Protecting Queensland’s Community – and inspiring future rugby talent on Australia’s Gold Coast
- Born in Wales
- Gold Coast, Queensland
Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I’ve ended up over nine thousand miles away from the town I grew up in. My interests and passions have guided me through life. Rugby has always been a massive part of my identity, as has the community I find myself in. I work as a Centre Liaison Officer at Numinbah Correctional Centre, QCS’ low security centre for women in the Gold Coast Hinterland, an hour and a half drive away from Brisbane.
For the last Seventeen years, I’ve been involved with community projects and stakeholder engagement. One of the nicest things I’ve had said to me from the community work prisoners was how good they feel about working in the community. They feel worthwhile. I didn’t realise how much self-esteem is a problem for them; for being in jail and making the wrong decision. They really enjoy going out for a hard day’s work, working alongside volunteers paying back to the community.
Moving so far from home has been a mixed blessing for sure. The best thing has been the quality life with in a fantastic exciting place for myself and my children – and of course the worst thing is being so isolated from my family and friends.
It’s fair to say that since I left Wales 28 years ago, not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought about it. I’m a Neath-born boy – and I suppose a Neath boy I’ll stay!
I’m luckier than some in that I tend to come home every 2/3 years. My saving grace against any type of homesickness is the incredible rugby community I’ve found here in Australia on the Gold Coast. I’ve coached for long stints with grass roots rugby here in Australia - in New South Wales and Queensland to Premier Level and I’ve really enjoyed the sense of belonging it has given me. It really has given me a deeper understanding of the true love of the game and it’s still a big part of my life. I’m still excited when we kick off every season!
I’m now thrilled to be a part of the coaching team with Griffith University Knights Colleges Rugby Club on the Gold Coast. Being such a big part of the rugby community has allowed me to make lifelong friends. I’ve mentored so many players, it’s been a great life ride. I’ve developed as a coach and met a fantastic worldwide village since leaving the smaller village of Bryncoch in Neath, Wales.
I think some of Wales’ challenges at the moment are to promote a work-life balance for our people and help them find the tools they need to enjoy life – we need more employment to give everyone the chance to help themselves and help people access the health care and benefits for those who need it to live longer. And of course, we should have a sense of pride for being WELSH - home and away and wherever we are.
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