My name is Lauren Holloway I applied to join the Youth Board this year as I was a previous employee for Youth Sport Trust and when moving on to work for the Welsh Rugby Union I wanted to stay involved with the organisation as they provided me with so much development and helped me get to where I am today. The area in which I like to work the most and want to make a change is in deprived communities as I have had first-hand experiences working in them.
When I was 18 years of age completing my sports coaching degree in University I got approached by one of the members of the rugby club ‘Luke Gibson’ who asked me to help him with the mini rugby section he was trying to start up at St Albans RFC, Tremorfa. I agreed as I had to complete hours for my degree, and I had started playing rugby for the university.
The first year at the club was a crazy experience quickly growing from 6 children to 40 children joining the mini rugby. I instantly fell in love with coaching and the group of children we had involved. The season after the first I took charge of the U8s team as numbers grew and more coaches got involved to help. 5 years later the children are now U12s, first year of high school, making me realise how long I have coached them along with how old I am!
I have an active role in the club as a whole and with the help of our amazing volunteer workforce we now have 180+ children and 9 age groups including our U6s who train weekly. This is the story in short but the biggest thing we pride ourselves on is that we do not charge the kids anything to train and play for the club. This is possible from our amazing support from parents, coaches and our fundraising team.
From this experience I now have a career in the Welsh Rugby Union as a Rugby Hub Officer in Cardiff and Vale College, I am a coach educator for the WRU, and I still do my voluntary role with St Albans.
The voluntary role doesn’t come without its problems and causes a lot of stress which have made me want to throw in the towel a number of times but the positives out weigh the negatives and you really have to enjoy what you do to do it.
The group of 23 boys that I coach weekly are the biggest passion of mine and anyone who knows me will tell you how much I adore coaching them. If I didn’t coach that group, I would lose a lot of passion I have for working in the communities and making a difference.
As part of the youth board my main aim is to use my knowledge to help bring my ideas to the table. Sport changes lives and I am a strong believer everyone should have the opportunity no matter what background they are from. I hope I can inspire people to take part in sport but also to coach as without coaches we wouldn’t have the sports.
YST Youth Board Member