Case Study: Highlighting the City's hidden volunteers - Troy Woodhouse

Unity through Sport

Troy Woodhouse co-founded Unity through Sport – a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising funds through sport for people less fortunate.

By RACHAEL DODD - Herald Reporter

During this Volunteer Week, Our Plymouth is highlighting volunteers in Plymouth who give their time to a variety of good causes.

Troy Woodhouse co-founded Unity through Sport – a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising funds through sport for people less fortunate. “We officially started in February, but prior to that we had been doing other things for a year and a half,” he said.

“We use sport, primarily basketball and netball, to raise money for charities. “But we don’t just have the tournament and then present them with the money. “We first raised money for Brain Tumour Research and we put together a team of people who had been affected by brain tumours. We trained them for eight weeks and then we had a celebration on the ninth week.”


Troy, a graphic designer, estimates £9,000 was raised at the first tournament. Marie Curie has since benefited and Street Factory are next on the list. “It’s a really good laugh ,” Troy said. “It’s often a horrible subject matter, but you try and turn it into a positive with the fundraising.” Troy created Unity Through Sport (UTS) with Ben Byrne, a decorator by trade, and was later joined by nurse Maddy Doyle when UTS became a community interest company. All three commit all the free time they have to UTS in their spare time. Fundraising through playing sport “It’s hard to juggle the two, we’ve always said the job has to come first,” Troy said. “We love to help people and we call ourselves a Unity family – you never have to ask anyone twice to help you. “Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things there is. You’re helping to make a difference to someone. The people we volunteer with are some of the nicest people there are. “We don’t pay them, but we reward them with a wrap party after a tournament and we make sure to praise them for what they do.” Our Plymouth have nothing but admiration for Troy and the UTS team. In particular the way they are creating opportunities, campaigning and inspiring active citizenship.

According to the Institute of Fundraising, more than 21 million people formally volunteer in the UK at least once a year. This figure doesn’t include so many good deeds that are done for no payment on a more informal basis such as helping a neighbour with their gardening or shopping, driving the kids football team to a game or even washing the kit after the match. All these things count as volunteering, and yet often go unrecorded. Have a think about some of the things you do regularly that you might not have thought of as volunteering.

If you’d like to get involved or would like more information, contact us here