Jess Turner, Treasurer of Bournville’s women’s section, enjoyed a VIP trip to Twickenham as a finalist in the Honda Volunteer of the Year 2023 competition.

Although Jess missed out on the national award just making the final shortlist of 43 club volunteers was a major achievement in itself as there were more than 1,400 nominees from 500 clubs across England.

The finalists enjoyed an overnight stay at a hotel and a celebration dinner at which Jess sat next to Stourbridge-born former Wasps and England captain Sue Day, who is now the RFU Chief Financial Officer.

“We might not have won the final but hearing so many inspirational stories from the winners has given me more drive to not only benefit the women’s section but to help more girls get into the sport too in the future,” Jess said.

“I prefer to just get things done and stay under the radar. There are a lot of volunteers at Bournville who get unseen. So, this isn’t about just me, but everyone who helps out without a blink of an eye.

“I don’t play rugby myself but I’m always welcomed by our girls with happy faces and I’m fully included in socials too.

“So, when people ask why I help, it’s because of who they are. They make it easy for me to want to be involved.”

Despite her modesty, Bournville recognise and appreciate the immense contribution Jess has made to ensure that women’s section continues to flourish and grow.

She started fundraising for the section in small ways by running a raffle at each match and attending every club social event with a contribution jar in her hand.

Jess also started to produce branded products – including hoodies – to sell for a profit with the proceeds going to the section. She then negotiated a deal with a local brewery Attic Brew Co. to purchase eight replacements’ coats plus £500 cash in the bank.

She set about securing consent from MIND to promote the mental health charity on the women’s team kit and funded a new set of shirts anonymously.

Jess also applied for – and secured – a grant from Sport Birmingham for £1,800 to enable the women’s section to fund a taster session for new players and purchase branded tackle bags and shields.

She then negotiated a sponsorship deal for training t-shirts and post-match polo shirts with a local curry house and produced glossy colour posters and flyers for the players to distribute to promote the section within the local community.


[Photo credit: Lee Sullivan]

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