, a club cant function without their support.
Club Matters: Are you surprised how many clubs are run simply due to the love of sport?
Chris Robshaw: Very much so. I think a lot of volunteers have a love of the game and are able to share this with their club.
We have a couple of guys at the club who coach in the amateur leagues because they love it and they want to improve as coaches and they want to pass on the knowledge and experience to other people. But it’s really impressive when you actually work out the numbers of volunteers that give people that enjoyment.