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Nobby Woodcock picks up his Unsung Hero award from Sue Barker

By Nobby Woodcock
Winner of BBC Sport's Unsung Hero award

I was honoured by the BBC because of my work with grassroots football in Wales.

I set up a junior football club on the Bettws estate in Newport around 13 years ago.

The club's called Real Bettws, after Spanish side Real Betis!

To start off with there was just one team. Now there are eight sides ranging from Under-18 to Under-six level.

Winning the award was out of this world.

But it's not just about me. It's a close-knit community and there are lots of people who help me out.

Community spirit

There's an army of volunteers behind the scenes who help with everything from coaching to washing kits, organising fixtures and driving the team bus.

Off the pitch, we organise Christmas parties and fancy-dress parties for the kids too. So there's always lots going on.

When we started out, the council cleared a rubbish dump so that we had a pitch to play on.

Then, last year the community rallied round to raise 420,000 for new changing rooms.

That sums up the spirit of the people here.

Having a ball!

It's a lot of hard work and it can be pretty time-consuming, which I think is what puts a lot of people off. But it's all worth it, just to see the kids' faces.

Whether they score a goal or come off having lost, you know they'll turn up again next week because they've enjoyed it.

Teaching them to enjoy the game - that's the most important thing.

If the children are happy, I'm happy!

Get involved

There are lots of ways you can get involved.

Most clubs are crying out for volunteers and there's sure to be something you can do to help. Ask!

Don't let your child miss out. I believe you've got to give your kids every opportunity you can.

If they're into a sport and there's nothing on for them, why not think about starting up your own club?

Real Bettws came about because my son wanted to play football but didn't have a team.

There were lots of parents in the same situation and they persuaded me to start up a side.

Thousands of kids have benefited since then.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Knock on doors - you'd be surprised how many people are willing to chip in once word gets around.

And it's half the battle if you can get people behind you.

There's no way I'd have been able to achieve this without the help of the good people who live on the estate.

I get as much out of Bettws as I give.

Find out more from our Volunteer Opportunities page.


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I encourage my kids by joining in with them. They are too young to be involved in organised sport at school so we try and play during weekends. In terms of gentle prodding, mentioning peer group achievements always works.
- Martin Oliver, father of two

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