A couple of years ago my wife volunteered me to help coach my son’s Under 7s football team. Having originally resisted the opportunity, I ultimately threw myself into the challenge of developing a bunch of eager, willing, and enthusiastic kids into something that resembles a football team.
I’ve always loved football - playing and watching - and I still enjoy playing the occasional game at the weekend, but the reward from coaching children, as I am discovering, is something altogether more inspiring. Football is one practical aspect of their learning, but I had underestimated the importance of the additional benefits that we hope to instil – teamwork, respect, empathy, to win and to lose, communication, spatial awareness…. The list goes on. I’ve also come to appreciate the extensive community that is involved in grass roots sport, not just football. We have almost 500 players in the club, and when you add in the associated parents and families, the network of connections creates a strong sense of belonging to the local area.
My role has grown within the club. I am now the Head Coach for Development Years and sit on the club’s committee. Again, the structure and admin involved in running a community sports club has been an eyeopener. Everyone gives up their time for free, and it is thankless at times, but the broader social impact that the volunteers have is huge.
Socius supports and encourages a programme of ‘Giving Something Back’ for all its employees. This programme recognises the importance of social impact and purpose beyond the day job, which aligns with our pending B-Corp status. We have made a commitment to offer all the team two days a year, taken how and whenever they like, to spend on things that they are passionate about. I use mine to ensure that I’m home for training sessions every Monday evening, and most recently I took half a day off to run the annual ‘Pub Quiz’ fundraising event, which Socius also sponsored. For me, I do it because I enjoy it and find it rewarding, but it is made all the easier to have a supportive and socially conscious employer.