Looking out for our future stars
- Credit: Archant
THOUSANDS of children across the South West will be given valuable sports coaching and support this year thanks to a booming North Somerset business.
Future Stars Coaching will work with 20,000 young athletes over this academic year, providing lunchtime, afterschool and holiday sessions for those keen to progress their sporting skills.
As well as this, at-risk and under-confident children will be given support through a mentoring scheme.
Set up in 2009 by former Clevedon School pupil Ben Hazeldine, the aim of Future Stars Coaching was to ensure those taking part in local sports had the chance to advance to higher levels through links with county and professional clubs.
Ben, who now lives in Portishead, wanted to create new pathways following his experiences as a young cricket and rugby player. While he had great success at county level, he felt not everyone was given equal opportunities.
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The 28-year-old, who has been a sports coach since he was 16, said: “If you had a good coach, your club would forward you on somewhere. Other people weren’t getting that.
“I wanted to create the opportunity for everyone, children and adults, by creating better pathways and linking councils, schools and clubs.
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“The business is a business but the primary focus is to link all areas of sport together.”
In 2010, Ben was joined by his best friend, 29-year-old Dan Lawton from Clevedon, and since then the business has expanded rapidly.
In its first year, Future Stars Coaching offered sport sessions at five schools in Clevedon.
Last year it was able to work with 180 schools across North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, delivering sessions in rugby, football, netball, hockey, gymnastics and multi-sports. This is thanks to an established network of dedicated coaches and the company’s links with Bristol Rugby Community Foundation and Bristol Rovers, as well as other professional groups.
Ben said: “I had a plan but never in a million years could I have dreamt of being here with how it is today.
“It couldn’t have grown without the help of all the other coaches involved.
“If we are affecting 20,000 children this year, I want to make it more next year.”
While offering sports training, Future Stars Coaching also works with primary school children through a lunchtime initiative. This sees a group of challenging children eat lunch together while learning about manners, before taking part in team building and social inclusion activities, in a bid to improve their behaviour.
Disaffected children and teenagers are also worked with through the Jack Hazeldine Foundation, a charity set up a year ago by Ben, his dad Kim, and Dan, in memory of Ben’s grandfather.
Ben said: “He (Jack) engaged me in everything through the power of sport and nurtured me through things that way.
“Now the foundation uses the same principles, giving time to youngsters who may need some sort of support.”
The foundation provides mentors who will spend one hour each week on a one-to-one basis with youngsters who sometimes find traditional classroom settings difficult.
They will mentor them while using activities such as sport, cooking or art to inspire them and improve their confidence. This year, 16 schools have nominated pupils to be helped by the foundation.
As well as this, Future Stars Coaching is also offering opportunities to people wishing to embark on a career in sports. This year the company has taken on four apprentices from Clevedon to be a part of their coaching and mentoring team.