BLOG: “Don’t be afraid of volunteering even if you’re unsure what you can offer”

This week, The Big Help Out campaign begins – showcasing how volunteering benefits both the community and the people who take part. The aim is to get more people volunteering in their local communities and joining a network of people across the country having a huge impact. In our latest blog, we hear from Nav Gahonia about her experiences of volunteering in cricket and why she wants more women to get involved.

It all started when my daughter took part in All Stars Cricket in June 2019. I thought it would be great to take part in the sessions with her but I quickly noticed that there were lots of dad helpers and hardly any mums! I’m incredibly proud to have introduced my daughter to cricket. I see her grow every step of the way, from All Stars Cricket and Dynamos Cricket through to the pathway where she now plays in tournaments for her club.

I’ve always considered myself sporty. I’ve loved watching and playing cricket but I’d never been asked to help with coaching or organisational aspects before and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But after being a parent helper with All Stars Cricket, I decided to become an activator for Dynamos Cricket, actively taking part in sessions and helping run them. My fellow activators were welcoming and the programme was well-structured and fun to run with the boys and girls.

Having visible female representation in cricket at all levels is crucial in encouraging more girls into playing the game. I’ve gone from a parent helper to now being a volunteer coach on the Northamptonshire girls’ County U11 pathway. I enjoyed that experience so much that I’ve trained as an ECB Support Coach and I’m currently looking into the Foundation Level 1 coaching course as the next step. I just want to keep doing my bit in the game I love so much.

Nav is also working with the Northamptonshire Women's pathway

Volunteering in cricket has so many benefits. You help people to develop their skills and have fun and I really feel like I’m giving back to my community. Whether it's taking care of some more administrative elements so that lead coaches can spend more time with the girls in training or taking part in some interesting training courses which I’ve used outside of cricket – it’s incredibly rewarding.

I really enjoy watching as the girls in the U11 pathway develop and grow. As it is quite a small group, we get to know the girls and can see how they are improving each time they come for training. By being a welcoming, female face in these sessions, I feel I can offer an extra dimension to the programmes I volunteer with that enhances the overall experience for the girls taking part.

My advice to any woman thinking of volunteering is cricket is simple: don’t be afraid of volunteering even if you aren’t sure what you can offer. For girls to become more engaged with cricket they need to see women of all ages involved in their clubs in the same way that men are. Clubs are always looking for more volunteers to help coach sessions or join in games and you don’t need to have any particular experience or skills – just a willingness to help!

You can start your volunteering journey in cricket by becoming an All Stars Cricket or Dynamos Cricket activator.

To learn more about the role of an activator, check out the infographic below.

National Programmes Activator Infographic