Jamie got thrown out school when he was 15 and subsequently spent the next few years taking various drugs and alcohol. He was motivated to straighten out when he went on a volunteering programme in South Africa, where he worked with homeless and primary school children using football coaching. On his return, he knew he needed to get his life on track and believed football had the power to help him.
He was engaged through the Street League program, which uses football as a way to engage at-risk young people who are NEETS (not in employment, education or training) and re-enter them into society. Something clicked and he succeeded, receiving a 1 week work experience placement with The Spartans Community Football Academy. He was so impressive that he was kept on as a full-time youth worker.
At Spartans, Jamie works with a wide variety of young people from all different types of backgrounds. He is always developing different skills and abilities and believes that’s largely down to the fact he always want to learn and always want to be better and improve, both as a youth worker and a person. He’s deeply committed to using football as a tool for change in disadvantaged communities because he’s learned first-hand what it can do for someone who has fallen through the cracks.
As a result of CAC’s Community Impact Coach Initiative he joined Fatma by helping at a CAC program in India and then showed his colleagues what he had learnt. This program focused on gender equality and health and wellness and educated 26 youth leaders in Bangalore and directly impacted 2,083 youth in school. At the Beyond Sport summit Jamie facilitated a session and presented an award during the ceremony. The MJYL leadership sessions have improved his ability to lead the young people he works with. For example he used a leadership qualities exercise thanks to MJYL. With the support of his local organization Jamie has run youth clubs for over 150 children and served breakfast for over 60 disadvantaged people. As a result of ongoing communication with CAC and access to their curriculum Jamie has been designing his own sport for development games which has led to his boss’s interest in starting to use them in their programming.