Regional Volunteer Awards spotlight — Redditch Stars

In 2021 Redditch Stars won Club of the Year in the West Midlands region at the Regional Volunteer Awards. The club was originally a couch-to-5k group that went out on Sunday mornings. They formed in 2015 and have gone on to become an affiliated club, going from strength to strength. Every day of the week the club offers training sessions and now has a youth offer. The club now has qualified leaders, assistant coaches and coaches delivering sessions.

During lockdown Redditch stars went above and beyond to look after their members. They used their social media platforms to engage with members and look after one another.

What did winning a Regional Volunteer Award mean to you?

Winning the West Midlands Club of the Year was a proud moment for everyone connected with Redditch Stars. The award meant a huge amount to us as firstly it highlighted our inclusive approach to running and it also showed how far we had come. Originally there were some sceptics that a couch-to-5k group could work on a Sunday. Winning the award enabled us to reflect on how far we had come. Our members refer to the club as our “running family” and winning an award that celebrated this outlook was really special.

Has winning the Regional Volunteer Awards inspired you, or those around you, to become further involved in athletics?

Winning the Regional Volunteer Award has inspired us to develop further as a club. We have had additional volunteers trained so they can deliver sessions. Since the awards we have continued to be innovative, and we also launched a virtual half marathon challenge. The challenge was developed so the clubs’ members could raise money for two charities. These charities were selected as two members from the club sadly passed away and we wanted to raise money for the connected charities.

Why do you think the Regional Volunteer Awards are important?

The Regional Volunteer Awards are important as firstly nominations come from your members. This is so important as it means that those who are a part of your club feel proud to be connected to it. Secondly, to have recognition from England Athletics helped provide a level of reassurance that we were doing a good job. It also made us realise what we were doing is appreciated and very much worthwhile.

Clubs are nothing without volunteers, so the awards provide a great way to be recognised and say thank you. Finally, in our case it enabled us to give a heart felt tribute to a sadly missed member – John O’Brien. John passed away tragically just before the awards and on the night, we dedicated the award to him. This was really special for us.