Mark is such a key part of our matchday team as he looks after our flagbearers and mascots and helps them create memories that last a lifetime.
The role includes meeting and greeting the children and parents, introducing our mascot to the first team players, as well as setting up the half time mini matches plus lots more! We chatted to Mark about why he volunteers with the Harrogate Town Community Foundation…
Why are you personally involved in matchday activities?
I have been involved with junior football in the Harrogate area for the last 18 years, as a coach of a junior team I was lucky enough to bring my teams to watch Harrogate on a number of seasons, going back quite a number of years now, those days were always a highlight for players and families alike. For me this is the ideal way to help ensure that many more teams get the chance to have those same experiences.
What impact does the matchday experience have on young people?
It's a great opportunity for the club to connect with the community and give young players a unique experience to share as a team. Some players may move onto other sports away from football as they get older, but being part of a team and the memories that creates will stay with them.
The young players usually bring family along with them to watch, so we have a perfect opportunity to encourage those groups to come back and support the club in the future, growing the fanbase for the club.
The company you work for supports community volunteering, how has this come about? Why do they support this? Are you encouraged to become involved?
My day job is working in IT for Lloyds Banking Group. They're really keen to encourage all staff to get involved supporting voluntary activities in their local communities, particularly as we resume following the periods of lockdown.
As part of that support, we have a charitable foundation for each home nation and that allows me to claim up to £500 per year in support of work undertaken for a registered charity such as the Community Foundation, based upon the number of hours I have provided.
Do you have a message for anyone else who might be considering volunteering on a matchday or within the community foundation?
What are you waiting for, just do it! Aside from the opportunity to support a really great cause or activity, you get chance to use your existing skills alongside developing yourself further. If you're still not sure, make an enquiry and come along to see what we do and whether it's for you.