National Volunteers’ Week 2021: Meet the teenager who’s channeling ADHD to help others
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For this year’s National Volunteer Week, we caught up with a young aspiring player, coach and volunteer who has helped transform the lives of others.
Noah Burton, 19, from West Worthing Tennis Club, West Sussex, first started playing tennis at the age of seven, having been introduced to the sport by someone in his village.
His love and passion for the game has grown immensely over the years and has led to him taking the opportunity to play at college in America.
Noah has become a focal point at his club – volunteering his services to coach tennis groups of all abilities and teach fitness sessions too.
“My little sister plays at county and I would often go along to help and support her,” Noah said.
“One day I turned up and one of the coaches, Keith Bullock, asked me to come on court and help with the kids and the squads.
“From there he then invited me to help with the U12s and U11s Sussex county team and I ended up coaching them for an entire week, which was really fun.
“I’ll happily hit with anyone if they just want to play or do some work – they just have to give me a ring and I’ll be down there for a couple of hours.
“I just enjoy playing tennis. I want to help them as players and give them advice.”
Noah is diagnosed with ADHD, which can often leave him restless and can make it difficult to concentrate. Although it’s a big part of his life, Noah has learnt to use it to his advantage.
“It’s definitely had a big impact on me,” he said. “When it comes to concentrating on work it affects me, but has an even bigger impact when it comes to tennis – having to concentrate on playing the match and not focusing too much on someone else can be difficult.
“It makes you have to work harder than most others but I think having it gives me a bit of an edge.”
Someone who knows Noah particularly well is Tom Pocock, his coach at West Worthing. They first met 10 years ago and in that time Tom has seen his student go on to represent the clubs men’s teams and supported him with his coaching qualifications.
“He has a fantastic attitude and I think he’ll get on well at college,” Tom said. “I can see him taking his infectious enthusiasm to help him continue his coaching. He could definitely go down that route if he wanted.
“Volunteers are hugely important at West Worthing, everything that happens here is because of volunteers.
“Over lockdown that was especially the case, as a number of staff members ended up on furlough. It was down to their incredible work that we were able to pick up where things left off when tennis returned.”
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Noah knew he had to do something to help keep others active and stay fit while at home, so he began posting videos on social media – which attracted some attention from a certain British Grand Slam champion!
“I saw Jamie Murray posted some fitness routines on social media and my mum and I decided we wanted to get involved,” he said.
“He actually liked and re-posted one of the videos we put up – I remember my Mum coming in to my room to tell me and I just started grinning like a Cheshire cat.
“In lockdown I think a lot of people stopped doing fitness but I felt it was important to keep going and do something for the club.”
Not only was he supporting players through his fitness content online, but he was also involved with helping with the refurbishment of his local community centre.
Volunteering has helped open new opportunities for Noah and he believes everyone can stand to benefit from giving back and supporting others.
“My advice would be definitely give volunteering a shot,” he said. “You’ll feel great satisfaction from seeing players and people grow from what you’re teaching or helping them with.
“Ask your coaches and other people if they need help with anything, even if you don’t know them – it’s all about getting out there and helping people.”
Want to get involved in volunteering near you? Find out more.