A London junior football club is using Mayor's Sports Legacy funding to upskill a parent and provide the club with coaching expertise for the next decade.
Welling Wanderers provides football playing opportunities for about 200 seven to 17 year olds. All but one of the 10 coaches are parents of the players who volunteer at least one weeknight and Saturday morning each week to train their team. Among them is Gurjit Ghag, who got involved in the club through his three sons.
"I always attended my boys' games on Saturday mornings, so I thought 'Forget watching from the sidelines, why not get involved?'" he said. "I started out as assistant manager for the under 8s and then began running the under 7's and under 5's."
Welling Wanderers uses a grant from the Football Foundation to train up coaches in the Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Football, which provides them with basic coaching skills. But finding the money to take someone as enthusiastic as Gurjit to the next step on the coaching ladder was a challenge for the volunteer-run club.
Fortunately, it heard about the Mayor's Sports Legacy Fund. Led by SkillsActive's National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, the programme is part of the Mayor's plan, 'A Sporting Future for London'. It provides up to 75% off the cost of training to increase the number of Londoners working and volunteering in the sports sector, and up-skill those already involved. All funding recipients need to do in return is volunteer their new found skills in their local community.
Gurjit was one of the first people to benefit from the programme when he started his Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Football in October 2010.
"It's a big step up," he said. "I'm learning about professional football techniques, how to plan, conduct and evaluate coaching sessions, as well as how to keep my players safe on and off the field."
Funding recipients have six months to complete their verified volunteer hours. Gurjit is on track to complete his 20 volunteer hours, based on a 75% subsidy, in just two months.
Welling Wanderers club secretary Jim Jackson says Gurjit is a great coach who gets the best out of his players.
"He's a real asset to us - even more so now he's doing his Level 2 because the more he knows, the more he can pass on. Gurjit will stay with Welling Wanderers until his last son is through, so this is an investment in our players for the next 10 years. That's your 2012 Olympic Games legacy right there."
Welling Wanderers is now looking to send Gurjit on additional training so he can become the club's youth development officer. Gurjit says he is looking forward to identifying and nurturing players to bring the best out of them: "For one of our club members to make it all the way would be amazing. It would be a dream for us to produce the next David Beckham."
"Or Chris Powell," added Jim.