Getting the Community Active

Billie-Jo Irwin is Active Communities Project & Monitoring Officer for Omagh District Council. In this interview Billie-Jo outlines her role and how shes manages and co-ordinates the Active Communities coaches in Omagh.
 Tell us about your role within Active Communities?
 I am currently employed as Active Communities Project & Monitoring Officer for Omagh District Council and roll out the programme for the Omagh & Fermanagh Consortium. This role involves co-ordinating and promoting coaching staff and work programmes, developing effective partnerships, monitoring key performance indicators in relation to targets set by Sport NI and providing both financial and operational reports to relevant stakeholders/committees.  Every day is different in this job, which makes the role interesting.
 What is your own sporting background? 
My interests in sport mainly focused on Hockey and Horse Riding. Playing hockey throughout school, University and locally for Omagh Ladies Hockey Club, but have now hung up the stick and spend my spare time assisting my husband in our new venture of horse racing.  I have had a keen interest in horses from a young age and competed in the showjumping circuits as a junior.  Before ambitiously purchasing a Point to Point Race Horse, of which a hobby developed onto an obsession.  My husband now trains another horse for a friend and local breeder, with less hands on support from me as we are expecting our first child in March.  However i plan to get back in the saddle on a leisurely basis.
Whats your philosophy on coaching?
As the glorified pen pusher of Active Communities Programme, coaching has been a role i have taken a step back from.  However when actively coaching my philosophy was to be a positive role model and implement safety and fun, as this was relevant to the age groups i enjoyed coaching.  I always felt if this approach was at the for-front of your session, young athlete are going to gain confidence and flourish more effectively, even if its merely just continuing to participate in a particular sport.  I believe at the fundamental / Learning to play stages of athlete development, positive promotion of your sport is vital, so talented players stay on the participation ladder.