Brixham Youth Enquiry Service

A Neighbourhood Challenge Project

What the Neighbourhood Challenge has meant to me……….

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Over 18 months ago I was made redundant! And I honestly thought it would be relatively easy for me to find a job because I am extremely qualified in the field of sports development – both academic qualifications and experience. However I was soon proved wrong when I realised that there were no jobs which suited what I had worked hard for at university. Therefore I was having to apply for any job that I saw in order to stop being an unemployment statistic. Time and time again I was rejected which slowly took its toll on the way I was feeling. I had applied for over 500 jobs and had only one interview which I did not get because I was over qualified.

So, from this, I couldn’t get a job in sport because there were none out there and I couldn’t get any other job because I was too qualified. At this point, I was so low I decided to leave my passion for my sport in the past which was very serious considering sport had been my life since I was four years old. Sport clearly wasn’t helping me so why should I use it?

After being on job seekers for six months, I was put onto a work programme called Community Task Force. I had to volunteer for 30 hours a week in a community benefitting placement. If I am honest I really did not want to do this. I had no motivation and my self-esteem and confidence was at an all time low. I had pretty much given up hope on everything!

My placement was with Brixham YES. I had met with Angela and Chris, and they were more than happy to have a new volunteer, especially as they were in the middle of moving to The Edge. The night before the placement started, I was trying to think of every excuse in the book to get out of going. I was completely dreading it and honestly didn’t see any point in doing it, apart from the extra £10 a week that I would get. The thought of doing something different scared me, but I knew I couldn’t get out of it!

Within a week of starting my placement, I had completely changed. I realised that with the support and encouragement I received from Angela and Chris, I was a completely different person. I no longer hid behind others and was starting to stand on my own two feet again. From volunteering with YES, I was soon told about the Neighbourhood Challenge – and my immediate thoughts were that this could be something to get my life back on track. After changing my application several times, I came up with the idea of BEST (Brixham Edge Sport Tasters). The vision of BEST is to help make sport a part of everyone’s life and to offer an alternative to PE and sports clubs. I was slowly developing my passion for sport again. This included playing tennis on a weekly basis, and continuing with my Masters in Sports Development – which I had previously deferred.

After finalising my Neighbourhood Challenge application, all I had to do was wait for it to be approved. During this time, having found my passion for sport again I decided to ‘give it a go’ at forming a tennis club for children. After putting out press releases and posters, I had generated a lot of interest and support from the local community. From then on, every Saturday for two hours, I would coach tennis to children from the ages of 4 to 16. This was all on a voluntary basis and it was completely free for the participants. I viewed this as the fresh start I was looking for, and things could only get better!

I soon heard that my Neighbourhood Challenge application was successful and I was awarded £1000 kick start cash which I used to buy sports equipment, attend training courses and to publicise BEST as much as I could. Once the tennis season was over, all of the children I was coaching wanted to continue throughout the winter, so with this I involved a wide variety of sports on a 10-week programme. I involved the parents too, which did take a little bit of persuading but after the first time they participated they realised how much they loved it and it happened every week from then on.

As well as running these sport taster sessions on a voluntary basis, I was continuing my placement with Brixham YES. As I found my confidence and self belief growing, I developed a passion for Brixham YES and found myself volunteering well over the hours required. During the Neighbourhood Challenge period, my placement was due to come to an end, but luckily enough I was offered a part time job on a temporary basis with YES. I was thrilled at finally having a job, it felt like a huge strain was lifted from me.

From working for Brixham YES and being part of the Neighbourhood Challenge, I was able to build and develop networks with local primary and secondary schools, local sports coaches and sport development officers. I have also developed relationships with local journalists and businesses. None of this would have been possible without Brixham YES having the trust and believing in me so much that I can achieve what I have always wanted to. I was lucky to win one of the Neighbourhood Challenge prizes of £3500 and I have so many future plans (most of which are going to be happening within the next month). I also plan to help others pursue their career in sport and become a role model on the basis that something can come from nothing as long as you don’t give up!

This time last year, there is no way I would have had the confidence to be stood here talking to you. Brixham YES has become a huge part of my life, in fact they are my second family. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for YES and all those involved. I was fully supported to use my existing knowledge and skills, and to put into practice what I have been studying for the past seven years. Not only do I feel like myself again, but I now also look forward to the future!


Written by andrewbxyes

March 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing your success story, all the best for the future 🙂


    April 1, 2012 at 9:59 am

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