Premier League Community Captain: Josh

Who are they?

Josh is a former Premier League Kicks (PL Kicks) pan-ability participant. He is now a paid casual member of staff working on our Premier League Kicks programme, he is also a college student at Blackpool FC Sports College.

What is their story?

Josh first started to attend PL Kicks pan-ability sessions when he was 11 years old. Having attended PL Kicks sessions for 6 years, he then started to become an active volunteer in sessions and completed over 100 hours of volunteering. Having impressed coaches with his attitude and commitment, he is now a paid casual staff member who works on our PL Kicks pan-ability and disability sessions and half-term disability camps.

Why has the club chosen them in particular?

We have chosen Josh due to the journey he has been on from starting as a participant to progressing into a volunteer role and now a paid casual staff member, in addition to also studying with us at BFC College. Josh’s commitment to PL Kicks and BFCCT was highlighted through his extensive volunteering and always being available to cover sessions as and when required. Having come through the programme himself, Josh can relate with current participants and build strong and trusting relationships with vulnerable young people with complex needs. Josh’s confidence has also continued to grow through the continuous delivery he is involved with, combined with his educational studies. In addition to this, Josh has regularly attended CPD and training to further strengthen his delivery and safeguarding skills to better support participants and keep them safe.

How did they first become involved with the club?

Josh first became involved with the club when he was 11 years old when a teacher at his school (Park Community Academy) told him about the free PL Kicks sessions that BFCCT offered. He became a regular attendee and said, “he enjoyed attending the sessions as he loved sports and trying new activities”.

How has their involvement with the club impacted them?

Through his involvement in the club, Josh has gained extensive work experience through his volunteering and is now in a position where he is earning money through the casual hours, he works on PL Kicks. His involvement with the club has also inspired him to continue with his educational studies at BFC College and access other CPD provided to further develop his skills.

Josh also said, “As a staff member, I now feel more confident, and I’m no longer shy like I used to be as a participant.” This highlights the impact that the club and Kicks programme has had on Josh, supporting him from being a young participant, volunteer, college student and now paid member of staff.

How has the person supported / been supported by their community?

As a former participant and now paid staff member, Josh has been supported by his community and is now also able to support participants in the community within his role. As a participant, Josh was a regular attendee at multiple pan-ability sessions and half-term camps, which allowed him to make friends, play football and build relationships with staff. This involvement inspired Josh to forge a career for himself within this area of work which led to his voluntary work, college studies and now paid work. In his current role, Josh can give back to his community by supporting young people with additional needs at our sessions. As a former participant, Josh is relatable and empathetic towards some of the challenges young people face and is well placed to support them and acts as a positive role model to many of the young people who attend the sessions he works on. Josh is also well-known to many of the parents of young people who come to the sessions who remember him as a participant, which has helped with communication between staff and parents and being able to support attendees.

What impact has their involvement with / support for community activity had on the community?

The sessions Josh currently works on provides a safe space for young people with additional needs to come and have fun with likeminded young people. Josh is a nurturing staff member and can ensure all young people are made to feel welcome, safe and enjoy themselves. Josh is viewed as a positive role model by many of the young people in our PL Kicks disability community and the journey he has come on is a shining example of what can be achieved through his commitment to volunteering and continuing his further education with our CCO and shows other participants that there are opportunities available to them if they work hard.