'I've learned so many new skills to help me in everyday life'
Brett Duffy joined LFC Foundation's volunteering programme in February 2018 after moving to Liverpool for university, and credits the scheme with being a huge part of his personal growth in the last three years.
“Volunteering is a passion of mine and something that I have done for a long time,” said the 23-year-old. “I started out at home in Hampshire supporting the local county FA – but being part of LFC Foundation’s programme has really enhanced my love for it.
“I first joined LFC Foundation in February 2018 and I’ve had some amazing experiences in that time. It’s been wonderful to not only feel like I’m helping others, but it’s really allowed me to develop my own skills and confidence.
“I have mild Asperger traits so sometimes that makes things a bit harder and I was very shy at first, but I have learned so many new skills that I can take back into university and my everyday life.
“Volunteering has been a vital part of me becoming more confident in a new city, enabling me to make new friends and forge new relationships; although that wasn’t my main reason at all for volunteering, it has been an extra benefit.
“I also feel that I have gained greater understanding of the community in Liverpool through working with the Foundation. Before coming to the city, I was aware of its rich cultures of football, music and industrial history, but my understanding of the wider community grew when I started volunteering with the Foundation.”
During his time with LFC Foundation, Brett has predominantly worked on the Open Goals project, assisting the coaches at the Stanley Park sessions and visiting local schools to teach pupils about the programme.
He has also been involved with numerous LFC Foundation events, including student volunteering recruitment, Winter Walkabouts and the annual Run for the 96, plus helping to sell LFC Foundation raffle tickets on a matchday.
On top of his volunteering commitments, Brett has been an LFC Foundation Youth Panel member since February last year, where he is part of a group of young people coming together to discuss potential new initiatives within the different communities of Liverpool.
He says both experiences have made a notable positive difference, not only to the people he has helped along the way but personally, too.
“As well as developing my confidence, I have expanded my mentality of ‘have a go’ and I have been given so many opportunities thanks to LFC Foundation, some of which have been challenging but all very rewarding. I have also been lucky enough to meet club legends and players, which was a total surprise but amazing as a lifelong LFC fan.
“The volunteering experiences I’ve had through the LFC Foundation over the last three years have been amazing. I’ve not only been able to immerse myself in a new community but also reinforce my long-held belief that the power of this club is beyond verbal description. LFC can stand for Liverpool Family Community equally as much as it does Liverpool Football Club.
“I really do enjoy helping to put smiles on the faces of the kids at the Open Goals sessions. It goes to show that whatever goes on in everyone’s lives, just being active and having fun can make you forget whatever stress you might be experiencing for a while. It’s infectious in both directions, it’s not just me seeing the smiles on their faces but it’s also like a snowball effect when they see you enjoying yourself, too.
“From a personal perspective, LFC Foundation has given me opportunities I could only dream of – I met Jamie Carragher at one of the Run For The 96 events in Stanley Park, as well as Sadio Mane when I was helping out during the visit of coaches from Malawi, and Dejan Lovren when I helped the coaches deliver Open Goals at a school.
“I was also invited to meet with former LFC CEO Peter Moore during his time at the club, and I was equally fortunate to have the opportunity to speak to Jürgen Klopp online for around 15 minutes during lockdown.
“As a massive fan of the club, these are moments I could only dream of. When you sign up to volunteer with LFC Foundation, you don’t do it for these things, but it’s a lovely bonus.”
Aside from these once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Brett has been formally recognised for his volunteering efforts with two special awards – LFC Foundation’s Volunteer of the Year 2019 and Outstanding Contribution Award 2020.
“It’s always nice to get an award for something positive that you’ve done, giving you confidence that you’re doing something right, but I don’t consider volunteering a competition.
“I’m just happy to help out where I can and feel like I’m making a difference. I couldn’t be more grateful to be able to be associated with LFC Foundation and the team – they make the whole experience enjoyable and an absolute pleasure and I hope I can continue this wonderful journey with these wonderful people for a long time to come.”
For more information on LFC Foundation’s volunteering opportunities, click here.