As part of #TrusteesWeek we are shining a light on our amazing trustees to raise awareness to the wider #GoalballFamily. Second up is Dyfrig Lewis-Smith…
For those who may not know you, tell us a bit about yourself:
I, like many others first discovered goalball after watching it live at the London 2012 Paralympics. Cambridge Dons Goalball Club hosted a session soon after the Paralympics which I attended. This was mine and Sarah Leiter’s, a proud member of the GB Women’s squad’s first session! Before finding goalball, I was not a very sporty person. Goalball was unlike any other sports I have tried like football and cricket. I attended a mainstream school and therefore was not used to adapted sport for my visual impairment. This is what made goalball so enjoyable to me! I have since found a sense of confidence for sport and physical activity that was not around for me before. The skills I have found in goalball I have transferred to everyday life, so it has been amazing for me on a personal level away as well as the goalball court.
How did you become a trustee of Goalball UK?
The Goalball UK Board was looking to expand in 2014 and was hoping to do so by appointing individuals to provide a fresh perspective. With my background as a public sector solicitor as well as experience in playing goalball I was a good fit for the role. It has been fascinating to work with the rest of the board who have a wealth of experience in their respective fields!
What was it like playing goalball and now on the board?
It has been interesting to say the least and it has widened my knowledge of goalball immensely. As a player, I competed at Novice level for Cambridge Dons and Lancashire Lions after moving up north. Joining the Goalball UK Board hammered home how much work the staff and wider goalball family put in to making goalball happens at any level. There may be 6 players on court but behind that you need 12 people and potentially more to make that single game or event happen. Joining the Board has given me a greater appreciation for this immense effort for sure!
What are you doing outside of your role as a trustee?
I am a public sector solicitor and have been qualified since the 1990’s, which feels like ages ago now! Something I have been thankful for working in this sector is that my colleagues have always supported me in making my role accessible, which I would love to see more sectors do.
Among my various jobs was one with The Law Society. I was involved in joining in legal arguments or supplying information to cases aimed at improving the legal system. For example, I was involved in a challenge to the government in regarding the rules for legal aid for domestic violence victims. This thankfully resulted in widening the scope of who can receive legal aid. At the moment I work for Greater Manchester Pension Fund, giving legal advice on its work of investing and administering the Local Government Pension Scheme in the region. Outside my legal work, I have about ten audiobooks on the go at any one time, and compose terrible music with Garage Band…
Ambitions for the future of goalball in the UK
My ambitions for the future of goalball are:
- Increase participation across the board to show we are one of the most inclusive sports around.
- For a GB Team to reach the Paralympics for them to have that amazing experience in attending such an event.
- I would love goalball to become more visible (no pun intended). to the world outside. We are not a sport that is adapted like other VI sports which is what makes goalball so special!
Thank you to both Dyfrig and Alison for catching up with us as part of #TrusteesWeek! To find out who else is a trustee of Goalball UK follow this link to our website to ‘Meet the Board’.