In 2016 we reached a total of 8,639 beneficiaries by supporting 169 community clubs across the UK.

Behind this number lie the incredible stories of young lives changed for good, through the extraordinary power of sport.


Natasha's Story - volunteer at Pedro Youth Club

Natasha Patterson, a community volunteer at Pedro Youth Club is far from a regular volunteer; more of a local superhero!

Based in the local authority of Hackney, the second most deprived local authority based on average ranking, in the country (2015), Natasha has witnessed many changes over the 11 years she has been a resident.

“I have seen increased gentrification in our community, this has led to less gang violence although is still a massive problem near me”.

This local insight empowers Natasha to continue her fantastic work at Pedro, working with hard to reach local people and getting them in the gym and boxing. Natasha is a firm believer in community, stating that it is one of her “favourite things about the area, people look out for each other”, and this is paramount to her work at Pedro. Natasha coaches boxing to all age, all ability classes looking to increase the welfare of the participants, offering a space where they feel included no matter their background. 

  

Better Futures have supported Natasha in enrolling on appropriate courses to help her develop as a boxing coach. These qualifications have allowed her to open fitness based Boxercise classes for women only, to empower women who usually wouldn't even think about attending the local boxing gym. 

Moreover, during the school week, Natasha coaches a value-based “BoxClever” class, designed in partnership with Access Sport's Better Futures team, a prevention scheme looking at the most “at risk” young people and teaching them the importance of respect and other values used in boxing.

"Better Futures have taught me the importance of measuring what we do in these classes, I never really thought about these things before the team came along".

Moussa's Story 

When Moussa, 13, initially moved to the UK from Ivory Coast he spoke very little English; aware that his "spelling and reading were at a low level", school was often difficult and it proved challenging to engage him.

Now, Moussa is part of the BMX Clever group - a series of sessions that use BMX to teach core values including respect (self & other), focus, cooperation, and confidence. The sessions are specifically designed to develop hard to reach young people like Moussa, and he has responded fantastically! 

Attending every week without fail, we have seen a tremendous change in Moussa. A very polite young man, showing respect to his peers and staff alike, he is now a role model for fellow students who struggle with school. Not bad on a bike either, Moussa was a brilliant competitor at the BMX School Games in November, winning the overall sportsmanship award - a true testament to the fantastic progress Moussa has made!



 Cameron's story

Young people with disabilities are too often isolated, excluded from the physical and social benefits of sport and pushed to the fringes of society.

  • 70% of (disabled) teenagers cannot attend a youth club
  • 72% of disabled people in England take part in no sport or physical activity

With the support of Access Sport’s Ignite Programme, the Frenchay Falcon’s cricket club is able to empower local disabled young people through sport, and in one little boy’s case achieve as much off the pitch as on.

Cameron Edwards was an energetic and happy boy, until his right arm was amputated below the elbow.

Consequently he suffered both mental and physical bullying, affecting his wellbeing and studies to such a degree he had to stay back a year, and his confidence was destroyed.

Enrolling at the Frenchay Falcon’s Cricket Club, he channeled this negativity into something positive. Playing cricket gave him the confidence to change school, make new friends, join more teams and with his new drive and motivation, he has now caught up academically.

This year Cameron received the ‘Bowler of the year’ award, as well as the Philip Bush award for ‘endeavour’, which recognises achievement through adversity.

 

“Thank you for making Cameron happy again” - Cameron's Mother



Toms' story 

Tom is a 20 year young man. Growing up, Tom spent much of his childhood in the countryside riding bikes and climbing trees.

Aged 12, Tom suffered a break to his leg, later discovering a tumor growing in his leg which could become life threatening without amputation.

Aged 13, Tom became an amputee...this was when he found his real passion for sport. 

For many years Tom coped well with his disability; but in May 2016 he began to experience anxiety for the first time since his amputation, stopping him from doing many things he wanted to. In September of last year Tom recognised that he was not in good physical shape and decided that his disability was not going to get the better of him. That same month Tom attended the Bristol Inclusive Climbing Festival, supported and developed by Access Sport and other partners. Tom had an amazing day, receiving a one to one two-hour session with one of the inspirational volunteers. And with that, Tom was 'absolutely hooked', returning every week to the sport he says has changed his life. 

Tom loves the freedom and the increased level of confidence that he gains when bouldering, putting down his crutches and making his way round the course independently. 

Perhaps the most significant impact has been on Tom's mental wellbeing. Climbing has given him something to focus on and he thrives off the personal challenge when faced with tackling the various courses. Equally the club provides a fantastic social atmosphere, when Tom first started climbing, others would "jump up and do it with one leg and show we how to do it".

In the past month, Tom has also started volunteering weekly at the iDID climbing session, supported by Access Sport's Ignite Programme. Tom is a fantastic role model for other young people and a brilliant Ambassador for Access Sport.