Barnsley FC Helping Hashim Show How Disability is not a barrier to Success

Hashim is furthering his education and improving his employment prospects through his Football Club. Hashim also has a goal to help others enjoy the benefits of sport. Hashim is studying for a Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development with Barnsley FC’s charity, Reds in the Community.

Hashim has been deaf all his life having contracted an ear infection at just a few months old. But, for him it is not something that negatively impacts his life, a mindset he wants to pass onto others.

Operating through the University of South Wales (USW), the two-year degree course is run in partnership with the EFL Trust in order to develop the required skills and experiences to operate as a professional coach or work in community sport. The degree offers work-based learning with Reds in the Community and allows learners to tailor their interests and gain practical, hands on experience.

Through this, those students studying at Barnsley can continue get hands on experience of the whole range of the Clubs charity’s work. This method of learning really appealed to Hashim especially as he would get to be involved in Reds in the Community’s excellent disability sports programme.

Having started the USW course during the COVID-19 pandemic. This presented more challenges for Hashim with so much work taking on-line. However, he always stayed positive and did everything he could to remove any barriers and be the best he can be.

He explained: “Learning online was difficult for me. As a Deaf person, I prefer to work face to face. I had to work doubly hard compared to my hearing peers. USW and Reds in the Community have been so supportive at every step. The lecturers check in to see if I need anything and to let me know what support is available to me. I just try to get on as normally as I can – if there is a barrier, I put the effort in and try to break it down.”

Hashim is also a talented footballer and also aspires to succeed in his playing career. He currently representing Farsley Celtic Deaf FC, who have just won the English Deaf Football Challenge Cup, and the England Deaf Team. However, it is clear above all Hashim wants to provide the support, guidance, and inspiration to younger hearing-impaired individuals to ensure they can succeed, without their hearing impairment becoming a barrier.

He explained: “I think about younger Deaf people coming through and I would advise them to work hard, try and be the best they can be, always thinking that next step. If there’s any barriers, find the support available. I’m happy to help anyone who wants to get in touch.”



Carlisle United Community Sports Trust’s Traineeships gave Aidan the opportunity to “love being in work.”

Carlisle United are at the forefront of helping young people find meaningful employment. The Club’s charity, the CUFC Community Sport Trust, runs a very successful 12 weeks Traineeship programme which equips young people with the crucial skills and experience to able to get on the first rung of the employment ladder.

There are countless reasons why some young people don’t do well at school and leave the education system with little or no qualifications. This can often be accompanied by low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. This, in turn, makes it difficult for them to find any kind of employment or even get the work experience needed to get a job, which can cause their self-esteem to drop even lower. A traineeships breaks this vicious circle. Run at many Football Clubs across the country Traineeships are key stepping stone that help people who are not currently in education, employment or training find work.

The 12-week course are designed to develop key employability skill and also provide valuable work experience. Based at a Football Club, the trainee will be supported by a mentor and who will address their specific needs so that at the end of the 12-weeks they are ready find work and thrive in the workplace.

That was very much the story for Aidan Brown, a trainee on Carlisle United latest cohort of the programme. On completion of the 12-week course Aidan has successfully gained employment, and simply said “I now love being in the world of work.”

Aidan fully embraced the opportunities the traineeship had to offer and worked hard to develop the skills needed for the work place. As part of the work placement, the Trust secured a 12-week customer service role at VR Gateway. Aidan excelled in this role, taking part in various roadshows across the city and wider communities.

Aidan’s polite, calming nature shone through, and the organisation received some great feedback on Aidan’s professionalism and impeccable manners.

Ian Irving, director of the VR Gateway said, “Aidan’s work ethic, overall positive attitude, and professionalism has been a credit to the team. He has conducted himself well, and performed admirably in some challenging and new situations.”

Aidan also volunteered with the community coaches at CUFC CST working alongside coaches in various primary schools, again his work ethic was outstanding. On completing the traineeship Aidan gained employment at Carlisle Youth Zone as a youth worker.

Aidan explained, “The traineeship programme helped me to establish what career path I wanted to pursue, the work placement elements helped me to secure my decision and guide me in the right direction. Teresa helped me with my application/planning an activity session as part of the interview process for the youth worker position at the youth zone.”

Teresa Mulholland-Traineeship Co-Ordinator. Commented, “We are immensely proud of Aidan, his work ethic and commitment to the programme has been outstanding. Aidan will be a great asset to Carlisle Youth Zone and this just shows what can happen if you give a young person like Aidan an opportunity.”

Degree Course with Huddersfield Town the perfect fit for Connor

Having previously tried various other educational options including media and plumbing courses, Connor was unsure on what his career aspirations were after leaving high school. Consequently, he jumped from course to course, without finding enjoyment in education and not completing the work required.

However, having joined the degree course with Huddersfield Town, Connor now has a completely different outlook on his education.

He said: “Since joining this course I have thoroughly enjoyed it and have completed all my work with motivation, which is a big thing for me as it shows I am enjoying the course.”

The University of South Wales allows students to gain practical experience in their desired nature of work, whilst allowing for a blended learning approach where students have both face-to face and online learning. The courses which are hosted at your local football club has a huge emphasis on gaining real world learning through placements with students only having to attend the University for short residential periods.

The enjoyment that Connor had struggled to find with other courses, is clear to see as he is excelling both in and out of the classroom. With the programme offering practical experience at the hands of Huddersfield Town Foundation, Connor has immersed himself fully into the course despite only being in his first year.

He explained: “There are 6 different modules on the course, the one I have enjoyed the most though was the event management as me and a few other course mates got to hold our own event up at Moldgreen primary school. With no really restraints on our event it allowed us to be creative with our ideas and plan a fun and engaging for the students.”

Connor has worked on the SEND provisions that the club provides; girls Kicks sessions as well as numerous tournaments. Connor has also completed his UEFA C qualification where he is awaiting assessment.

The degree course has been a breath of fresh air for Connor, where he has found something he is naturally passionate about.
The progress Connor has made from an individual who lacked motivation and direction to now self admittedly not only wanting to pass his course but to achieve the best possible grades.

Adam Halliday, Connor’s Education Mentor said: “Connor is a pleasure to mentor and engage with on the programme. He is enthusiastic, inquisitive, and wants to achieve to the best of his ability. He is a natural leader and his peers benefit from his approach to classroom activities. With a fantastic first year coming to an end, and a UEFA C qualification pending, I am excited to see Connor continuing to progress next year.”

Click here to find out more.

Degree course with Tranmere Rovers opened Michael’s eyes to discover his dream job.

Michael once dreamed of the stardom that accompanies being a professional footballer, but through the exposure and experience the Degree course with Tranmere Rovers in the Community offered him, he realised a new dream; off the pitch as a Performance Analyst.

He first joined Tranmere Rovers in the Community to complete his post-16 education with a BTEC in Sports Development and Coaching; this was just the start of his journey.

Following the completion of his Level 3 qualification he enrolled on to the Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development with Tranmere in partnership with the University of South Wales and the EFL Trust.

The University of South Wales allows students to gain practical experience in their desired nature of work, whilst allowing for a blended learning approach where students have both face-to face and online learning. The courses which are hosted at your local football club has a huge emphasis on gaining real world learning through placements with students only having to attend the University for short residential periods.

This is where Michael’s ambitions slowly began to transition from on the pitch as a goalkeeper to off the pitch as a Performance Analyst. Like many, Michael had the dream of playing professional football but the degree course with Tranmere Rovers opened his eyes to a wealth of other opportunities in the game he adores.

He said: “In all my years at Tranmere, the link to a professional football club has proved invaluable to me in wanting to progress my career in football. The opportunities for work experience both inside and outside of the club have been incredible.”

His ability to play the game also allowed him to have an in-depth understanding towards the analytical aspects of the game. Consequently, Michael has gone on to help the Tranmere Education teams and AFC Liverpool.

He explained: “One of my main responsibilities was to create a comprehensive presentation for pre-and post-game feedback to the players. I have worked with the Tranmere Education teams as their analyst to provide a statistical summary of the major events during matching to the coaching team, which is an important tool for improving future performance and player development.”

Michael is still completing his degree after enrolling in the top up course; BSc (Hons) in Community Football Coaching and Administration. However, he has achieved a wealth of experience and qualifications to ensure a successful future.

He has completed his UEFA C coaching badge and through his hard-work and opportunities that the University of South Wales pathway has given him he was appointed as National League side, Chorley FC’s analyst for the 2022/23 season, something he credits highly to his time at Tranmere Rovers in the Community.

“I am currently finishing my degree but know I have a bright future in football thanks to my time at Tranmere. I have already been accepted to complete a master’s in Performance Analysis in Football at University Campus of Football Business for September.”

Click here to find out more about the degree 

A development journey: Hannah Jones and Rotherham United Community Sports Trust.

Hannah’s passion for being a leader, an innovator, and a mentor to females in sports stems from her own experiences. Through, her club Rotherham United, she has been able to pursue a career focused on her desire to better the experiences of others.

She said: “I currently hold a position within the FA Leadership Academy, which is designed to develop people as leaders, to plan, deliver and develop a project to impact the football community and the wider football community. Due to my own experiences, I focused my project on developing females and female footballers, giving them a sense of belonging in football, as well as producing and recognising talent.”

Hannah attended Rotherham United Community Sports Trust college programme before enrolling onto their FdSc Sport Coaching and Development run in partnership with University of South Wales.

With an abundance of experience and skills in numerous programmes the Trust offers from education to health and wellbeing, Hannah is an individual that is focused on providing and empowering every participant, colleague, friend she encounters especially females in sport.

She explains: “The development of females within a sporting environment is something that I do have concerns for and am passionate about in terms of developing. By providing this opportunity to our females will create an inclusive, welcoming, and quality experience.”

The USW course has allowed Hannah to feel a sense of belonging. More so, it has allowed Hannah to develop and produce ideas to inspire the next generation that could lead to a huge, successful future for women in sport whether that be Hannah’s influence on them both on and off the pitch.

The University of South Wales allows students to gain practical experience in their desired nature of work, whilst allowing for a blended learning approach where students have both face-to face and online learning. The courses which are hosted at your local football club has a huge emphasis on gaining real world learning through placements with students only having to attend the University for short residential periods.

She comments: “The whole experience will give the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals; students like yourself, perhaps past students, and those who work within the sporting industry. This will allow us to be our best selves, unite as one; acting together as one within the movement where we can strive to empower each other to realise potential and develop.”

It is evident that Hannah has the ability to inspire change through her selfless desire to improve and aid those around her. With already a plethora of strings to her bow, Hannah’s aspirations have no limit.

She said: “After completion of the 2-year course with USW, I hope to enrol onto the Sports Coaching and Development top-up degree, after which I would like to enrol onto a PGCE to follow the path into sports teaching, school and education. Alongside this I wish to continue my current coaching path; I’m soon to complete my FA Level 1, after which I hope to progress up the ladder in coaching badges (across multiple sports) and potentially begin my refereeing experience.”

Click here to find out more about the degree 

Young people with Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) help with vital project to improve environmental sustainability and to support accessibility within Cricket

A group of young NCS Changemakers with Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) are calling for cricket clubs across the Yorkshire region to embrace a new cricket kit recycling scheme, as part of the ‘Together for Sport’ initiative along with Zero Waste Leeds.

The scheme involves donating, reusing and recycling cricket kit, to help support accessibility within the game as well as improving local environmental sustainability.

The call to action follows a successful star studded ‘Cric-Kit’ launch by the two organisations in Leeds, last month. More than 350 people from the local community attended the special event, including 50 Yorkshire Cricket College Changemakers as part of YCF’s NCS programme.

The Cric-Kit scheme aims to create awareness and a culture across Yorkshire and the UK where donating, recycling and reusing sports clothing becomes a common place, to help break down barriers in community participation.

The young people at the launch event were also joined by Northern Diamond superstars Beth Langston and Steere Kalis.

Beth Langston commented:

“It’s a really good initiative – getting people from the local community down, maybe some that haven’t been involved in cricket before if the cost of the sport has been a barrier before.

“Especially nowadays with the cost of living crisis, that might put people off if they’ve not got much disposable income, but here was the opportunity to come down, grab some kit for free and then hopefully that will get more people involved in playing cricket or some other sports.

“Getting young people and adults involved in sport is really important for their health, their mental health and sport offers so much more including creating a community.”

Cricket kit can cost hundreds of pounds each year and as the cost-of-living crisis continues to increase, the option of getting some cricket kit for free means that money can be spent elsewhere for families.

Kendal James, Participation Manager for YCF, and founder of the initiative, said:

“As part of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation within Participation, our job is to try to break down barriers and one of the biggest barriers we know in cricket is in fact the equipment.

“And added on top of this, given the current climate with inflation and how expensive things are, we wanted to rally round and find as many opportunities to showcase that we can reuse, recycle and donate kit to those in need.”

The Cric-Kit scheme also looks to have a major impact on helping the environment, as high plastic content can often be found in cricket equipment and garments, leading to damaging results for the environment, once old equipment is thrown away.

Following the successful launch, a new ‘Cric-Kit’ hub will be launched at Headingley Stadium, where spare cricket kit can be donated and reused across a number of community programmes run by YCF in Leeds.

The Foundation is also calling for cricket clubs across Yorkshire to help reduce waste, save money and breakdown barriers by joining the Cric-Kit scheme. YCF are aiming to select a handful of proactive clubs across the region who have expressed an interest in becoming a ‘Cric-Kit Hub’ early next year.

Kendal from YCF reiterates:

 “We are asking cricket clubs to be a flagship for Cric-Kit and encourage members of the club to donate any unused recycled kit, and also create awareness locally that if people have any unused kit, they are welcoming donations that future members who join the club can access if they need to.”

Young teens from Huddersfield celebrate a special graduation night

Huddersfield Town Foundation recently celebrated the success of 188 young people, recognising their participation in NCS over the summer in a special NCS graduation event at Dewsbury Town Hall last week.

The Foundation was joined by the Mayor and Mayoress of Kirklees, Cllr. Masood Ahmed and his daughter Iram. Masood, who is an NCS Ambassador, spoke passionately about the impact of the programme in communities, before handing out certificates to the NCS graduates.

NCS is the ultimate experience for young people aged 16-17, where they are given the opportunity to make new friends, develop new skills, launch meaningful projects in the community and create new memories.

The graduation night was an opportunity for all the young people to be back together to catch up and celebrate their achievements from the summer, in front of a high-profile audience.

Over the course of the summer, Huddersfield Town Foundation ran four programmes, containing a total of 188 young people. Within each programme, the young people took part in a five-day residential course followed by a second week where they completed a social action project in north Kirklees.

Recognising the impact the young people have had on themselves and their community, The Mayor of Kirklees, Councillor Masood Ahmed said the following:

“As Mayor, it is incredible to hear that nearly 200 students from our borough have graduated from the National Citizen programme over the summer. I know a lot of projects in Kirklees have benefitted from the work the students have done and because of that those groups will be able to support their communities even more.

“I would like to thank the NCS, the Huddersfield Town Foundation, community partners and the young people for coming together for the programme.

“This is a shining example of what can be achieved when we all work together, and everyone involved should be incredibly proud of the difference they have made to our borough.”

Click here to find out more about NCS.

Growing the focus on mental health

A group of young teens from Barnsley recently set out on a project with the aim of spreading mental health awareness as well as doing their bit to help out the environment.

The project, named, ‘Roots of You’ was part of their NCS experience with Reds in the Community over the summer. NCS is a 2-week experience, where young people meet new people, take on exciting challenges and complete a social action project, allowing them to impact their local community.

The group were undecided on two passionate topics, raising awareness on mental health or helping the environment. After some planning, the group decided to merge the two areas into one project.

Abi Grant was involved in the ‘Roots of You’ project and commented:

“We chose the project because we felt that mental health is such a huge part of our lives as teenagers, and we understand that people are often scared to share their issues, so having by creating an anonymous way to help people let go was really important to us.”

With the green light given, the group came up with the idea of holding special booths in Barnsley town centre, using their innovative idea to combine both topic areas.

In the booths, members of the public were encouraged to write any stories or ongoing worries involving their mental health on special plant-seeded paper. The young people then planted the seed-paper at Deansgate Care Home, using planters that they had built and painted.

Abi commented:

“We got so many responses from people our age saying how much better they felt after sharing, and how the idea of growing something negative into something beautiful  through the seeds planting, gave them a huge amount of comfort. I was so glad I was able to help.”

“Some of the admissions we got were quite heavy, but that was honestly the most amazing part, as people felt ready to let go of those feelings and allow us to create something meaningful out of it. I felt so privileged to have been able to help people around me in such a big way.

As well as planting new seeds, the young people also supported the overall renovation of Deansgate Care Home to make it a much nicer space for the residents to enjoy.

Not stopping there, the group decided to use their techy-savvy expertise by creating a Google Document and a TikTok page, encouraging further members of the public to get in touch with them and spread their stories. The group found it be a popular choice for anonymous people wanting to share their own experiences.

Leonie Hudson, NCS Coordinator at Reds in the Community had the following to say:

“The group picked this project because members in the group had varying experiences with local mental health services, and they universally agreed that sometimes just telling your story can lift a weight off people’s shoulders. They were incredibly passionate about this idea and they hoped that it would allow people to tell their truths without fear of judgement.”

“The impact was two-fold, the group allowed the community to vent, knowing their stories would be planted and eventually bloom. But they also had a real impact on the residents of Deansgate Care Home, who  now have a lovely garden area to relax in.”

Click here to read about how more young people on NCS have been transforming themselves and their communities.

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