A swimming teacher who launched her career after her positive experience with sports volunteering wants her story to encourage others to volunteer.
Poppy Hutchings, 23, from Byland Grove in Seaton Carew, began volunteering with social enterprise Sport Works while at Teesside University and credits them for helping her gain experience to benefit her career.
Sport Works is a social enterprise, run by former athlete and football coach Neil Cameron which delivers Government traineeships in sport to young people.
It is launching traineeships in Teesside, County Durham and across the North East and hopes new volunteers will come forward.
Poppy became a volunteer sports coach in her in the third year of her sport and applied exercise science degree when one of her modules required volunteering.
She said: “I heard about Sport Works through the Teeside volunteering website. I did around six months of volunteering, helping out at after school and holiday clubs and working with children with disabilities.
“I’ve always wanted to coach in sport and Sport Works helped me to progress in that direction by allowing me to help deliver sport classes.”
Poppy helped deliver the short breaks programme for families caring for children with disability; responsible for children with Down’s syndrome, autism from across the spectrum, to those with other physical disabilities who were confined to a wheel chair.
She added: “Volunteering gave me new skills, such as communicating in different ways and it was a great chance to work with different types of people.
“I’ve always loved swimming and I’ve now moved into being a swimming teacher.
“I work with a swim school in Darlington called Swim Buddies that teaches children to swim and also has access for children with disabilities to learn at their own pace.”