By Joe Harvey, Sportsbeat
International Volunteer Day is held each year on 5 December. It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organisations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work.
Here Joe talks to Margate FC’s Ryan Day about his volunteering:
Margate FC has always been there for Ryan Day, even when life has tried to tear him away from the club he loves.
The 33-year-old has long been involved at Hartsdown Park, including a brief and impromptu stint as chief executive in his mid-20s.
Day’s life was turned upside down in 2018 when he lost his sight, but that has not stopped him from continuing to devote his time to the seventh tier side, where he currently serves as director of communications.
It is a role in which he continues to inspire those around him with his dedication in the face of his disability, with Day proving nothing will hold him back from driving Margate forward.
“They have been fantastic,” Day said. “Even when I wasn’t at the club for a few years, they supported me, they stayed in touch.
“Without blowing my own trumpet, I like to think that I inspire a group of people at Margate with the fact my health implications don’t affect my love for the game.
“I do a lot of mental health work outside of the club and I am also an ambassador for the Blind Association in Kent.
“I think that inspires people and that is what I want to do, and I am keen to not just talk about my situation, but show how football can be a release.”
With International Volunteer Day on December 5, Day has nothing but positive things to say about his time helping out at Margate in roles replicated at non-league clubs across the country, with opportunities available to view via the Pitching In Volunteer Hub.
A constant in his life through trials and tribulations, the 33-year-old believes that the camaraderie and bond created by being involved with a sports team offers plenty.
“I would say to people that if you can get in at any football club, or any sporting club, as a volunteer, it gives you so much satisfaction,” Day said.
“Whether that is a result on the pitch, the children enjoying the game, seeing a big crowd, there is so much emotion. That is what I love about football, it is such a high and low.
“You ride it all out, but you ride it out as a team, as a football club, it is not just about you, you are not there on your own.
“You have volunteers around you and this amazing fan base. What I love about football and volunteering is that it brings people together from all walks of life with a common goal of winning a football match.”
Find volunteering opportunities at your local club by visiting https://pitchinginvolunteers.co.uk/