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arrow pointing leftBack 13 April 23 - by Abi Curran

The young volunteer awarded for driving squash inclusion across Sheffield

England Squash CEO with Young Volunteer of the Year winner Abigail Wright
A Level student Abigail Wright has been recognised for her selfless voluntary work at Abbeydale Squash Club as she balances coaching with her studies.

England Squash’s Young Volunteer of the Year started playing the sport when she was just eight years old after the junior programme at Abbeydale was recommended to her parents by a friend.

And nine years later, she is an integral part of the same programme she started out with while also running other inclusion initiatives.

“Funnily enough, I started volunteering as part of my DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) Award,” She said. “I was just helping out at the sessions next to mine.

“I very quickly realised how much I loved coaching, so I got more and more involved in the club.

“Since then, I’ve been part of Squash Stars and Squash from the Mosque. I saw how valuable volunteers like me were to these programmes and the difference I could make.

Squash Stars is a participation programme aimed at teaching the fundamentals of the game to five to nine year-olds while Squash from the Mosque encourages people from Muslim backgrounds to take part in the sport.

“I’m ecstatic to say we’ve had great uptake in our programmes. We’ve had multiple rotations of Squash Stars that have all been fully booked and some have been integrated into our regular junior sessions.”

“I’m most proud of our work with Squash from the Mosque as we had young girls and women of all ages joining our sessions. Even a dad came to play once!”

The Sheffield-based club is renowned for its inclusion and diversity programmes which make the sport accessible to communities across the city.

And, despite the challenges of her busy schedule, the 17-year-old hopes to continue her work in the future.

“It’s very difficult to balance everything but I always try and give squash a portion of my time.

“Playing really helps me to relieve stress from school and I love the community that we have at Abbeydale so coming to squash is never a chore.

“I’m really passionate about continuing our work, especially trying to get more women and girls into the sport.

“Hopefully, in 2024 I’ll be going to university and I absolutely want to continue my work wherever I end up – I’m planning to study physics but squash will always be a part of my life.”

Since starting volunteering, Abigail has made a real difference within her community and has seen the benefits of giving back to the club where her love for squash started.

“I saw how valuable volunteers like me were to these programmes. Coaches will know how rewarding it is when you see someone else’s development through your own instruction.

“Some players would never have tried this sport if it weren’t for Abbeydale – it’s so encouraging when you see others find joy in squash.”

Find out more about the awards.