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  • Norwich City CSF - News & Media
  • Norwich City CSF - News & Media
  • Norwich City CSF - News & Media

CSF participants tell their story

Eight local people explain how the Foundation has helped changed thier lives.

The Community Sports Foundation (CSF) helps over 38,000 people every year achieve their goals through sport, supporting some of the most disadvantaged, disabled and talented people across Norfolk. Below are the stories of eight participants who have been supported by the Foundation. 

“I was heading down a path of destruction, my marriage was over and I was broken-hearted. I started to slip back into old habits and didn’t see a way out. It was the support of the Street Life Soccer (SLS) programme that got me through, the lads encouraged me to keep strong and supported me. Now I am enjoying my football a lot more, I have got a lot fitter and this Summer I was selected to represent England at St George's Park National Football Centre as part of The Street Football Association. I played various fixtures there, stayed in luxury accommodation and met a lot of great people who I’m still in touch with. I experienced things I never thought I would before. My confidence has been built up so much that last month, I stood up and spoke about my life and the progress I’ve made in front of an audience of people. My life is finally back on track and I can’t wait to play for England once again at the Manchester International Cup this November.” 

James Earley, Street Life Soccer participant (below, left).

James EarleyChadd

"On day one, I felt nervous - I’d never done work experience before! I was feeling unsure on the way to the stadium but after Mum dropped me off, the CSF coaches and staff who looked after me made me feel very welcome. Throughout the week, I had the chance to help out at a Futsal football tournament, an Extra Time handball session and Jamie’s Game. Best of all, I had a tour round Carrow Road which was a total surprise for me! On my last day I felt so happy, I loved being a part of the CSF team. I really enjoy the Pan Disability football sessions I attend each week and I never thought I’d be so lucky to do work experience at one of my favourite places."

Chadd - Disability participant (above, right).

“I often skipped breakfast and was only eating one meal a day before I started attending CSF’s health programme with my daughter. Now I am eating healthier and prepare nutritious meals for my family everyday. The sessions have helped me to learn about the benefits of eating together as a family. We sit down at the table every evening and talk about our day - without the TV on! We look at packaging on foods to find out what’s healthy and we do a lot of exercise together, even if it’s just going for a quick walk.  We do a  lot more as a family and that is the most important thing to me.”

Emma Leader, Parent (below, left)

Emma LeaderFinleigh

“At first I was really scared - I was going away from Mum and Dad for the first time. What if I missed home? What if I got sick and needed extra medication? As the day to go on tour came closer, I felt a mixture of nerves and excitement. I was so worried about leaving my family but I know I wanted to do it. I had got to know the Academy squad and we often chatted about what it would be like to go away together. Every week at training, the coaches checked if I was okay so I started to feel more confident. I knew Mum had met them a few times to talk about my medicines and the timetable of when and how much I needed to take, so everything was taken care of.

"The day to leave finally came but as soon as we left for Manchester, my nerves disappeared. When we got there I was so happy, having the girls come to my room for a chat and popping into theirs was so cool. Being able to phone home helped but after a day or so I kept forgetting to! Now I can’t wait for the next tour, there is no way I will be worried. Thank you to my friends and the CSF coaches for helping me."

Finleigh – Girls' ADP participant (above, right).

“Studying at Carrow Road is an opportunity that not many people get and, as a lifelong Norwich City fan, it has been extra special. I have been able to explore a variety of different career opportunities in a unique setting. The highlight for me - when I was invited to the board room for the Man City home game as a reward for gaining a Distinction grade in my assignments. The course has allowed me to complete my Level 1 coaching page, which is a very good start to my desired job as a football coach. Before I joined the Futsal programme, I was unsure of which career path I wanted to go down. Now I have no doubt.”

Ethan Scott, Futsal scholar (below, left).

Ethan ScottCharlotte Foster

"In 2012, I was given the opportunity to represent Norwich City FC on behalf of Aylsham High School for the Premier League Enterprise Challenge. We were lucky enough to work with CSF and the club, who supported us during the process. I have always had a passion for football and I was delighted when I was offered a week’s work experience at the football club off the back of the success of the challenge. My desire was to work with the media team so when I was asked to work as a media assistant on match days, I happily accepted the offer. I did this for two seasons and it helped me gain such valuable experience. Now, I am working full-time as a Communications Assistant which I wouldn’t have been able to achieve if I didn’t have the support from everyone at the club, especially from my managers and CSF who helped guide me in the right direction and land my dream job. I wouldn’t be where I am today without this support so I can’t thank them enough."

Charlotte, Communications Assistant at Norwich City Football Club (above, right).

"From a young age, I’ve always wanted to have a career in sport. In the last 18 months, the Community Sports Foundation have supported me with my FA Level 1 and 2 in Football Coaching qualifications, both of which I have now completed. The CSF Coaches Club programme has allowed me to access other types of support that help me with my communication, organisation and overall delivery. Now, I am working towards a Multi Skills Level 2 and a PE in School Sport Level 3 qualification. I am fortunate to work across a range of different programmes at CSF, from the Extra Time group to Disability sessions - I never thought I would get the chance to work with and help so many participants.

"I feel incredibly proud to be one of the full time female coaches and would highly recommend that other girls get involved in sport, whether it’s by coaching or competing."

Steph - CSF Community Coach (below, left). 

Steph PowellGerson Soares

"At the age of nine, I moved from Portugal, my birthplace, to England so that my parents could seek a better future for my family. When I was in school, I focused on getting good grades so that I could go to college and study something I really wanted to do. I always wanted to be involved in sport and I had a passion to play football but with that said, I had no clue what steps to take. When I finished college, CSF opened its doors to me, I joined the Street Life Soccer programme which helps vulnerable people and through this, I found out about the Futsal Scholarship Programme. This course gave me the opportunity to play football as well as study a BTEC Level 3 in Sport. Soon, I started volunteering for Kicks and the Boys’ PDC which gave me the chance to start working for CSF. The Foundation has allowed me grow as a person and not only start my journey in football but continue it, too."

Gerson Soares - CSF Community Coach & Futsal Scholar (above, right).

“Charlie loves his sport and thought he knew a lot about healthy eating but after a couple of weeks at the Foundation’s Ft4it programme he soon realised he hadn’t been making the right choices with his food. Now he has a completely different attitude to exercise and food. Our breakfast approach has completely changed and the only cereal we have in our house is oats. Charlie is very careful snacking at school - and during his recent SATS he made sure that he ate a slow release snack to keep him focused for the afternoon.

"He is even educating other members of his family, including me, on how to read a food label!”

Hannah, parent (below, left).


“Lucy enjoys her dance club tremendously. The improvement it has bought about with her confidence in public is getting greater each week. This is all down to the great interaction with her teacher, the dance movements and her love of Sportasaurus. So much so, she now has her own Sporty who helps her to be more confident wherever she goes.”

Parent of dance after-school club participant (above, right).

Story added: 05 Sep 2016

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