Q&A with 2020 Young Volunteer of the Year Lewis Fenech
11th June 2021
Volunteers are the beating heart of our sport, it is why we run our Annual Awards each year to celebrate and recognise their phenomenal efforts to delivery and develop volleyball.
With nominations now open for this year’s Annual Awards, we reached out to our 2020 Young Volunteer of the Year, Lewis Fenech, to ask him about winning the award and why he finds volunteering so rewarding.
How did it feel to be recognised as Volleyball England's Young Volunteer of the Year?
I was quite surprised that Volleyball England had awarded me with the Young Volunteer of the Year Awards. I have done what I can for the volleyball community just for the opportunity to be more involved in the sport. If there is an opportunity to watch, coach, ref or even set up a court, I'm always ready to get stuck in.
What difference has the award made to you?
The award has made me remember that, most of the time, when I help people they appreciate the efforts I put in and for giving up my time. Opportunities to help the community have been sparse this year due to Covid but I have supported beach volleyball clubs where I could.
What would you say to someone thinking about submitting a nomination into this year's Annual Awards?
I have always nominated people around me in the VE awards, mainly because I appreciate the time and effort that goes into, coaching, running a club or event. I think that, if you can make one person smile by something you do, your day has been great!
How did you start out as a volunteer?
I started by line judging National Volleyball League games while my dad played, I must have been 10 or 11-years-old and remember all the team giving me a high five after the game. As a kid, I saw awesome games and felt like part of the team. I later joined the same club and played National League Division 1 and always made sure to thank and support any line judges and scorers.
Tell us about the top three things you enjoy about volunteering.
There are so many cool things about getting involved with volleyball. The people who you are helping are always so thankful, and you build a great relationship if you help them more than once. The teams at Sideout and Deepdish really get involved and love to support everyone. I like solving problems and helping people, so it is a great way to occupy my mind and still be involved in volleyball. My absolute favourite bit is that usually after you've done your "job" you get to play with all the other volunteering team, having fun games and lots of laughs.
What impact has Covid had on you as a volunteer?
As I said before Covid has halted a lot of volunteering opportunities, however I've been able to help with photoshoots, setting up courts and also have been able to use my social media platform to help other clubs and people how to build a brand online.
If you could take a moment to thank a volunteer who has had a huge impact on your volleyball journey, who would it be and why?
I used to think the players around me made me the person I am today. I now realise it is the people in the background of the club, not always the biggest voices or at the front of all the photos. Steven Rosser (Shakey) was the heartbeat of Brentwood Volleyball Club and sadly passed away two years ago. He would find time to help everyone in the club and watched over me as I started coaching at the club in the early years, growing me as a coach and as a player. We had an ongoing joke that he would never ever get blocked by me, no matter how hard I tried. A wonderful man and a great friend.
Click here to submit a nomination into the 2021 Annual Awards. Categories include: Young Coach of the Year; Coach of the Year; Services to Refereeing; Young Volunteer of the Year; Volunteer of the Year; Long Service Award; Club of the Year; and Covid Hero.