Local Henley Swim Volunteer Tells Us Why He Does It

Henley Swim rely heavily on volunteers and they value their contribution immensely.  They insist that both volunteers and swimmers go home with a totally positive experience.   Volunteers are a very important part of the run up to the events as well as an invaluable part of the team on the day.

Sport England is launching a new initiative to highlight the double benefits of volunteering; the time, energy and expertise given by the volunteer benefits not only the participant but also the volunteer.  To be a volunteer you don’t have to be fit, sporty or know the rules.  You need to give your time and any expertise…. and a smile!

Henley resident Malcolm Tone is an IT consultant.  Five years ago he was in a stressful job and wanted to exercise.  Lacking motivation, he searched the internet for a challenge.  He came across the Henley Mile swim.  Having always enjoyed swimming but never taken it seriously, he knew this would take him out of his comfort zone.  Falling in love with open water swimming, he wanted to take on a bigger challenge, the Thames Marathon; 14km from Henley downstream to Marlow.  Being relatively new to open water swimming, he decided to volunteer first to see the event in action and ask important questions.  As a result, he swam the Thames Marathon the following year and boosted his self worth with a huge sense of achievement.  He agrees he has met many new and inspiring people by volunteering and understands how both the event organisers need volunteers to run successful events and why volunteers need events to thrive off.   Henley Swim offers a free race entry to one of the Henley Swim events to all volunteers by way of a thank you for their time and free refreshments during the event as well as a “going home present” of an event t-shirt or something similar.

There are a rising number of sporting events across the UK and they may be organised by professional companies or amateurs; but they all require a team of helpers who want to be involved for personal or professional reasons, or to support a charity close to their heart.  In return they become part of a team, meet new people and can develop new skills or use professional skills to benefit the community.  But there are more reasons to volunteering than these.  Some wish to give something back to their community, others wish to improve employability;  some wish to take a look at the event to see if its a challenge they can take on before entering.  But to all, volunteering boosts happiness and wellbeing and all enjoy the buzz surrounding an event.

Sport England quotes that 66% of volunteers signed up from word of mouth.  This is a huge percentage and suggests that those who have been part of the volunteer team have enjoyed their experience and are recommending it to friends and colleagues.  20% site personal reasons, for example the choice of charity the event is supporting, as the motivation to give up their time.

If you want to know more about our events or want to join our volunteering team, check out our website on www.henleyswim.com.  We have great photos available.  Please contact Allie Pennant on allie@henleyswim.com.

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