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Outstanding sports volunteers honoured at annual University awards


2019 Volunteer Awards 714


Four University of Nottingham Sport volunteers have been honoured for their outstanding contributions to the University and our community at the 2019 Volunteer Awards.

Martin Austin, Stephen Hadfield, Ed Tarlton and Aymun Khan were all nominated for their exceptional commitment to promoting sport and wellbeing at the University of Nottingham. From coaching sessions week-in-week-out to acting as influential role models, all our winners have been instrumental in offering inclusive opportunities for students to stay active and breaking down barriers to getting involved. 

The University’s annual Volunteer Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions our alumni and community volunteers make to the University and the wider world. Alongside Martin, Stephen, Ed and Aymun, the winners included alumna Emily Seto, a NASA scientist and committed University ambassador and the Music and Memories choir who featured in the recent “Our Dementia Choir” documentary with Vicky McClure.

Find out more about our winners:

Volunteer of the Year – Martin Austin

A passionate advocate of disability sport, Martin is an expert in the field having founded one the country’s leading consultancy services offering support to meet legal obligations towards disabled people, including training, access auditing and policy auditing. As Chair of local Wheelchair Basketball side Derby Trailblazers, he is one of the UK’s most experienced wheelchair basketball coaches.

Over the last three years Martin has coached the University’s Wheelchair Basketball Club running weekly sessions and being a constant courtside presence at huge games such as Varsity and the University Championships. As well as mentoring players and coaches, he’s been a vital source of guidance to our staff advising on equipment and sports chairs. He has committed over 250 voluntary hours to the programme and with his support, the club is quickly becoming a force to reckon with in the sport.

Hannah Webber, Disability Sport Officer, who nominated Martin, added: “Martin’s invaluable support of both students and staff has been absolute instrumental to the development of Wheelchair sport at the University – he truly is an unsung hero!”

Martin commented:

“It's an honour to have been recognised in this way. I love working with the University’s Wheelchair Basketball team and do it because I like sharing a passion with others. I've always found staff and students are just as passionate about the sport and look forward to developing the offer in the coming years.”

Volunteer of the Year – Stephen Hadfield

Open Water Volunteer Instructor Steve is a hugely popular figure at the University’s Sub Aqua Club and has been volunteering for longer than anyone in the current student committee can even remember!

He instructs every week at the swimming pool, often several days a week and has helped hundreds students through their qualifications and to become confident divers, dive leaders and instructors themselves.

Club President Daniel Jarman, who nominated Steve, commented:

“From coaching on his birthday, teaching in freezing quarry water in chilly December to driving a 90 minute round trip week in week out to instruct, nothing is too much trouble for Steve. He never expects anything in return and has made an unbelievable difference to countless number of trainees. We’re so pleased that Steve has received this award as we can’t thank him enough for everything he does – he’s a hero to the club!”

Stephen told us why he loves what he does:

“It’s not what you put into volunteering, it’s what you get out of it - and I get to interact with many amazing students who make it incredibly enjoyable.”

Longstanding Volunteer Award – Ed Tarlton (Psychology, 2011)

During his time at the University of Nottingham, Ed was a keen sportsman playing football, competing at the Tri Campus Games and writing for student media and much more. However, during that time, Ed was also diagnosed with depression and poignantly shared his experience in Impact magazine. In the article he shared how being male made it difficult to open up about his problems – he felt like men were supposed to be able to cope and despite his increasing desperation told no one about how he was feeling.

After a very difficult period, Ed began to work with the University’s counselling service and once he talked openly about how he was feeling, it marked a turning point in his recovery.

Since then Ed has been a passionate advocate of mental health support at the University and the power sport can have in driving change. He’s developed and delivered Mental Health Awareness sessions for the Men’s Football club, resulting in a real cultural shift within the teams. He’s a key advocate for the new Men’s Health Active campaign and launched the programme alongside Olympian Etienne Stott earlier this year.

Sam Bell-Minogue, Assistant Director of Sport (Participation), commented: “We’re very grateful for Ed’s unrelenting dedication to supporting the wellbeing of students here at Nottingham. His openness about one of the most difficult times of his life and his journey to recovery have had a real impact on the students he’s worked with - he’s a fantastic role model.”

Ed added:

“It’s wonderful to be recognised for making a contribution to the University’s continuing drive to improve the welfare provision for students. The most pleasing thing for me though is not receiving an award, it’s watching students organically take up the mantle to help their peers and improve the University of Nottingham experience for all.”

Longstanding Volunteer Award – Aymun Khan (Mechanical Engineering, 2019)

During his time at the University of Nottingham, Aymun has been an instrumental figure in the inclusive sport community. He was our first ever Disability Sport Champion – a student ambassador role supporting our staff team – and embraced the role with his characteristic passion. He came up with new ideas, led a team of volunteers and brought further influential champions on board. In his final year alone, he volunteered for over 200 hours to deliver inclusive sport for students and the local community.

Since graduating, Aymun continues to support the University coaching sessions at the Wheelchair Basketball Club and works alongside our Disability Sport Officer to advise on inclusion and wheelchair sports.

Hannah Webber, Disability Sport Officer, commented:

“Aymun is one of the faces of disability sport here at UoN – he’s been involved in both our recent videos around Access and Men’s Health Active and you can often see him in our print materials. He’s really helped to raise awareness of inclusive opportunities at University of Nottingham Sport and break down barriers for other disabled students.”

Aymun told us about his volunteering journey:

“It’s been a good 4 years - starting the club and now seeing all the different things that have been possible with chairs and funding that we’ve got thanks to everyone who’s be involved, not just myself. It’s been amazing to see the efforts that everyone’s made.”

To see all the 2019 Volunteer Award winners, click here.

Posted on Monday 4th November 2019

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