National Volunteers Week: Elaine Davis, From the Big Bank to the Boardroom

To celebrate National Volunteers Week 2017, we’ll be featuring just a small number of our volunteers on our website.  We’ve asked them to describe the roles they undertake, what they enjoy and what they would say to encourage others to get involved.

Today we feature Elaine Davis.  Elaine, a Trust Board member and Club Board member spoke to us about her journey as a volunteer from the Big Bank to the Boardroom.

Elaine Davis

Elaine Davis

Elaine, a regular on the Big Bank from 2001, first volunteered in the summer of 2003. She explains: “My daughter one of the first to respond to the call for volunteers to work on the stadium during the summer after Russell & Lewis. So I went along too, with my husband Clive, and we all helped with the stadium works.  This included painting barriers, cleaning and painting the changing rooms and showers.  This soon developed into regular work parties, with Dacre Holloway, the volunteer stadium manager, organising these both at the Park and the Cat & Fiddle training ground.”  Asked if there were any particularly memorable days from the work parties, Elaine fondly recalls the amount of volunteer effort that was required to remove some green flooring from the corridor in the main pavilion. “It took a lot of volunteers a lot of time, in the summer heat to scrape this awful felt-like carpet that had been glued to the floor. But as hard work as it was, we were making a difference and improving the facilities for the team.”

Elaine with the generous donations from City fans after she organised a collection for Exeter Food Bank

Elaine with the generous donations from City fans after she organised a collection for Exeter Food Bank

As well as being Stadium manager, Dacre Holloway also ran Grecian Goal, a fundraising activity.  When he sadly passed away, Elaine agreed to keep it going.  “Dacre had done so much for the club, I was inspired by him to keep Grecian Goal running.  People are so generous with their pledges – which can vary from goals scored to whether Tis wears a hat and we’ve raised thousands of pounds to invest in projects or equipment for the club.”

It was thanks to the fundraising efforts of Grecian Goal that Elaine was approached by the Supporters’ Trust Board and asked if she would like to be co-opted with a remit to organise the ‘Light Up the Park’ campaign.  “The fans really embraced Light Up the Park and we raised a total of £12,200 allowing the Club to not only purchase and install the lights but also allow some to be save for future maintenance.”  Elaine spent two years as Co-opted Trustee before successfully standing for election.  She has now completed four years in total.  For three of those she has been elected to the Club Board by her Trust Board colleagues.

Asked what sort of tasks she now undertakes, Elaine replied: “There are so many!  On a match day I am often in the Boardroom hosting the Trust’s Director for the Day and visiting directors.  As a Club Board member, I have had focus on hospitality at the Club and improving facilities for fans and customers who hire our meeting rooms during the week.  Every Monday after a home match we have a post-match review of hospitality so that we acknowledge what worked well and what we could improve on.”

Has there been anything she’s done that particularly stands out since she joined the Trust and Club Boards? “I took the lead on organising the first ever Supporter Sponsored match, which was against Burton in December 2014. We raised over £3700 which was just fantastic and over the combined cost of the match and ball sponsorship. The fans got right behind it and I remember being on the Trust stall and people queuing to donate their £5 to the cause.  It was so successful we did it again the following year and we again raised over £3000 to sponsor the match v. AFC Wimbledon.”

As someone who has been volunteering for some time, how would Elaine encourage someone who has not volunteered before to get involved?  “I say just give it a go!  You will be welcomed and find yourself surrounded by like-minded people – City fans!  There are many opportunities and they can be matched to your skills.  The work parties at the stadium are great fun, often including a pasty and a cup of tea!  When I speak to visiting Directors on match days they can’t believe how many volunteers we have who continue to give their time year on year.  It really does set us apart.”

Indeed it does, a Club where a supporter on the Big Bank can find themselves as an equal in the Boardroom.

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