Charlie Mclean

What was your experience in sport growing up?

My journey through Judo started when my parents wanted me to try an activity that not only kept me active and healthy but to also meet new people. They suggested football to me which I did like at first but I wasn’t big on playing in cold weather conditions so I decided it was not for me. My big brother William was at a Boxing club in Irvine called Vineburgh and he suggested me and my younger brother Jamie should have a go at the sport. I did really enjoy boxing because the coach taught us what stance we should have and how to defend ourselves in the ring. So, after I did boxing in December 2010, my dad took me to the Parterre Hall down the town which is where Irvine Judo Club trained. I was nervous at first because I did not know what to expect. When I came through the doors to the hall I was greeted by three coaches, Gordon and William Brawley and David Frew who were very welcoming. That first session really stuck with me because it was interesting to see the different throwing and groundwork techniques they taught us, but the main thing was the games like sumo and jockey’s up. Through the years of being a player for the club, I grew to love the sport and it progress me through to competition along with Jamie and our cousin Reece, I won my first bronze trophy in 2013 in Greenock and fought for silver in 2019 in Strathkelvin. During lockdown, I took the lead on doing online judo sessions for the players because we could not access the hall at that time. In 2021 I applied for the level 1 coaching qualification and successfully passed it, then a year later I attended the level 2 qualification course at Inverclyde Leisure Centre

What is your volunteering experience to date?

The volunteering I have done with Irvine Judo Club has been great, I’ve been volunteering since 2015. I started volunteering when new people came to our club who wanted to learn the sport, I would help them while I was learning from the coaches. When I was moved to the senior class I got asked to be the junior coach for the club by Gordon, Wullie and Davie so I started to help the junior class every week up to this day. The head coaches offered me the opportunity to go on to improve my coaching development and be able to get my coach qualifications for level 1 in 2021 and then my level 2 in 2022. I have also coached with Active Schools by leading morning, lunchtime and after-school clubs at the Irvine Cluster primary schools and Irvine Royal Academy as well. With Active Schools, I was presented with a certificate for completing 500 hours for the Saltire Award and presented the Round Table Award for Community Involvement, then Irvine Royal Academy’s Volunteer of the Year twice and was nominated for a Young Scot Award by Irvine Judo club and Active Schools. In December 2022, I was presented with the Young Coach of the Year by Judo Scotland for my contribution to Judo and Irvine Judo Club.

What / who inspired you to get into volunteering?

The reason behind what inspired me to volunteer was that I wanted to make a difference in my community, in the sport and in myself. My favourite hobby is helping people who are in need whether that is in the judo club, school clubs, or community sports programmes. I have a lot of people who inspire me such as my grandpa Gilbert who ran a swimming club in Stevenson for over 4 decades which is specifically for people with additional support needs. My coaching team at the club inspire me to put on sessions that not only progress our players' performance development but also bring them back every session. My family inspires me to make a difference in my community and provide more inclusive opportunities for everyone, so no one feels left out.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

The most enjoyable element of volunteering for me is being able to help the players in the club with their performance in judo or assist the coaches through a session. I am a people person, so I love interacting with people and talking about everything judo, but also being there for players, coaches or parents that come to the club when they need someone to speak to about any concerns.

Have you had to overcome any challenges or barriers whilst volunteering?

The barriers/challenges I have overcome with volunteering at the club include talking to players, other coaches, and parents with confidence in my voice. Due to my recent diagnosis of Dyslexia, I sometimes struggle to explain stuff that should be pretty straightforward for a person who does not have dyslexia. The challenges I have overcome are finding my voice and being clear with instructions in the club because of the many great coaches in the club we all express ourselves while coaching our players.

What advice would you give to others looking to get involved in volunteering?

The main advice I would give is if you get the opportunity to volunteer, whether it is in Judo, caring for the elderly, or walking a neighbour’s dog, take in the chance with open arms because you don’t know what that one good deed does to change your life or someone else’s.

Date published: 14 July 2023
Date updated: 14 July 2023


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