The Story Homes school sports programme has been helping local children to discover a love of sport for more than a year now, but it’s not just the children who have received great opportunities.
Megan Cook, 23, is a coach working on the scheme. Employed by Cumbria SPAA Foundation who manage the scheme for Story Homes, Megan has been able to find her dream coaching job. And her new career is a million miles away from her previous 9-5 admin job.
Megan said:”I have always loved sport and after I graduated in 2010 with a BA (Hons) Physical Education I didn’t know what I was going to do. I originally wanted to be a PE teacher but I went off that idea. I was already heavily involved in sports coaching locally on a casual and voluntary basis but I couldn’t find a full time role in sports coaching.”
“I took a job as an admin assistant in a local office. I was still spending all of my free time coaching for youth clubs and charities and I was also heavily into sport myself when I had the time. I already had links with SPAAF through my casual coaching work so when the sport delivery was transferred from the local council to SPAAF in 2012, I found out there was a full time opportunity for me to be a coach and I jumped at the chance.”
Megan, who was a pupil at St Margaret Mary’s and then Newman Schools, admits that she played ‘anything and everything at school, enjoying netball, football, hockey, rounders, cricket, tennis, rugby and athletics. Carlisle born and bred, Megan is delighted to be working on the Story Homes sports scheme in nine schools in the city. Each week, Megan works with hundreds of children in the nine schools, teaching them team sports and athletics activities.
She said: “The Story Homes scheme provides many children with the chance to learn and play a variety of sports, which they may otherwise not have had the opportunity to do so. I particularly like how it is focused on playing sport and getting children active, which is something I think children today lack. I would have loved to have had this experience when I was at school. At the Story Homes sports festival last summer, it was great to see that a lot of children have benefited from the scheme and they were able to have fun and compete using their new skills.
“I would love to see the scheme expand to include more schools and children, not necessarily just within the Carlisle area. I would also hope for another fantastic sports festival for the Story Homes scheme schools that we had last summer.”
Megan added: “Working with children can be very rewarding and very challenging. When I was younger I loved sport and being active and I really like how I can maybe influence children to feel the same way. Now more than ever, I feel that children should be more involved in sport and exercise and it is great that I can maybe help them to do so. I really enjoy helping children to learn new skills and I like the variety of being able to teach different sports to different age groups, even though it is challenging. When I was at school, one of my teachers made a real impact on me and encouraged into hockey, a sport I still play now. I hope that my role with SPAAF on the Story Homes sports scheme can help me to influence and encourage children in the same way.”
For more information about the Story Homes sports scheme, please visit: http://www.cumbrianspaaf.com/