Football Queensland is delighted to announce Rebecca Ashelford as Volunteer of the Year as part of the 2022 Female Football Week Awards.
Described as having “a combination of determination, energy and positive attitude”, Ashelford was nominated for her significant contributions as Club Secretary for Toowong FC.
“It is wonderful to know that my contributions are appreciated. It’s also great to see the impact that women are having in this space,” Ashelford said.
“I’ve been involved with football since I was six, and I’ve had so many wonderful formative experiences from that, it’s been really important for me to be able to give back and help others create their own positive associations with the game.”
While Ashelford is officially known as Club Secretary, her volunteering efforts often go beyond the role significantly, with her active involvement in recruitment of volunteers as well as being a player herself.
“My enthusiasm for the club is contagious, and I’ve always been very quick to ask for help and thank people for their contributions,” she said.
“I’ve found so many members get a taste for volunteering by helping out at a working bee, or running a quick repair and come back for more.
“I know all the players on the women’s teams (some for over ten years), so I’m able to find tasks and responsibilities that suit their skills and interest. Also, nothing bonds teams together quicker than putting together a grandstand from scratch, or cleaning mud out of 200 metres of field drains.”
When she first started her role in 2020, Ashelford was instrumental in navigating Toowong through the COVID-19 pandemic with her communication and coordination efforts.
“I’ve got a professional background in records and information management/compliance, as well as a journalism degree, so I was the perfect fit,” she said.
“The COVID pandemic also really highlighted the value of all the unpaid labour done, particularly by women, that keeps our society functioning. A lot of us stepped up at home and in a volunteer capacity where we could, which was demonstrated across sporting clubs throughout the country.”
Following the flood disaster that impacted the SEQ region at the beginning of 2022, Ashelford also led and organised the club’s damage recovery effort.
“Given how overwhelming the impacts of the flooding were on the club and surrounding homes and businesses, I felt a very strong obligation to do everything I could to get our members safely back on the field,” Ashelford said.
“I put my administrative and organisational skills to good use so we could take full advantage of the amazing support that was offered from club members, all levels of government, local businesses and members of the wider football family.”
Ashelford encouraged others to get involved and help their club out in any way possible.
“A lot of us assume we can’t offer anything to our clubs and committees in comparison to so many of the accomplished and impressive volunteers that are out in the football world already, but I can guarantee that every volunteer can make a tangible difference,” she said.
“Figure out what you like doing and how that might help your club and get started. Even if that’s just picking up rubbish where you see it and helping put the goals away after your game – it all helps.”
Football Queensland’s final Female Football Week Award, Female Club of the Year, will be announced tomorrow as Female Football Week celebrations draw to a close.