Putting a best foot forward

15 November 2021 • Community

Donning a pair of boots and getting out on the pitch was the perfect volunteer community project for football fan, Tristan Katanica.

The goal of our Making The Difference programme is to help local communities access homes and housing. But we like to think out of the box, so our volunteers get involved with more than just fundraising, we get stuck into a variety of diverse projects – including football.

So when our charity partner, YMCA Trinity Group, said their football coaches needed help to set up the exercise for their residents in the centre of Cambridge, we were happy to lend a hand – and feet!

Our people work in pairs and help set up the exercise sessions by putting up goal posts and nets, take out and collect footballs, and generally help the YMCA coaches wherever needed.

Tristan came to the UK two years ago from Zagreb, Croatia and initially joined our repayments team in early 2020, before taking up a permanent role just over a year ago, in mortgage applications.

He has been playing football since he was a young boy and is an avid supporter of Dinamo Zagreb.

“I was really impressed that The Cambridge encourages us to get involved in community projects,” said Tristan. “And when I realised one of the projects was to do with football, I was especially keen to take part.”

As Tristan started his current role in lockdown, he hadn’t had the opportunity to meet many people in the organisation.

“This was perfect for getting to know new people, and also for giving something back to the community,” he said. “I was very glad to help and thankful to have this opportunity.

“I have also volunteered to paint, but this was especially enjoyable for me, as I have always loved and played football.

“I don’t suppose there are many organisations that would allow their people to take time out to do this sort of volunteering. Helping the YMCA’s young residents to enjoy time outdoors and get exercise is a valuable use of time and everyone appreciated it.”