A Level student Abigail Wright has been recognised for her selfless voluntary work at Abbeydale Squash Club in Sheffield as she balances coaching with her studies. At the England Squash Awards, which took place at the British Open in Birmingham, Abigail was named Young Volunteer of the Year.
“Funnily enough, I started volunteering as part of my DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) Award,” She said. “I was just helping out at the sessions next to mine.
“I very quickly realised how much I loved coaching, so I got more and more involved in the club.
“Since then, I’ve been part of Squash Stars and Squash from the Mosque. I saw how valuable volunteers like me were to these programmes and the difference I could make.
Squash Stars is a participation programme aimed at teaching the fundamentals of the game to five to nine year-olds while Squash from the Mosque encourages people from Muslim backgrounds to take part in the sport.
“I’m ecstatic to say we’ve had great uptake in our programmes,” she said. “We’ve had multiple rotations of Squash Stars that have all been fully booked and some have been integrated into our regular junior sessions.”
“I’m most proud of our work with Squash from the Mosque as we had young girls and women of all ages joining our sessions. Even a dad came to play once!”
The Sheffield-based club is renowned for its inclusion and diversity programmes which make the sport accessible to communities across the city.
Whereabouts have you travelled in the area for the Duke of Edinburgh Award?
“Our expedition was around the Peak District, particularly Stanage Edge and the Hope Valley area. It’s great that we had such a beautiful place to go right on our doorstep.”
Do you take part in any other sports in the Sheffield area?
I used to take part in trampolining and swimming at Ponds Forge and did netball and hockey at school but I’ve cut down to just squash now as it’s the most important to me.
Where would you recommend to visitors in the Sheffield area?
Western Park Museum is a great spot and I have many childhood memories of trips out there. For restaurants Ecclesall road has plenty of amazing options. And of course, the Peak District is right nearby- I’d recommended Padley Gorge and Longshaw for walking.
What would you say to someone thinking about playing squash at Abbeydale?
Just come down and give it a try. Even if you’ve never held a racket before there are sessions suitable for you. It’s really easy to pick up and so many beginners comment on how welcoming the club is.