Cycle Speedway – Helen Clancy, Volunteer Co-ordinator

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Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

19 MAY 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Helen Clancy, the Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club Development and Cafe Manager at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

19 MAY 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Helen Clancy, the volunteer co-ordinator for Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club pictured in the clubhouse at their track in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

The energy and dedication of volunteers is crucial in making dreams become a reality for many people in sport; without those volunteers many sports clubs would not exist and the ambitions of competitors would go unfulfilled.

Helen Clancy, Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club’s volunteer co-ordinator, is standing in the team’s clubhouse, a converted shipping container, listing some of the roles she needs filled whenever they host a big event. “When we have a bigger event we’ll have two of us in here and we’ll have two people outside on a stall with sweets … and we’ll have two or three people over on the barbecue. We need the pit marshall, we need somebody to do the start, we need somebody to do the flags, we need two people to do the first aid.”

That is the minimum. Having started volunteering with horticultural societies over twenty years ago experience has taught her that a team of around twenty five volunteers would be better as it should allow them all time to take breaks and support their family and friends as they race in the event.

11 JUL 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Ian Johnson (second from the right) and Reece Johnson (right) prepare the track for the start of the Celtic Cup as Paul Heard leads the England team onto the centre green to receive their  medals after winning the cycle speedway Home International at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

11 JUL 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Volunteers prepare the track for the start of the Celtic Cup as Paul Heard leads the England team onto the centre green to receive their medals after winning the cycle speedway Home International at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

Clancy, the mother of team member Lewis Roberts, became involved with Ipswich seven years ago and now helps the club find and organise volunteers. Much of her time whilst at the track is spent serving food and drink from the clubhouse however the task has a dual purpose.

“Basically what you do is identify people who are willing to come and help you with things and what you don’t do is turn down any offer of help. All offers of help are important.

“The other benefit of being in here when you are talking to people is you find out what skills and knowledge they’ve got and then you know how you can use it. Its like if you know that somebody has previously done some other form of coaching qualifications its highly likely they’d actually be quite good at doing a coaching session so you’d encourage them and see if they’ll actually do it.

17 MAY 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Development and Cafe Manager Helen Clancy serves a customer during the Elite League fixture against Horspath Hammers at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

17 MAY 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Helen Clancy serves a customer during the Elite League fixture against Horspath Hammers at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

“This (the clubhouse) is a very good income generator. This makes a big difference to the club being here or not being here because you couldn’t just rely on membership fees and training subs because obviously that’s dependent on number of members, but if you have this facility and you can bring the spectators in which is always the aim and they enjoy coming here to watch and they feel welcome, they’re going to come back and spend money.

“You’ve got to remember that your membership may not all be pure racers, theres a social aspect to it and obviously this brings the social aspect alive so like I say they want to come in and want to have a chat with people.

“You need that social side, you need those people, you need the people who want to race and you need the people who maybe want to race, want to aspire to racing, but are never quite sure, or they don’t have the wherewithal or don’t have the support to allow them to do what they would like to do but it is still important to include them because they want to be here. They need to belong to something, they need to have a sense of belonging, we all need that. You are trying to make it so its a community for everybody,” says Clancy who works part time at a solicitors in admin and accounts as well as doing similar work for the families strawberry growing business.

“I quite enjoy it because you get to meet all these other, different people plus at that point (when she started volunteering at the club), I wasn’t working at the solicitors two days a week doing the accounts I was just working at home so I was mainly on my own, so it was an outlet for me to meet people and get to know people because most other people aren’t working at home.

“Its also a sounding board so when people are upset they come and have a chat with you and then they go away feeling better. I quite like it for that reason really.”

14 JUN 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Helen Clancy, the mother of Ipswich Eagles rider Lewis Roberts watches preparations for the Elite League fixture against Poole Comets at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain from the clubs cafe. She rarely watches Lewis ride (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

14 JUN 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Helen Clancy watches preparations for the Elite League fixture against Poole Comets from Ipswich’s clubhouse at at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

She recognises that not everybody wants to volunteer then spend the day in a room with only a small window through which only half the track can be seen, but sees an advantage of being in the clubhouse herself whilst Lewis is racing. “Its OK for me because part of the reason I like being in here is then I don’t watch the racing because its not appreciated when I do anyway.” She laughs, smiles then adds “Yes, by my son. Its not appreciated by my son when I watch the racing or I shout or anything. It wasn’t when I watched him playing football either actually so I used to have to keep quiet which is actually quite hard when you are a parent because you want to be involved.”

So does she ever watch him ? “Sometimes, sometimes when I know he’s on song.”


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