“You struggle for it, or you end up struggling”
Michael first attended our sessions on the Aylesbury estate at the age of 11. He initially engaged in the programme because he enjoyed sport and wanted to improve his football skills. It was evident that sport was his outlet and he soon became a popular member at the session and his confidence grew. Unfortunately, school didn’t see the same positive Michael that we saw and his poor behaviour led to him being sent to Nigeria at the age of 12 to learn about discipline. On his return to the UK at the age of 14 Michael’s confidence was the lowest it had been, but our youth workers spent time encouraging him to the sessions and it soon paid off when he became a regular attendee. His self-esteem and confidence was soon back to where it had been and his determination and commitment led to him volunteering with our youth workers. With this new-found confidence and enhanced communication skills Michael started completing qualifications and his knowledge as a coach went from strength to strength. With Michael at an all-time high, the #BActive programme couldn’t have come at a better time. Wanting to give back to his community and build a better future for young people in London he was looking for a way to personally develop but to also provide young people with similar opportunities to those he has been given. The initial stages of the B Active programme gave Michael an opportunity to take ownership of the programme, he worked in conjunction with Lucozade Sport to help develop the brand name, design the logo and coached on sessions across London. His volunteering had suddenly become something more, it was a passion, and more importantly it was a job. Michael has gone from a participant, to a volunteer, to a sessional coach and is now helping to change many young lives across London. Growing up in such a difficult part of London, Michael is a shining example of how sport, exercise and volunteering can help to have a positive impact on himself and the wider community. We presented the opportunities, but Michael had to work-hard to make everything happen. His dedication is to be applauded and we are excited for his bright future ahead.