Community Volunteer of the Year Award winner thanks Sale Sharks Community Trust
Daisy Hibbert-Jones thanked Sale Sharks Community Trust after the inspirational youngster won Community Volunteer of the Year at the Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards.
The Community Volunteer of the Year Award, supported by EdComms, is designed to reward a person who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the community through their work at the club.
Daisy was presented with the award at the House of Commons on Wednesday, where she pipped fellow nominees Edward Wade of Saracens and Worcester Warriors’ Julian Lund to the prize.
The 15-year-old became involved with the Sharks Community Trust in September 2017 after her brother, who has autism, joined a mixed ability team that the Trust was supporting.
After attending the Trust’s annual girls’ residential camp, she decided she wanted to volunteer and has since committed more than 100 hours to assisting the Trust’s community work.
Daisy’s brother Henry Hibbert-Jones was also nominated for the PLAY Achiever of the Year award and she said they were both thrilled just to be recognised.
“It’s a massive honour to win as me and my brother were both nominated and unfortunately he lost out, but we were both proud to be shortlisted,” she said.
“Volunteering has made me more open-minded and I can overcome more challenges, because I look at other people and I realise my life is easy compared to theirs.
“I got that through coaching with the Sharks Community Trust and I can see after what they’ve accomplished they are so much happier with themselves, which is really important.
“It’s great to see the impact afterwards when they achieve what we would consider a simple skill like a pass, you can see in their face how proud they are of themselves and it makes you happy as well.
“The opportunities that I have been given through Sharks Community Trust have been immense, not many 15-year-olds get the opportunities I have received and it’s all thanks to the Sharks.
“I really enjoy rugby and it’s taught me a lot about discipline, respect and teamwork, the core values of rugby, and anyone playing at any level of rugby can achieve those core values.”
Daisy has worked across a wide range of programmes, including Walking Rugby, Girls Rugby, Disability Rugby and the autism specific programme, ‘Play On’.
Her brother has not looked back since getting involved in the ‘Play On’ programme and Daisy credited Sale Sharks for helping him grow in confidence and become more outgoing.
“Watching my brother not being able to get involved with people who don’t have additional needs to now playing sports in the first team has been incredible,” she explained.
“He’s come so far and it’s because of Sale Sharks. He does work experience there as well, so they have brought him on so much rugby-wise and in his social skills.
“He will approach people now and simple things like going to the shop and buying something from someone who works behind the counter, he feels so much more confident that he can do that now.
“Winning this award just pushes me on to want to do more, I have already achieved something good from it and other people should as well.”
Sale Sharks prop James Flynn was on hand to present Daisy with her award and he said: “At Sale, we pride ourselves on doing work in the community.
“The help we get from volunteers like Daisy makes all the difference. It’s great to see kids from difficult backgrounds partnering with clubs like Sale as it’s vital for their personal development.”
Sarah Webb, CEO at Wooden Spoon, who was one of the judges, said: “The calibre of the volunteers was quite incredible. When you think that these people are delivering so many life-changing opportunities to other members of the community and they aren’t paid, it is very humbling.
“It is nice to see so much coming through the community programmes.”
To read more about Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, please visit premiershiprugby.com/in-the-community or join the conversation #RugbyChangingLives