Levelling Up: Community Hero

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Having members of your MAN v FAT club willing to drive the value of community will be crucial to building a supportive network among your guys.

For this case study, we head to Wales to speak to Dave Hughes. Dave was chosen as MAN v FAT’s Community Hero in 2023, for his role at MAN v FAT Bridgend.

Why is community so important at your club?
The beauty with having a diverse group at Bridgend is that there’s always someone who has a cause close to their heart. It’s just natural that when you get talking to the people around you and hear their reasons for supporting a particular charity or group, you want to get behind it too.

What do you believe were the key steps in building the community at Bridgend?
The main thing is involve everyone. Some people have quieter voices than others, but it doesn’t mean theirs should be heard any less. Quinny our coach has created an environment where everyone has a chance to speak, whether in the main group or private conversation.

Once people see their opinion and input matters, it shows others less confident that they too will be heard.

How did you get the community at your club to buy into coming along to events?
This was the easiest part. The second I mentioned the first fundraiser and collection, everyone was on board. Nobody needed convincing because giving back seemed to come really naturally to our boys.

Then you just take advantage of their competitive nature and pit them against each other.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get more involved in their MAN v FAT community?
Find causes that matter to your group. I’m not saying the big charities don’t need help, but quite often, the small charities get overlooked and they tend to be the ones doing the hardest work in your area.

Then, after that, it’s simple. Just get stuck in. The more people you can involve, the better.

Also, it doesn’t always have to be money. We’ve collected toys and Easter gifts for children’s hospitals, food for shelters and food banks.

What did it feel like being named the MAN v FAT 2023 Community Hero?
I said all along, the nomination felt amazing on its own and I never in a million years thought Bridgend would win it as we’re such a small (but mighty) group in comparison to some of our other clubs.

When my name was called I just remember the boys I attended with jumping all over me as I got emotional.

It’s important to say that I do believe individual names should be avoided for this award because it was a whole club at Bridgend that created such a storm, not just one person.

Why do you think the lads at Bridgend voted for you as their Community Hero?
I think it’s mainly because I’m the loudest. Everyone donates, contributes, helps and supports however they can. But you always need one idiot at the front who can voice and organise it.

I am that idiot.


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