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  • Alex Mills

Sporting Chance has been on the road!

Last week the Sporting Chance Education team travelled across the country hosting three different days aimed at identifying talented education facilitators who can help us to expand our athlete-facing programmes.

First up was the Northern leg held in the Hall of Fame Suite at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, home of Rugby League side Warrington Wolves. A day later we moved on to the Midlands and the Corner Flag facility at Villa Park (Aston Villa FC) before travelling down to London and the new Premier League offices in Paddington. All three venues were superb and excellently kitted out for our training days. We’re extremely grateful to these organisations for hosting us. Being able to turn to them for practical support when putting on events such as these is testament to the relationships we’ve developed with various clubs and stakeholders over the years.

When we first put out the ‘call to arms’ for new facilitators we really weren’t sure what kind of response to expect, however, all three days were really well attended (and not even a London-wide transport strike could stop people). Across the three days we met with over 45 potential new facilitators from a range of backgrounds, both sporting and non-sporting, all of whom were passionate about promoting mental health within sport and many having some previous connection with Sporting Chance, either as a former client, or having known a former client or as a professional working within the sector.

The day consisted of an introduction to Sporting Chance as a charity and the work that we do more generally, as well as within the education department more specifically. We then tasked all attendees with working in small groups to create and deliver their own mini, 10-minute education session and were completely blown away by some of the sessions that were delivered (especially given the somewhat artificial nature of the setup and the environment!)

It really demonstrated that bringing a broad range of people on board will allow Sporting Chance to deliver the best possible education across a wider range of topics and audiences. When the Education Department was first established it was very much a football and addiction focused programme. Fast-forward 18 years and we are delivering contracted programmes to more than 10 sports and ad-hoc sessions to many more, on any topic relating to mental health, from disordered eating to athletic identity.

‘It was a hugely satisfying week, something we’d started to plan in the Spring and that, from our point of view, has been worth every minute we’ve put into it’ said Sporting Chance’s Head of Education, Alex Mills.

‘The amount of people willing to give up their time - and on the last of the days, walk half way across London in some cases - just to find out more about what we do and also to show us what they themselves can do, as someone who has worked in the Education Department for a number of years, I’m genuinely flattered by the response we received and the calibre of people involved.’

‘We’ve seen some really good people over the course of the week, not all of those will move across into the delivery team, the volume of interest makes that impractical for us unfortunately, but we’ve met lots of new faces and also some more familiar faces from over the years and we’ve had the space and time to hear about their experiences and ideas in this arena. For this department, in terms of helping us meet the challenge that lies ahead, the whole process has been a huge boost for us at a critical time.’

It’s safe to say that the future of Sporting Chance Education will be in very safe hands.


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