iCanVolunteer: Russ Mellor
What does your role entail at the Garforth Junior Football League?
My role at the Garforth Junior League covers many areas and without the support of the fantastic team of committee members it wouldn’t be possible but as Chairman I would say its overseeing the general running of the league and supporting those within the committee as much as possible while at the same time looking at ways to develop the game and experience and to grow our brand for the benefits of the clubs, teams and children involved with the GJFL. As a Divisional Co Ordinator it's about making sure that all those teams have games to play week in week out where possible hopefully on a fairly even playing field where our children enjoy the game.
How did you get involved?
I got involved with coaching through my son playing for Beeston Juniors JFC and now I have a team of kids who mean the world to me. I got involved in the league for many reasons, I have my own vision and my own beliefs in how I think the game should be played and how we develop our children through the means of football and there is no better platform.
Why do you give up your free time to volunteer at Garforth Junior Football League?
I give up my time because I love football, it's as simple as that. I love seeing my son Blake play the game, I enjoy seeing kids out there playing the game I love. I wasn’t a great player but I have a belief in myself that I think I could be a good teacher of the game.
What do you enjoy about the role?
I enjoy being able to make a positive difference and working with people who have great experience in grassroots football from committee members to those at WRCFA but also with like-minded people as well. It's about being able to make a difference in the game. You see and read about the positive things they do in Spain, Holland and even Finland and you want to be able to at least attempt to bring some of that our way and I believe we are getting there. I want England to win the World Cup or even the Euros at some point and I think the FA are going about it the right way.
What has been the highlight of your volunteering experience?
I have many highlights from seeing the Cup Finals day where teams from other areas got to enjoy a finals day at one venue which raised lots of money for the clubs holding the events so putting back into the game financially, to seeing the league win league of the year as it means all the hard work that the whole committee has put in throughout the season is being rewarded and each and everyone of them deserve the recognition because they put so much time into it and you don't realise how much until you give it a try. To this year and working with Kick It Out to try and change behaviour at the side of the pitch and on the pitch.
What has been the biggest challenge during your time as a volunteer?
The situation with Coronavirus without a doubt. It's been tough for everyone not knowing what to do and when to do it and how to approach things. You want the kids to play but at the same time you want it to be safe as well and you feel everyone's frustration at the same time as feeling your own. We will have a huge challenge on our hands in the future keeping kids interested but it's a challenge we will meet head on.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering in football?
That's simple, if you love the game get involved. Yes, you have moments when you think why do you bother but they are far outweighed by the jubilant moments and seeing the kids smile. If you love the game then volunteer!