University of Birmingham
Sport Community Project

Update: February 2020

"Many community leaders promote the value of sport to improve health & wellbeing and to tackle social issues. In the UK, community sport is made possible with thanks to enthusiastic, local volunteers who work hard to ensure that:

  • Sport is for all
  • People are active (Health & Wellbeing)
  • Sport is used to being the community together

Our gifts to the University of Birmingham continue to help encourage and develop student volunteers to change lives through sport. They deliver a variety of sports programmes all over the country at schools, clubs, charities and community events. This provides fantastic opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience which is crucial in a competitive graduate job market, whilst making a hugely positive impact on communities. Our gifts reward the efforts of student volunteers and support their continuing professional development and the workshops that the Adam Cole Foundation volunteers have access to include:

  • Mental Health First Aid Training
  • Sport Activator Training
  • Organising & Managing Events
  • Safeguarding young people training
  • Empowering Coaching
  • Emergency First Aid

To date in the 2019/20 academic year, 15 dedicated student volunteers have delivered almost 950 volunteering hours in the community and, on average, the students have volunteered nearly 2 hours per week, which is a fantastic achievement on top of studying for a degree and balancing other commitments such as part time work, and competing in sports clubs themselves”.

Here are testimonials from three volunteers:


"The majority of my volunteering has been at a trampolining club and, this year, our club had approximately 40 entries into the regional competition I coached at, including young people with disabilities. It’s been great getting involved with judging at competitions in a variety of roles. My favourite part has been seeing people succeed and them being happy and proud of their achievements. The Adam Cole Foundation bursary will enable me to complete my next level judging course which will mean I can judge at English level competitions for my club. Currently, we have to limit the number of entries we have because we don’t have enough judges qualified to a high enough level and you must submit a certain number depending on how many people from your club enter. Therefore it will allow more of our gymnasts to compete at an English level."

"In the future, I would like to remain involved in trampolining and volunteering at competitions, whether that’s coaching or judging and I would also like to continue volunteering at other events."


"I have been volunteering with a range of age groups and abilities, including tier 5 women’s football and a local Under 7’s team involving groups of around 15 young people 3 times a week. It has been a great opportunity to engage in my love for football by giving back to children and other young people who want to play because they share the same passion for the sport. I have learned that coaching is something I enjoy and want to continue."

"I will put the Adam Cole Foundation funding towards my FA Level 2 in Coaching Football qualification. The qualification I am currently undertaking is specifically for coaches working with female teams as part of the WHPC programme in the East Midlands, so funding the course will be a way of boosting my ability to empower not just young people but also young women to get involved or continue participation within football. The qualification will also assist me to access future opportunities to volunteer or work as a football coach within the University or surrounding areas. It will support my plans to work within football in some capacity, whether that be in coaching or similar roles. As a current MRes Exercise and Sport Science student here at the UoB (with a neuroscience BSc) I hope that developing my coaching skills will help to develop and further my niche in sports neuropsychology and neuroscience."


"In July 2019, I began volunteering with Freedom Leisure as a Volunteer Assistant Sports Coach within their Active Communities Team, who deliver various weekly sports sessions around the city of Worcester for groups of all ages and abilities. Many of these are run on behalf of Disability Sport Worcestershire for people with varying types off disabilities. Weekly, I am involved in inclusion sessions for children and young adults aged between 11 and 26 where we provide different sport activities each week to include football, boccia, volleyball and dodgeball. Between 15 to 25 people attend these sessions who have disabilities including Autism, Asperger’s, Process Delay, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Anxiety & Depression."

"I also attend football clubs and the Worcester Boccia Club and the participants have disabilities as mentioned above. One of the main outcomes I have learnt from my volunteering so far is no matter the age or ability of many of the individuals, they all share very similar passions to be active and to be able to participate in sporting activities for fun. All individuals leave sessions with a sense of pride, knowing they are part of a team and have applied themselves to the session to the best of their ability. Seeing these different motivations to get involved in sport highlights the importance of opportunities being available to all. This has also enabled me to learn how to adapt lessons and communication methods to make sure everyone gets the most out of the activity and continually feel involved in the sport."

"Since starting my volunteering, my favourite part of the sessions is knowing I am making a difference in the community to the lives of those less fortunate than myself. Watching them all interact and feel part of a team whilst playing sports reminds me of the importance of physical activity at any level and the social benefits it can have, especially for those with disabilities or low socioeconomic backgrounds. Making sure everyone feels involved and enabling them to develop their communication skills provides the individuals with valuable skills to take away from the sessions. The funding I have been provided with helps to enable me to attend the weekly sessions I do and also provided me with the ability to attend more sessions to increase my voluntary participation."

"In the future, I endeavour to increase my voluntary hours supporting the Active Communities Team by attending more sessions and getting involved in the Free Multi Sport programme they provide for children around the city during school holidays."

The Foundation has committed a total of £13,080 to this programme spread over the next 3 years.

Update: May 2013

We are continuing to support the Sports Project for 2013/2014. The objective of the project is to support local sports clubs who work with disadvantaged young people in Birmingham. Volunteer students are involved in coaching and supporting team managers within the clubs. In total this year the project has supported 12 students to develop their experience of coaching,working with an average of 154 young people each week. We have funded each student to undertake a coaching qualification to further their knowledge in sports including Football, Rugby, Athletics, as well as first aid training and child protection.

The University of Birmingham Sport/Adam Cole Foundation project was set up to support local community sports clubs that work with disadvantaged children and young people in Birmingham. University of Birmingham students interested in developing their skills and experiences as sports coaches are recruited each year. The students are supported to gain a coaching qualification via the Foundation's generous funding. In return, the students volunteer their time to coach sport while supporting the current managers within the local sports clubs.

Sports clubs were selected using research from the Birmingham sport and physical activity partnership. The research identified the clubs as being based in areas of the city that have low participation rates in sport in relation to the recommended target of 3x30mins of activity each week. The sports clubs are:

Bournville Football Club
Working with each age group between U7s-U12s, students have supported the delivery of structured coaching sessions to aid the development of the young people. Some of the students have attended the team's matches at the weekends outside of their planned placements to provide additional support and guidance. Each student has worked alongside the team managers to ensure the sessions are enjoyable, valuable and worthwhile for the young people in attendance.

Birmingham Running, Athletics and Triathlon Club (BRAT)
Students have assisted the BRAT club with their community project. The club is one of the few athletics clubs in Birmingham and provides an excellent opportunity for young people to access the sport, often for the first time.

Bournville Warriors Football Club
Located on Kings Norton Park close to the deprived 3 Estates in Kings Norton. The club has really benefited from the project with students assisting with the U10-U13 age groups. The club has recently begun using some of the University pitches for matches providing their young people with improved facilities to play their football.

The project has and will continue to hugely benefit all involved. The young people are benefiting from increased coaching and structured sports activities developing not only their sport skills, but confidence and teamwork. The students are developing their knowledge and gaining valuable experience of working with young people, helping to improve their employability for the future. Here is what some of those involved have to say:

"The best bit has been seeing the kids improve and enjoy themselves, and I've learnt more about how to deliver sessions over the time I've been volunteering. The funding has allowed me to attend the FA Level 1 coaching course. The course has really helped to develop my coaching skills and confidence when working with the kids." (Robbie, student volunteer)

"My favourite part of volunteering has been seeing the children enjoying themselves and sad to leave at the end of each session. In particular seeing kids who perhaps would not necessarily do that much sport usually, get really involved and try their best." (Beccy, student volunteer)

"His input in training with my small sided football team has been highly successful. He's introduced a couple of new training drills and the boys have taken to his methods and style of coaching exceptionally well." (Team Manager, Bournville Under 9s)

"We have really enjoyed having the support of the girls at our sessions. It's a breath of fresh air to have their input and the young people really enjoy interacting with people closer to their own age. I hope we can continue working with the University in the future." (Head Coach, BRAT Club)