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Volunteers showcase the facility of change | 17 Could, 2023 | All Information | Information and Options | Information and Occasions

Award-winning volunteer Julie Polkinghorne, who has supported her tennis group for over 30 years, embodies the “Change Makers” theme of Nationwide Volunteers Week.

Australia, 17 Could 2023 | Vivienne Christie

Because the 1000’s of Australians who generously contribute their time to tennis all through the nation are celebrated all through Nationwide Volunteers Week, there are few folks extra certified to touch upon the 2023 theme of “The Change Makers” than Julie Polkinghorne.

The long-time resident of Port Lincoln, South Australia, has been tirelessly working inside her native tennis group for greater than three many years – firstly as a captain, then as a committee member and subsequently as President of the Port Lincoln Tennis Affiliation for shut to twenty years.

Inside that interval, Polkinghorne has pushed the Port Lincoln Tennis Affiliation’s transformation to a 16-court facility with absolutely renovated membership rooms. Alongside her husband, Paul, she has additionally helped create alternatives for regional gamers to thrive.

“We had huge ambitions of what we wished to realize and also you hope you may get these concepts throughout the road,” Polkinghorne informed “However I believe most likely by subsequent 12 months we’ll have ticked each single field that we need to tick.”

Combining her efforts throughout the tennis group with a busy full-time function as a Retail Supervisor, wherein she oversees round 30 workers members, Polkinghorne estimates she spends round 20 hours per week volunteering. “Typically it’s greater than that,” she provides.

However the rewards are infinite for the South Australian, who was named Volunteer of the 12 months on the 2022 Australian Tennis Awards and is twice a recipient of Tennis SA’s Rural Volunteer Achievement Award.

These accolades, Polkinghorne notes, should not solely personally rewarding but in addition present recognition for the various contributors to the Port Lincoln Tennis Affiliation’s development. Whereas the in depth services overhaul has been helped by help from native council, Tennis Australia, Tennis SA and grant funding, round one-third of the million-dollar-plus spend was generated by fundraising efforts throughout the group.

“We’ve had a lot help and that’s why I felt actually honoured once I was awarded the Volunteer of the 12 months as a result of it’s not nearly me, it’s about our complete group and the people who encompass us,” Polkinghorne enthuses.

“I may by no means ever obtain what’s been achieved with out these folks. I’ve had a incredible help community and nice relationships.”

It’s unsurprising then, that it’s connecting with people who Polkinghorne most values from a lifetime of volunteering, which additionally features a function because the Eyre Peninsula’s regional coordinator for the Basis Cup.

“You do type some incredible relationships … it truly is a community that you simply begin forming,” Polkinghorne says.

“That’s most likely why we’ve had so many individuals which might be prepared to volunteer in our organisation as a result of that’s the vibe that we wish folks to have – it’s not nearly a group sport, it’s a few household and also you look out for everybody.”

Increasing alternatives for Port Lincoln’s junior gamers is one other spotlight, notably given the Polkinghorne household’s first-hand expertise after their son Darren, a proficient participant, progressed to skilled degree.

“As soon as we may see what different golf equipment and associations had been doing, that was most likely our most important motivation as a result of we ended up travelling throughout Australia with Darren,” Polkinghorne explains.

“All over the place we’d go, we’d take a look at their packages, what services they’d and attempt to convey again a few of these concepts to our native areas.”

With a lot of these plans now fulfilled, Julie appreciates the significance of a succession plan.

“There’s nonetheless a few issues that I must cross off the listing and as soon as that occurs, I’ll be completely happy at hand over to the subsequent era, realizing that the services are at an ordinary that I’m completely happy for them to take over,” she says. “They’re not going to have the onerous yards that we had 20 years in the past.”

And it’s with an appreciation of each how far her organisation has come, and alternatives for the long run, that Julie encourages others to speculate their time within the sport.

“Don’t simply sit again and watch folks do it, get on the market and make a distinction,” Polkinghorne provides. “As a result of with out volunteers, sporting organisations wouldn’t exist.”

E book on-line, play immediately: Go to to get out on court docket and have some enjoyable! 

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