Q& A: Volunteers' Week - Bridget's Story
Volunteers’ Week 2022 is running from 1-7 June this year.
It is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering.
To help celebrate the campaign we would like to take this opportunity to share some of our fantastic volunteer stories with you.
Bridget Ball, 65, a retired head teacher, who has been a volunteer for our award-winning Yorkies Welcome Team since 2018, tells us how volunteering has helped her…
Here is Bridget’s volunteer story…
It is lovely to be part of a diverse group and be in a great environment – Bridget Ball, volunteer for Yorkies Welcome Team
How did you first get into volunteering for YCF?
I first found the sporting volunteer bug after volunteering during the London Olympics in 2012 and then when I retired five years ago I looked into giving more time to volunteer as I think it’s a great thing to do when you retire.
I was helping at the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2017, at a game hosted in Derby, and one of my friends there had volunteered for a number of years with the Yorkies Welcome Team and recommended that I join.
Right from the off I remember everyone at the Foundation and all the Yorkies were really welcoming and everybody right from Beth – the Health & Wellbeing Manager who was leading The Yorkies at the time were amazing.
It was lovely to be part of a diverse group and the is a brilliant atmosphere within the group. Through the Yorkies I was given the opportunity to spend time with people I wouldn’t usually spend time with because of the wide range in ages and and backgrounds – it’s brilliant!
What have you gained from being part of the Yorkies Welcome Teeam?
Most of my volunteering has been for short amounts of time – for example 10 days and it’s over – whereas with the Yorkies you get to help all through the summer – the regularity is great.
Also the extended period of time with the same group of people gives you the chance to become part of a really special team. You are working as a team, meeting other people and ultimately helping other people who are just coming for a fun day out at the cricket.
The Yorkies are very inclusive – everyone is catered for and well looked after – so you feel very cared for.
Volunteering is about giving back because you are helping others so you are not just thinking about yourself – which is a skill in itself so you have the opportunity to enhance that.
I also learnt how to drive the buggy during matches to help transport people – which has helped me gain confidence and a new skill.
What have been some of your Yorkie highlights?
There have been so many. Headingley is a very special place. I remember the first match I helped on after Covid – there were volunteers and members of the public almost in tears of happiness because they were able to return to the stadium.
And 2019 when Ben Stokes scored all those runs in the test match – I had the honour of driving the buggy that day. I drove people including Sir Alastair Cook back to his car and just being able to talk about the phenomenal game – just sitting in the buggy chatting about this game we’d seen – you can’t beat that really can you. That’s an experience you don’t normally get.
Also recently the glorious relaunch of the Yorkies Welcome Team, alongside the Respect campaign launched by Yorkshire County Cricket Club. The hot pink uniform – it has made us more prominent – the colour particularly – it’s a great! And now we have extended roles throughout the match – it’s a full circle of being available throughout and welcoming.
How has volunteering with YCF opened up more opportunities for you?
I’m a serial volunteer now basically. This summer I’ll also be helping at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, at Manchester City Stadium Women’s Euro’s and during end of July/August I’ll also be helping at the Women’s T20 Cricket at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and my experience with The Yorkies helped me get those roles.
Volunteering for me is all about giving back and with The Yorkies you really feel like you are helping and helping others helps you too!
To find out more about Volunteers’ Week 2022 & our volunteer opportunities, click HERE.