Blog: Mat Power, Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis were elevated to national treasure status following their gold medal performances at the Olympic Games. But London 2012 had more than just an impact on which athletes we admire, it completely changed our perception of sport and encouraged us to bite the bullet and actually participate ourselves. The challenge is now keeping this legacy alive.

Community Games is a programme designed to keep the spirit of London 2012 going strong in our communities. Its success relies on the contribution of volunteers. The aim of the Shining Lights initiative is to celebrate these unsung heroes and recognise the contribution they make to community life. In the second of our guest blogs from the 2014 Shining Lights, we meet Staffordshire award winner, Mat Power.

Hi Mat. Congratulations on your award. What does Community Games and being a Shining Light mean to you?

Mat: I know when people find a sport they like they’re more likely to try more sports. This is why I try so hard to get people to join in and come along to sports events. I want to help people do sports that may not necessarily have the opportunity or the motivation to do them. Winning this award means I can be an example to other volunteers for Community Games.

You’re clearly very passionate about community sport. Where does your motivation come from?

Mat: My enthusiasm for sport came from playing it just once. I was going through a bit of a rough patch at home and everything seemed like it was going against me when my friends invited me to take part in a college sport event. So I did. At that time playing sport made me happy and put a smile on my face; something I hadn't done in a while. Now, when putting on these events, I see the participants smiling and laughing and this makes me want to continue.

That’s exactly what Community Games is about. How did you first get involved in the initiative?

Mat: About two years ago I started helping my college sportmaker, Dave, with the events he was running that were linked with Community Games. I got involved because playing sport made me happy and I wanted to try coaching and helping out at events. 

You’re very motivated and your can-do attitude must have been invaluable to the success of your Community Games. What challenges have you had to overcome?

Mat: We recently ran out of funding so we needed to find more. With the help of StreetGames and Community Games we found the O2 Think Big programme. I applied for funding from them and was lucky enough to be accepted.

Your Community Games has clearly been successful. What advice would you offer others inspired to run an event?

Mat: My top tips would be that you should always be ready for when the participants arrive, always be motivated for the event and always have fun yourself - the participants will be able to tell if you aren’t.

Feeling inspired? If you’re motivated by Mat’s story, why not organise a Community Games in your area? Simply register your Community Games and get access to great resources, tips and support. And if you sign up by 30th June you’ll have the chance to win £500 for your community.

Blog: Mat Power, Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent