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Home / News / Interview / Club Volunteer Lands New Role

Club Volunteer Lands New Role

Club Volunteer Lands New Role

Margate Football Club is home to hundreds of players and parents, all of whom call Hartsdown Park a home to play football, make friends and feel part of a special community of people.

At the heart of this community is a group of dedicated volunteers who give up their time to make HDP a special and enjoyable place to be.

One such volunteer who benefited from the warm welcome offered by the club and now - in turn - gives back, is FA Level Two Coach, Dan Burke.

Dan is a stellar example of how a small opportunity can lead to unimaginable progress both personally and professionally. Having joined Margate three years ago, Dan is now a fully-qualified coach who has found football offers so much more than he initially thought.

Dan revealed, “I first got involved with Margate FC three years ago. A friend of mine Kevin Gardiner was running the Under 16s, so I came over to help him initially and ended up staying for a few months.”

“From there I took over the team the following season. Margate paid for my Level One, Safeguarding and other bits and pieces which I completed in-house here.”

“Since doing that I’ve done a Level Two but it all came about via a friend call Dan Fagg who coached here and he’d always talk to me about his coaching so I said I would come along to find out what it was all about.”

Dan added, “It’s never something I said I wanted to do but just fell in love with it and stuck with it.”

And whilst new qualifications are extremely valuable, Dan admits the greatest reward comes from the sense of affiliation and belonging to the club. 

“I think the biggest thing was the feel of having a team. The spirit and community feel that Hartsdown Park gave everyone, it was like having a huge family suddenly.”

“My parents run a pub in Margate so I know a lot of people but it was always based around that. I’ve gone from that to all of a sudden having this enormous family, where there’s coaches here and people around the place – nice, good people – who make it a great place to be.”

Dan’s contribution to Margate has manufactured a platform that means he can now carve a career in the game he loves.

“I’ve just kept going with the coaching and trying new things and I recently saw a job come up at the Charlton Community Trust.”

“I’ve always been a Charlton fan and I love what they do within the community. Their programme with the Upbeats and the work Paul Robinson, who is already here at Margate does, with large crime areas is something I have always wanted to be involved with.” 

“So, I applied for the job and got offered a role. It has changed everything. I’ve gone from working in the pub my family own to working within football and looking like I’ve got the prospect to keep going and better myself.”

Dan added, “I’ll be working in and out of schools, at half term schools, in and out of the community and it’s a lot more than just football. I’ll get to work with kids who are deprived and cannot afford football; to working within the Under 18s and Under 23s which to me is a dream.”

Dan also gave insight into the dynamic between other coaches at Margate which has fostered a supportive environment.

“I’ve always loved football. Once I did my Level Two in December, I felt a lot more confident. There are coaches here like Scott, Sean, Dan, James Fellows and Howard who have really helped me along the way.”

“We bounce ideas off of each and my coaching has gone from being standard and thrown together to something I now deliver and am really confident in what I do. I get praise from parents and my FA Mentor Simon Millington who has observed my sessions and been pleased with what I do.”

“ I went from never wanting to do it because I wasn’t very confident to knowing I can and it has built a career for me.”

And it is not only the coaches who can benefit. Young footballers too are offered the chance to develop as players, and people, as Dan explains.

“My under 8s started as a group of nervous footballers lacking confidence going into the big world of football. They had all started at the club’s Saturday Soccer School – which for what the club charge is amazing; and it is there they grew their love of football.”

“We get between 60-70 young players turn up every week with a core of volunteer coaches who are there every week and they give a lot.”

“If you had said to me about being a volunteer three years ago, I’d have asked why and not been interested. Now, I’m the person who recommends to everyone to come over to Margate and volunteer as it is great to be involved with.”

Dan reserved his final word to be one of encouragement, to anyone thinking about joining Margate – whether as a player or volunteer – and be part of something growing from strength to strength.

“Get involved, speak to someone and join us. I can’t give enough credit to Margate for the way they have invested in me and stuck with me as like I say when I started I wasn’t sure, didn’t really know what I was doing and I think that is where we stop ourselves from volunteering.”

“I think we can sometimes be worried we are going to be laughed at by other people but when I came in, I was helped along. The kids that I see come here and develop is incredible. I’ve seen players start not really knowing or maybe even liking football to coming week in, week out, proud to wear the badge, meet their friends and be part of a team.”

“Players become the best of friends, parents become friends and we offer a community to people which they didn’t have. The little things to us which our nothing mean the world to our players and parents.”

If you’d like to get involved with Margate FC and Margate Youth please click here to contact us.





Tuesday, 30 April 2019
By Charlotte Richardson



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