Joseph Rooney

Where are you from? (where were you born / brought up / etc) 

I’m from Sheffield, born and bred. I was brought up in the north side of Sheffield. 

What are your interests? 

I have always been a highly active person, with a passion for outdoor activities that allow me to burn off energy and have fun. From playing football for two local teams and climbing trees to riding bikes and exploring nature, I have always enjoyed being outside and being physically active. As an adult, my interests have remained largely the same, with a focus on competitive badminton, climbing (both trad and bouldering), paddleboarding, hiking, cycling (including commuting, mountain biking, and bike-packing), and any other activity that gets my heart racing. Alongside these hyperactive pursuits, I also enjoy reading, playing guitar, listening to music, and watching documentaries related to my outdoor interests. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out “The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young” – it’s an incredible documentary about an ultramarathon trail race in Tennessee that I absolutely love. 

As much general information / personal history as you are happy to provide. 

Describing myself is not my strongest suit, but much of my personal background can be seen through my interests, work experience, and education. As a resident of Sheffield, I am passionate about outdoor activities such as cycling and staying physically active. My educational background includes a BSc (Hons) in sports coaching and an MSc in Psychology and Education. Throughout my career, I have held various roles ranging from a retention agent at Virgin Media to a sales and bike technician at Decathlon UK. 

If there’s one thing I’d like others to know about me, it’s that I’m a friendly outdoors enthusiast from Sheffield who enjoys coffee, spending time in nature, and having a good laugh. Additionally, I am deeply committed and enthusiastic about promoting mental and physical wellness through community outreach and engagement. 

How did you hear about SC4A? 

My initial encounter with SC4A was a visual one, rather than through word of mouth. During my regular commute to play badminton, I would ride through Hillsborough Park and often catch sight of SC4A. This piqued my curiosity and left me wondering about the activities taking place in the park for the remainder of my commute. 

What motivated you to volunteer at SC4A? 

My love for cycling was the initial draw that led me to SC4A. When I first spotted the trikes, I felt an immediate desire to try them out. As I delved deeper into the organization and learned about their various initiatives, my decision to become a volunteer was solidified. 

How long did you volunteer with SC4A? 

I have been volunteering for SC4A for 1 year 10 months and counting. 

Were you supported your roles at SC4A? If so how? 

Absolutely! SC4A has been a tremendous source of support for me in a variety of ways. Not only have they provided me with assistance and guidance related to my volunteer duties, but they have also offered me support with my mental and physical well-being, as well as my day-to-day life. Additionally, SC4A has given me references for job prospects, a safe and open space to discuss any topic, and the opportunity to connect with others who share similar interests. They have also offered me a range of training and development opportunities, including the necessary tools and qualifications to become a paid session worker, such as obtaining a first aider at work certification. 

Can you describe the impact SC4A has had on you? 

It has had a massive impact on me 

  • I take immense pride in being a part of and advocating for SC4A and Disability Sheffield. 
  • Volunteering with SC4A has provided me with the opportunity to contribute to a community project that brings immense joy and benefits to all involved. 
  • One of the greatest pleasures of my volunteer work is seeing the joy and smiles on the faces of those who participate in our sessions. It’s an incredible feeling knowing that I helped create that happiness. 
  • My work with SC4A has opened up networking opportunities, allowing me to pursue a career in the cycling industry as a behavioral change officer for Cycling UK. 
  • Working with like-minded individuals who share my interests has been a motivating factor for me. It’s been an amazing experience meeting and collaborating with such incredible people and being able to share my passions with others. 

Joe working as behavioural change officer at Cycling UK at SC4A's 15th birthday event.

Any plans to cycle in the future? 

Oh for sure, I’ll be cycling for the rest of my life. 

Anything else to add? 

I could write a lengthy 15,000-word dissertation detailing my wonderful experiences with SC4A, but to keep it short and sweet, I’ll simply say that SC4A is an incredible project, and I am immensely grateful and honored to be a part of it. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to Tom and Rosemary, as well as to all the fantastic volunteers, ambassadors, and other individuals who have contributed to the creation and growth of SC4A and Disability Sheffield. Thank you all for your outstanding work and dedication! 

Message from SC4A team

Joe is a pleasure to work with. His enthusiasm and focus is obvious but this doesn’t blind him to learning new things. Joe’s job at Cycling UK has meant he can’t volunteer regularly on a week day any more but he has been working for us as a Session worker once a month doing our Saturday cycling sessions, and he is still involved as much as he can be.

Having Joe working at Cycling UK means we have great links with the Sheffield team. They bring down new staff members to see our trikes and meet our cyclists, this helps them have a wider picture of who can cycle given the right environment.