Award-Winning Dream Team having a Healthy Impact for People in Rotherham

23rd March 2012

THE DREAM team behind Rotherham United's recent success at the Football League Awards has been working hard throughout the borough to stave off obesity and weight problems among disabled people.

Latest figures from the English Federation of Disability Sport show that only 7% of disabled people take part in the recommended weekly levels of sporting activity compared with almost 17% of the overall population. Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST) has set out to do something about this, and recently took steps to employ two disabled young people, James Gosling and Jordan Leary (both 21) as assistant sports coaches, who actually first came to RUCST to access their sessions. James has cerebral palsy and dyslexia and said he feels as though his disabilities have held him back throughout his life. I get a lot out of working here.  I've got a disability myself and I think when other people with disabilities see me teaching it can bring them out of their shell, he said. I think it makes them think that anything is possible when they see me teaching even though I have a disability.  We are all human despite our disabilities. My disability has held me back a lot.  I started off in mainstream school but left when I was 8 and went to Newman School (in Whiston) until I was 18.  Being with people a little more like me helped because I knew I wasn't going to get bullied. Jordan Leary has dyslexia and he thought that he would never make anything of himself because of the problems he faced, until he began working for RUCST. Working here is really inspiring and gives me a lot of joy.  When you are doing sessions with the group and you see them all smiling you know you have done your job properly and you go home happy, he said. I tried to get in the army when I was 17 but I failed my medical.  I was trying for about a year but didn't get anywhere.  I started to think I couldn't achieve anything. But working here has brought my confidence up.  I am trying to do the best I can and I put 100% in every day so that I can become a football coach.  As long as I am working I am happy. The two young coaches have been working with RUCST at Rotherham Leisure Complex to deliver a series of healthy living sessions to disabled people through Mencap. The group has been funded by Rotherham manufacturing firm AESSEAL, through its charitable fund with the South Yorkshire Community Foundation. Disability sports development officer, Leon Wormley, said that without the funding the project would simply not have been able to go ahead. Rotherham has got a few problems with obesity and people being overweight.  We can't just sit here and let this happen.  We need to do something about it, he said. Without the funding we would not have been able to run this project.  To a certain degree it is changing lives.  They'll remember this programme for a long time to come.  We hope to keep them moving and keep them breathing for a little longer than they might have done without it.   The project has taken the group through a practical and theory based programme, teaching basic principles of healthy eating and encouraging them to be more active in their day to day lives. It is this work amongst other activities that has led to Rotherham United being named Community Club of the Year at the Football League Awards 2012. Chris Rea, managing director of AESSEAL, said: South Yorkshire has been a great place to establish and grow a business.  Since 1981 we have consistently grown and felt it was appropriate to put something back into the area that had been so helpful in our business development. Directing the company's charitable giving through SYCF enables us to provide grant funding to grassroots groups that do valuable work to create a better future for people in our local communities. We were delighted to hear of the group's award, which was well deserved for the impressive impact being made on the fortunes of local people at a grassroots level. The South Yorkshire Community Foundation works with a range of businesses and organisations throughout the area who want to make a difference to the communities in which they operate. Pauline Grice, chief executive of SYCF, said: It is extremely inspiring to be working with organisations in both the voluntary and private sector that are having such a tangible impact upon the lives of local people. RUCST is working every day with hard to reach people in the town who are in need of support.  We are delighted that we have been able to link them to AESSEAL to help them push forward with their work. The news about their recent award success is fantastic and it is great to see that RUCST are getting the recognition that they deserve. The AESSEAL Charitable Trust Grassroots Endowment Fund for South Yorkshire is administered by South Yorkshire Community Foundation on behalf of the manufacturing firm.  Any request for grant funding should made straight to SYCF by visiting the website www.sycf.org.uk or calling 0114 2424857. To find out how you or your business can make the difference you want to see in local communities visit www.sycf.org.uk or call 0114 2424857.  

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