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.

NCS’ers Launch Project to Combat Period Poverty

Recognising it as a problem that gets overlooked in society, an inspiring group of 9 young women on NCS launched a unique project named ‘Padded, Protected and Proud‘ this summer to combat period poverty.   Read more

“The impact of this programme is so huge it is almost unmeasurable”

These were the words of Hayley Barclay from Club Doncaster Foundation who recently took students from Harrison College in Doncaster on the NCS programme. Read more

Young people host refugee event at Loftus Road

A group of young people on NCS, launched a project this summer to provide some cheer for refugees raising £285. The young people, who were with QPR Community Trust, had the opportunity to make a positive difference within their community through their NCS experience.

NCS is designed for 16–17-year-olds and during their experience they are given a taste of independence, as they mix with new people, taking on exciting challenges and also working on projects to benefit their local communities.

The young people ran an event for a group of local refugees, which was held at QPR’s Loftus Road Stadium. One of the group members, Mohammed, was a refugee himself and was passionate about supporting other refugees within the community. The group felt inspired by Mohammed’s story and so got to work on a project.

The group contacted refugee charity ‘Care for Calais’ and discussed their idea of hosting an event at QPR, involving tours and fun activities for the refugees. On the day of the event at Loftus Road, over 40 people attended and were enthused by the passion shown by the young people, in attempting to provide some cheer.

Families and young children has an evening of fun games, activities and were also shown around Loftus Road. Due to the success of the evening, the group, alongside QPR and ‘Care for Calais’ are now lookign to arrange further events to engage more refugees in the local area.

Mohammed talked to us about the project:

“We needed to help the community, to try to understand how to help people and to make a better society. It was really wonderful and enjoyable to organise the event at Loftus Road, because we made other people happy.

“I enjoyed meeting new people and their children, communicating with them and put smiles on their faces.

Mohammed has felt the positive impact his NCS experience has had upon him whilst working on his refugee social action project at QPR:

“NCS was the best experience I ever had, it was such a great time to meet new friends, to do so many activities and to learn so much. NCS has helped me improve my own skills, such as communication and it has shown me how to talk confidently. I would love to do NCS all over again.”

Not stopping there, the young people launched a Go Fund Me page, raising £285. The money raised was used to provide goodie bags to give out to each refugee attending, containing toys, games, QPR merchandise, food and drinks.

Savannah Pacey was one of the young people involved within the project, she had this to say;

“This was such a rewarding experience for us. We were able to spend an evening with a group of people who we wouldn’t normally have contact with. To hear their stories and see the smiles on the children’s faces was just incredible.

“It has been such an incredible experience. I’ve loved every minute, from the activities in the first week, to the social action project it has just been so rewarding. On top of that I’ve made some great friends too!

“I feel more confident now to go out in the world and challenge myself!”

Click here to find out more about NCS.

Degree programme with County in the Community developed Mo Jallow from a reserved teenager to a mature member of staff at County in the Community.

Having moved to Wales from Gambia, the University of South Wales Degree programme with County in the Community developed Mo Jallow from a reserved teenager to a mature member of staff at County in the Community.

Having initially settled in Aberdare at 13 years old before moving to Newport when he was 16 years old, Mo was always keen and destined to pursue his passion for sport, especially football. Mo was very shy and lacked confidence especially when he was the main focus of a group session whether that would be presenting in the classroom or coaching on the pitch.

However, Mo’s determination and desire to pursue a career in the sports career meant he was open to development and change as an individual to succeed. He studied a BTEC Level 3 in Sports Performance at Llanwern High School as part of the County in the Community college programme before progressing on to the Foundation Degree programme in partnership with the University of South Wales.

The degree programme allowed Mo access to the industry that he had always aspired to. Consequently, his depth of knowledge increased that partnered with his growing confidence evident in his academic success and the level of his coaching and teaching practices. Whilst on the programme, Mo began coaching at the County in the Community college programme and at the County in the Community Premier League Kicks sessions, this exposure and development saw him take up the Premier League Kicks Girl Coordinator role at Newport Community Trust. Alongside this, to further Mo’s knowledge and expertise he shadowed the County in the Community Premier League Primary Stars teachers in schools across Newport, and eventually started delivering PE lessons himself; something that a 16-year-old Mo would never have been comfortable in doing.

Having graduated with the Foundation Degree with a 1st class grade, Mo continued his USW journey by enrolling on the top up the Community Football Coaching and Administration degree.

County in the Community commented: “In the 6 years I have known Mo, seeing him as a shy 16-year-old boy who came down from Aberdare with the ambition to attend our college programme, he has turned into a mature, well rounded, a staff member of County in the Community. The children and young people who attend his sessions think a lot of him as he is very engaging, enthusiastic, and happy to provide opportunities for children and young people.”

Click here to find out more about the degree 


Award Winning young people from Bradford gain recognition from Parliament for project on unwanted sexual behaviour

A group of NCS Changemakers with Bradford City Community Foundation launched a project which aimed at spreading awareness of the need to report unwanted sexual behaviour on British Railways.

The project was a part of a competition pitched by Northern Trains Ltd (NTL), that tasked young people to develop a video campaign that would create awareness of unwanted sexual behaviour on trains and how to report this to the transport police.

From multiple entrants, Bradford’s NCS Changemakers came out on top as they created an impactful campaign, featuring an innovative, yet informative video on the need to report unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport and the ways you can report it to the British Transport Police.

The video and the topic it addresses has been transformational in the rail industry, clearly demonstrating the outstanding contribution young people can make to a range of issues with the right support guidance and support, thus making a positive contribution to communities across the North.

Within the industry and Train Operating Companies, this work by young people has gained universal acclaim across the Rail Industry and was shortlisted at the Women in Rail Awards 2022. Bradford City Community Foundation was the only non-railway organisation who were invited to attend these awards.

The project gained recognition from MPs such as Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Caroline Nokes MP – Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee . The UK Parliament Education and Engagement Team invited NTL Richard Isaac Community Manager, Lorna McEwan Chief Inspector Manchester District BTP and 20 young people involved in the project from across the North to present to MPs in the Palace of Westminster.

This gave young people the opportunity to share with MPs such as Holly Lynch MP – Shadow Minister (Home Office) and Hilary Benn MP on why this challenging topic was so important. Additionally, highlighting the importance of understanding the issues affecting young people, allowing them to be part of the debate leading to the development of positive actions and solutions.

We talked to Shamza, who was one of the NCS Changemakers to present the campaign at Parliament:

“The NCS/Northern Rail partnership made it possible to make an anti-sexual harassment video to educate people about trains and to be aware of the potential harm that could occur to them. The video we created has made me aware of different ways people can harass you on trains without noticing, such as up-skirting.  It has been a real eye-opener this project for me personally and we hope this video will give people the confidence to take the train and know what to do if any unwanted sexual behaviour happens.”

“Seeing this project come to life was amazing, the Bradford NCS Change makers have put so much hard work in making the final video by working as a team, being part of the project has been such a huge opportunity. The project is tackling and educating people about an issue which females all around the country are experiencing. Sexual harassment is a massive topic, and it makes me proud to be bringing out the message to make everyone feel safe and heard on and off trains.”

Richard Isaac, Regional Community and Sustainability Manager at Northern Rail is thankful to the young people for their work to tackle this challenging issue on trains. He commented;

“Young people across the North took up the challenge to raise awareness that unwanted sexual behaviour (USB) of any kind is unacceptable and must be reported to the British Transport Police. USB is challenging topic to discuss and something many people would rather not talk about. Supported by NCS youth workers, young people took on the challenge of creating something that would tackle this challenging issue head.

What NCS Changemakers have delivered is a tool to raise awareness of USB and the need for reporting created by young people aimed at young people. Our aim at Northern is to use this resource to engage with young people across the North to raise that awareness.”

Dominik Stingas Paczko, Head of NCS at EFL Trust, who attended the event at Parliament said the following:

“It was fantastic to see the amazing work of our NCS participants being recognised and celebrated in Westminster. Their social action project very much highlighted and helped to tackle a very real issue that affects the national railways, and we hope their videos go a long way to help encourage young people back on to public transport as part of the nation’s recovery from Covid. There is growing evidence that giving young people to confidence and ability to use public transport can have a significant positive impact on their futures and we thank Northern for their continued support for our EFL Trust led NCS programmes.”

To find out more about NCS, click here.

Going the extra mile: Young people in Sheffield complete 7-mile walk, raising money for a Cancer Charity

A group of determined young people recently embarked upon a 7-mile sponsored walk, raising £185.40 towards Cavendish Cancer Care.

The inspiring young group comprised of NCS Changemakers with Sheffield United Community Foundation, who embarked upon a mission to raise money to support cancer patients and families who have undergone such challenging times.

NCS Changemakers compromise of 25 NCS graduates, who meet up regularly to make a real, positive impact in the community. As part of Changemakers, the young people launch a social action project, with the intention of positively impacting their community.

For their project, the young group felt personally motivated to raise money, as members of the group themselves have known people close to them, who have been affected by cancer.

Thus, the young people decided to embark upon a 7-mile sponsored walk and raise £185.50 for Cavendish Cancer Care. The group also thought the walk would benefit themselves, as it would provide a good break from exam-related stress they were experiencing.

Cavendish Cancer Care had this to say about the project:

“The support that we get from organisations like Sheffield United Community Foundation’s NCS Changemakers makes all the difference to our charity. £185.40 will help to provide 6 sessions of therapy and support for people facing cancer. As a charity, we are heavily reliant on the generosity of others to keep our centre open, and it was great to see these young people taking the time and effort on Saturday to walk between Sheffield and Rotherham in aid of us.”

Additionally, the young people encouraged that it would provide a good opportunity of reflection for all the group, in sharing their own personal experiences of how cancer has affected them.

Fern and Alex were some of the young Changemakers involved and commented on their motivations to undertake the project.


“A close school friend of mine died from cancer last year. He received fantastic care from charities and hospitals. I would wish anyone with cancer to receive the same loving care.”


“I have not lost anyone in my life because of cancer but I think that what Cavendish Cancer Care do as a charity for those who are affected by cancer is brilliant! The sponsored walk was worth every step for the charity, and it was also enjoyable to get to spend time with the other young people.”

To find out more about NCS, please click here.