Life Chances is transforming the lives of Oxfordshire’s young people: David’s story
Posted: Wed, 3 Nov 2021 11:13
Life Chances is transforming the lives of Oxfordshire's young people: David's story
"We truly believe that fitness can have a transformative effect on the lives of young people"
Active Oxfordshire is delighted to be working with Oxfordshire Youth and Oxford City Council on Life Chances, a programme that supports young people facing disadvantage to improve their lives through the power of physical activity. In this new blog, one of the coaches from the incredible The Project PT tells us about the difference that their Life Chances funded project is making to young people's lives.
This is David's story:
Recently, as part of our Youth Outreach Programme LiFT Youth, I had the privilege of working with a young man called David. This course ran for six weeks and involved the whole team at Project PT working with a group of 16-year-olds to teach them about anatomy, coaching, exercise and interpersonal skills, all designed to help them find engaging and meaningful work experience at the end. This course was also CIMSPA accredited, so that by completing it they would gain not only valuable skills, but also get a foot on the professional ladder.
When I first met David, he was very quiet and reticent. David has various learning difficulties, which affect his fact retention and contributed to his shyness. It would be several weeks before we could consistently get more than a few sentences from him, and even then, this would require coaxing and encouragement. But as the course progressed, and the other boys gained in confidence, so did David. Seeing him slowly come out of his shell, retaining information and improving his skills was a wonderful experience. Eventually, he completed the course, passing with flying colours, and was awarded his CIMSPA accredited certificate.
After discussions with David's parents, we agreed to take him on board for work experience at our High Street Movement Studio. David was a huge asset during his time with us, assisting with preparing the studio for sessions, helping me run boxing sessions and participating in promotional efforts for upcoming events. I got to spend more time with David one to one and we began to have longer, more detailed conversations – for the teenager who hardly said a word at the beginning to be chatting away about TV, friendships groups and his new bike was amazing progress. As well as this work experience, Project PT provided funding and space for him to continue his fitness journey throughout the holidays. We truly believe that fitness can have a transformative effect on the lives of young people and David has been a prime example of this.
As of today, David has found full time employment and is considering his options for further education. It would be arrogant and wrong of me to try and take sole credit for this brilliant outcome – David's supportive parents, and his own determination to learn and grow were also massively influential. However, for me to have had a small part in directing this bright, kind young man's life has been a profound experience for me, and a highlight of my career to date. To have the chance to help the next generation is both a great honour and a great responsibility, and I will continue to try my best to live up to it.
*David's name has been changed.