With a keen interest in playing sport, Harry, 21, was on the look out for opportunities to advance his game when the Danny Ings Disability Sport Project caught his eye.
The project, initially founded by former Clarets striker Danny Ings, offers a scope of multi-sport opportunities for children, young people and adults living with disabilities in Burnley and the surrounding areas.
Having contacted the club’s official charity, Burnley FC in the Community, staff suggested the Impairment Specific Coaching Centre would be perfect for Harry as a wheelchair user.
Not only would the sessions – tailored specifically for wheel/power chair users – advance Harry physically, technically, socially and psychologically; they would also allow for Harry to gain valuable volunteering experience.
Through regular attendance at the sessions and supported by BFCitC staff, Harry’s main role quickly developed to that of a mentor to younger wheel and power chair users.
Shadowing staff, Harry had the ideal opportunity to observe their coaching styles and gain significant insight into the delivery of disability sport provision.
Harry’s growing passion and enthusiasm for coaching soon became apparent and in time, Harry moved on to planning and creating bespoke ideas for the weekly sessions.
Inspired by his active involvement in the project, Harry’s next move was to complete the Prince’s Trust’s ‘Get In 2 Football’ programme, delivered in partnership with BFCitC staff. This sports leaders’ course was the first step in Harry working his way to a volunteer coaching position.
Next step? It was for Harry to complete his FA Level 1 in Coaching Football.
The qualification, funded by the Premier League and the BT Sport Disability Fund, means Harry is now qualified to deliver football sessions. With this to his name, Harry is now accessing further volunteering opportunities and is on course to enjoy a bright future in coaching.
He said: "I enjoy attending the sessions because they are fun to take part in and are a good way to socialise with other people with similar disabilities to me.
“My skills have improved, as has my coaching experience, as I’ve been encouraged to deliver my own sessions.
"When I’ve struggled to understand an activity the coaches have set, they have helped and supported me; they talk me through it, so I understand.
“I would recommend Burnley FC in the Community to others because they too could learn how to play a sport or activity they’ve never played before and be a part of something at Burnley FC.”
Disability Development Manager Lewis Rimmer said: “Harry is a shining example of our commitment to creating opportunities for our participants to give something back to their local community.
“It’s fantastic to have witnessed his journey. Having successfully passed his FA Level 1, Harry is now using that qualification on a weekly basis to assist head coaches and mentor younger participants with similar impairments to himself.
“I look forward to what Harry goes on to do next! He is an ambitious individual with plenty of motivation to go far in life. With the help of Burnley FC in the Community, this dream will become even more possible.”
Over the past 12 months, almost 1,000 people have engaged with the Danny Ings Disability Sport Project in Burnley and the surrounding areas.
With a mission to create positive spaces for people with disabilities to develop through sport both physically and socially, the project is inclusive of five Burnley Disability FC teams (including a women’s team), dance sessions, sessions tailored for those living with specific impairments including wheelchair users, sport sessions in every Special Educational Needs (SEN) school in Burnley, sessions for SEN pupils in local mainstream schools and a disability awareness programme for pupils in mainstream schools.
To find out more information about BFCitC’s Danny Ings Disability Sport Project, click here.