A photo of our first cohort on our new Disability Coach Mentoring programme

Success for SHCFA Disability Coach Mentoring Programme

New programme supports 18 aspiring coaches take first steps into coaching

The Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA welcomed its first cohort onto its new Disability Coach Mentoring Programme last month, with 18 aspiring coaches successfully completing both the programme and the England Learning ‘Introduction to Coaching Football’ course.

The free programme was designed for coaches with a disability and included a series of face-to-face workshops and networking opportunities.

The group, also called the 24s, spent several weeks building relationships, skills, and confidence to take the first step on their journeys to becoming coaches.

Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director, Rachel Habergham, was in attendance to support the programme. 

She said: “It’s a programme that enables [participants] to actually meet new people and develop their coaching skills in a safe environment.”

The impact of the programme has already been seen locally, with 11 of the coaches who completed the programme now actively coaching at clubs.

Richard, from the vision-impaired parent group ‘Focus for Vision’, joined the course to coach visually impaired children in goalball, cricket, and football. 

“I can't believe I could do it. I've been encouraged so much from the mentors and the people who are also on the course. It's just made me believe in myself more and give more confidence to go forward.

“If you would have said ‘Would you done this five years ago’, I would never dreamed of doing this. It was through other people who encouraged me by saying ‘come on, you can do it’, and I did it and this is what I am today. I can't believe it.”

Participants from a variety of backgrounds took part in the program which culminated with an awards ceremony at Woodburn Road Athletics Stadium. Alana, 16, was one of the successful graduates.

She said: “We heard about the programme through Julie who introduced it to us, and it's been a brilliant experience to get to know everyone and learn so much about being a coach.”

While on the programme, the group have been guided and supported by Disability & Inclusion Officer Julie Callaghan in learning how to coach and lead training sessions locally. Rachel describes her as an “absolute star”.

“She is so good at bringing different people together to make things happen.” Rachel added. “She’s done masses to get the programme running.

“It isn’t just about them walking away to go their coaching qualifications. This is about providing them with a network that means they’ll build their confidence even more and be able to coach and keep that going in different clubs around our county.”

If you’re interested in taking part in a future cohort of the SHCFA Disability Coach Mentoring Programme, you can express your interest by contacting Julie Callaghan at Julie.Callaghan@SheffieldFA.com or 07736 946696.

Written by Dan Hickey