Volunteer Case Profiles
Karen Barnard – helping to secure Hampshire’s volunteering legacy
As Local Leader Coordinator for Join In, Karen helps sports clubs and volunteers find each other, always making sure their needs are matched. She works tirelessly to promote volunteering and Join In at her a range of events up and down the county, and her energy and passion are boundless. She always follows up and keeps in contact with clubs and volunteers, making it her mission to visit them and recognise their hard work – whether she is presenting a cheque or dropping off a signed item from a sporting hero.
Karen lives her volunteering mantra. As well as being Local Lead Coordinator, she also provides meticulous support to the Frimley Park Lodge parkrun and in the past has volunteered at many sports events and organisations including Hampshire Cricket in the Community, Four Marks Sports and Social Club, VoTwo Triathlon, the Reigate half marathon, the Frimley 10k, and Fleet 10k.
When Karen won the Sports Volunteer of Year award in 2016, her first comment was that recognising volunteers highlights the good work all volunteers do. Even as she won, she mentioned others which is just a small reflection of her commitment to volunteering. She is the epitome of dedication at every level and plays a vital role in inspiring others across Hampshire.
Her willingness to get involved means that Karen has built and mentored a team of highly-effective Local Leaders, fostering successful relationships with partners across the region. Karen’s commitment and diligence always shines through and she always champions every volunteer she comes across, helping them to feel inspired, valued and empowered to work hard for the sport they love.
John Sennett – turning change into lifelong passion
From working with visually impaired athletes to being part of a 2012 legacy, John’s journey through volunteering has been life-changing. Deciding that he needed a new challenge, John connected with Eastleigh-based Pavilion on the Park and was paired with Cycles for All, an organisation that provide specialised bikes so everyone can access cycling. By assisting them, John could find his place. What started as a short term change developed into a passion for volunteering and disability sport.
John has taken on a variety roles including working as a sports volunteer for the friends of St James Park and volunteering at the Community Games. As a coach for Southampton Athletics Club, he shares his insight and skills with around 70 children a week. His hard work and enthusiasm helped him to stand out and as a result he took on a paid summer role teaching international students more about sport.
His current work with Winchester Goalball Club has reinforced John’s commitment to disability sport. As well as learning more about delivering inclusive sessions for visually impaired people, he has also accessed leadership training and travelled to tournaments up and down the county.
Through volunteering, John has shown how he can adapt and manage different responsibilities. In having the bravery to take a different path, he has not only gained skills and experience but also built self-belief, passion and confidence. He now wants to inspire others and show them how volunteering can really make a difference – to their own lives and others.
We would love share your volunteering experiences to inspire others, so please get in touch.