Jess Ennis and Darren Campbell are the main mentors, but there are a whole host of mentors from various sports across the board. Please see the website for more info.
Fionnuala O’ Hagan, St Mary’s Grammar School
Winner Northern Ireland region
Fionnuala has a rare genetic eye condition called Achromatopsia and is registered blind. The condition means that Fionnuala has no colour vision, poor acuity and depth perception and is extremely photophobic. She has to wear dark tinted prescription glasses to have any degree of visual function and has to work extremely hard to take in the visual world around her.
Having Achromatopsia means that although Fionnuala loves sports, she is unable to compete with her sighted peers. She has often felt incredibly frustrated and disappointed at her lack of success, especially in team and field sports which commonly are fast paced and played in large bright areas. This had a negative effect on Fionnuala’s confidence and self esteem.
Her mum played Irish sport, Camogie, for several years and it was hard for Fionnuala to not be able to take part in a sport that meant so much within her family.
St Mary’s Grammar’s Sky Sports Living for Sport project was designed to improve fitness levels and the development of a healthy lifestyle and involved St.Mary’s Year 8 pupils. Fionnula was chosen for the project in order to help boost her self confidence and encourage her to take part in sports despite her difficulties. She was extremely enthusiastic and looked forward to the session each week. The small things counted for her; not getting picked last, making a good pass and, most importantly, enjoying sport!
As a result of the project, Fionnuala’s self esteem had a massive boost and she even had the confidence to train with the first year girl’s Gaelic football team and play a match with them.
John McElholm, a teacher at St Mary’s Grammar School, commented: “Despite her struggles Fionnuala has always remained positive and is a pleasure to teach. She is passionate about sport so we wanted to support her in getting involved with the school’s sporting activities. The Sky Sport Living for Sport project really has encouraged her to take part and she has enjoyed every second of it. The difference in Fionnuala is incredible and we are hoping for even more success and personal growth for her in the next school year.”
Name of pupil
Dates of participation
Feb 2012 – Jun 2012
Frederick Gent School
Reason for delivering*
Improve engagement in school
Iqra Shah, Frederick Gent School
East Midlands Regional Winner
Frederick Gent School’s Sky Sports Living for Sport project was aimed at Year 10 girls who had been identified as disengaged with school life and disruptive to others. A group of 12 girls, including Iqra Shah, were selected to take part in the Success through Sport project, and received a visit from Athlete Mentor Anthony Clark who motivated them with an inspirational talk about how sport can improve all areas of life.
The girls worked together to identify a sport they all wanted to learn and they quickly chose Zumba, a form of dance fitness. Working with PE and support staff, the girls organised and took part in six after school Zumba sessions. The girls were so inspired by the classes that the sport was put onto the school curriculum for the rest of term.
There was a noticeable improvement in all of the girl’s attitudes both in lessons and around school, but one girl in particular, Iqra Shah, showed a marked change in her behaviour. A second visit from Anthony Clark inspired Iqra and her project group to go one step further and a sponsored Zumba session for charity.
Iqra, who was previously disruptive in lessons and had poor relationships with members of staff, showed a fantastic improvement in her leadership skills and commitment to achieving goals. She was always on hand to inspire the group and persevered when things didn’t go according to plan as she was determined to raise as much money as possible for charity.
As a result of her improved attitude, Iqra’s attainment and effort grades have noticeably risen and she has a much more positive outlook on school life. Her organisational skills have greatly improved and teachers were able to rely on her to create action plans for the charity event and ensure they were carried out successfully; something they would not have been able to do before the project. Her achievements were recognised by the school at an awards evening, where she was awarded a prize for her efforts in PE.
Mr Daniel Thompson, Head of PE at Frederick Gent School, commented: “Iqra Shah has shown so much enthusiasm and commitment to this project and, although all of the girls did a great job, it is Iqra’s progress that has been the most noticeable both in the classroom and throughout the school day. I firmly believe that this is as a direct result of Sky Sports Living for Sport and the sense of responsibility it gave Iqra which truly brought out the best in her.”
Name of pupil
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