Support for Young Leaders

Horsham District Sports Development supports young leaders in a number of ways - helping to link them up with community groups (eg sports clubs), supporting Sports Development's community coaching team and helping them to train and develop. If you think we can help you please contact Ian Ford

Training Opportunities

SportsLeadersUK is the lead organisation for training and development of sports leaders in this country

News Articles

June 2020 - Focus On Callum Budd As a Young Coaching Role Model

Callum Budd started engaging with the Horsham District Sports Development (HDSD) team at the age of 11 as a participant. Since then he’s progressed along the sports leadership pathway, shed his shyness and developed into a confident and capable coach. He originally attended what is now known as the Reaching Higher Project, a programme that offers sports and arts activities for disabled children and adults. He’s also been a regular in the Forest Flyers Disability Football Club and was a member of the Yankees team at Horsham Junior Baseball Club.

Whilst at Manor Green College he did his work experience with HDSD and his passion for coaching was ignited. He began volunteering at various sessions, both disability and mainstream, but some of his favourites were refereeing at school football tournaments. He’s subsequently become a qualified ref.

Additionally he is a staff member on Horsham Wheels for ALL inclusive cycling programme and assists at Reaching Higher Archery sessions. Under HDSD auspices he’s been mentored by experienced coaches as well as receiving additional training to support his learning and development.

Football has always been his passion. He is a season ticket holder at Brighton and Hove Albion, plays for their Cerebral Palsy team and their elite disabled team, which led to trials for the England CP team. He became an FA Level 1 qualified coach and will soon be doing his Level 2. In addition, he now coaches for Albion in the Community and most recently, he became the assistant manager of the Horsham Sparrows U10’s football team.

When asked what he enjoys most about his coaching role Callum referenced ‘seeing the smiles on all the faces’. Key learning point has been ‘patience and the enjoyment of making others happy’. He finished by saying ‘without HDSD I wouldn’t have gained the confidence to do it especially given my learning difficulties and right-sided cerebral palsy’.

Well done Callum. Keep up the fantastic work.

June 2020 - Focus on Tom Sikora – Rising Young Sports Leader

16 year old Tom Sikora from Horsham is cutting a great reputation for himself as a talented sports leader. As well as undertaking a BTEC sport course at Collyer’s Sixth Form Tom’s become an integral part of Horsham District Council’s sports development team including delivery on weekly evening sessions at Kingslea School for football and Southwater Youth Club, as well as sport, art and play camps in school holidays and the occasional primary school multisport day. Yes he’s walked the walk, not just talked the talk, by gaining lots of experience to complement his classroom learning.

Tom’s favourite sports personally are football and dodgeball and he’s had plenty of opportunities to channel those particular enthusiasms to the benefit of younger children through his leadership and officiating of them, especially on the holiday camps that he considers his forte. Whilst the coronavirus has put his sport and volunteering passions on hold he’s managed to keep himself sharp for the soon hoped for de-freeze by doing lots of running.

Asked to comment on what he particularly enjoys about sports volunteering Tom said, “It’s great meeting lots of new people. I think my enthusiasm is a big quality that shows through in my work. My confidence has really improved and having to present myself to groups of children has helped me to become a better talker generally! I’m really hoping the skills and experience I’ve gained will give me the platform to develop a career in the sports industry after I finish my education.”

Keep up the good work Tom, the HDSD team really appreciates your efforts!

September 2019- Sussex Young Coach Academy Open for Applications

The Young Coach Academy for Sussex is back! The Youth Sport Trust have relaunched the programme this year and have aim to target at least 30 young people between 14-19 yrs of age (in particular girls!)  who show promise in leadership and / or coaching in your schools, clubs and / or local sports clubs. The YCA (Young Coach Academy) is about harnessing that passion and enthusiasm shown by your young leaders / coaches and taking them a step further on the coaching pathway.

Applications have a set a deadline of the 8th November for the students to return the applications.  They must be returned to or posted to Mid Sussex Active, St Pauls Catholic College, Jane Murray Way, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 8GA. The students will be notified by the 22nd November to let them know if they have been successful with their application. There is a small cost attached to the programme (£50), but any students who may struggle to afford this can approach Holly Prescott for bursary assistance.  Apply here.

September 2019-Biggest Ever FA Leadership Academy Launches

Ahead of the season-opening FA Community Shield, the FA welcomed the Youth Leadership Academy class of 2019-20 to St George’s Park.

A record number of 60 young people began their year-long training with four days of workshops designed to improve their leadership skills so that both now and in the future they can make an impact on the organisation of football in this country. Forty five of the attendees were nominated by their County FAs, with the rest invited by UEFA.

The Academy thus had a strong European flavour and focused on maximising the grassroots impact of UEFA Euro 2020, which takes places in 12 different countries next summer and ends with both semi-finals (7-8 July 2019) and the final (12 July 2019) at Wembley Stadium.

The staging of UEFA Euro 2020 provides a unique opportunity to highlight the potential of young leaders both in England and across Europe.

Wembley National Stadium Trust, which derives its income from events at the stadium, have recognised the potential of the programme and invested £600k to expand our Youth Leadership and Volunteering programme and the diversity of its participants.

“This is the biggest and most ambitious FA Leadership Academy we’ve ever delivered,” says Sarah Nickless, the chairperson of the FA Youth Council.

“I’ve seen this programme grow and evolve and the aim is to give future leaders tools to help change their local communities.

“We’re also focusing on UEFA Euro 2020. Last year, we enrolled two members from Jordan and saw a glimpse of the benefit of globalising the programme. They brought a different vibe and perspective.

“This time, with the support of UEFA, we’ve invited youth leaders from every host nation at UEFA Euro 2020.

“We appreciate their different viewpoint. At The FA, we encourage counties to help each other. Now we can get countries doing the same and this will have an impact on an even wider scale. It’s really special to see the FA Leadership Academy evolve in this way.”

Learn More here

August 2016 - Leisure Snubbed in Government Plans for Skills Shake-Up


Government plans for a major shake-up of Post-16 vocational education have been met with disappointment from the leisure industry, after the newly-proposed routes into skilled employment appeared to overlook the sector.

Skills minister Nick Boles has tabled plans to remove thousands of “ineffective courses that short-change employers and young people” and replace them with 15 “straightforward routes” into technical employment covering key industries. The recommended reforms are based on a report into technical education by an independent panel, chaired by Lord Sainsbury.

Among the new routes are Construction; Transport and Logistics; as well as Legal, Finance and Accounting; however there is no clear route for entering the leisure industry. In fact, the word ‘leisure’ did not feature once in Boles’ 60-page Post-16 skills plan, despite the £117bn leisure sector accounting for 7.4 per cent of GDP, according to Deloitte.

When contacted by Leisure Opportunities, a department for education spokesperson said that the government has included leisure industry jobs in the 15 Skills Plan routes, but across different pathways.

“As the routes have been developed to group skilled occupations with shared knowledge, skills and behaviour, leisure sector careers will be spread across different routes,” said the spokesperson.

“For example, jobs such as health and fitness trainers would be included within the Health and Science Route. A job such as park ranger would be included within the Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care Route.”

In response to the report and Post-16 skills plan, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMPSA) said it broadly agrees with Lord Sainsbury’s 34 recommendations for skills reform, but expressed concern that the sport and physical activity sector isn't given its own direct route within the plans.

“It is disappointing that, once again, the sport and physical activity sector and the contribution it makes to developing young people has been overlooked,” said CIMSPA CEO Tara Dillon.

“We have to make a better case for the impact our sector has on equipping young people with skills for life. The sector employs over 500,000 and is one which young people can join knowing full well there is no glass ceiling to their progression.”

Controversially, the Post-16 skills plan includes the proposal to have just one awarding organisation for each of the 15 routes. CIMSPA says it will work with the government to discuss how the sector can influence the rollout and implementation of the recommendations, but emphasised it does not wish to see “a qualifications-awarding monopoly.”

Dillon added that CIMSPA will work to ensure that, going forwards, the sport and physical activity sector plays a more prominent part in government thinking on education and skills than has been the case to date.

She added: “Tackling inactivity has been put firmly on the health and sporting policy agenda; our job is to now do the same in the area of education and skills.”

April 2016 - Luke's Progress is a Dunn Deal

Luke Dunning, from Broadbridge Heath, undertook a period of work experience with HDSD in summer 2014 and has made great strides in developing his career in sport since that time. Read on to see how he's developed and hear his gracious acknowledgement of the value his time with HDSD towards his progress.

"After my placement with the Horsham District Sports Development team (formerly Horsham Leisure Link), I took up a year placement with Sussex County Cricket Club as a Team Analyst Intern starting in June 2015.

During the placement, I have gained invaluable experience of working within professional sport which I would not have been able to do without the experience I gained at grassroots sport with Horsham District Sports Development. Due to a staffing restructure at Sussex CCC, I have also been given added responsibility of being the Head Analyst on many occasions, most notably being given the opportunity to travel with the first team for the 2016 season. This has led to me being recognised by the Head of Performance Analysis at the ECB and had me earmarked for future endeavours over the country, most notably with Northampton County Cricket Club.

There is no question that without the support and encouragement I was given by my friends at Horsham District Sports Development and the experience of working within their team, I would not have been able to achieve what I have in this placement year. During my work placement I have gained a foot onto the ladder within the sporting industry as well as developing the mentality and knowledge to succeed."

December 2012 - Young Leader Interview - Helen Cain

Cain is Able

August 2012

Horsham District Sports Development benefits from support from some excellent young sports leaders. Sports Development Officer Ian Ford caught up with one of them, Helen Cain (16), recently to interview her to find out how she was faring.

How/when did you start getting involved with Horsham District Sports development?

I started to get involved with HDSD just over a year ago when I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to select my own work experience (from Millais School) and I chose HDSD. I was a keen sportswomen who thought that sports coaching may be a career path that I would wish to follow. My work experience confirmed that sports coaching was something that I would love to do and I was then given the opportunity to volunteer with HDSD. I began with occasional events and holiday clubs and progressed to weekly clubs.

What's your personal sporting background?

When I was younger I was enrolled in numerous sports clubs from athletics to gymnastics but decided to focus on gymnastics as my main sport. I have been doing it for 11 years and have managed to reach county level in artistic gymnastics and national level in acrobatic gymnastics. I have always been a sporty person which is why I have done GCSE PE and am doing A Level PE at college in September along with a sports leadership award.

What activities have you got involved with so far?

I have been fortunate as HDSD has enabled me to become involved in numerous activities and events over the last year. I have assisted at events such as Sparks in the Park, Reaching Higher Games and Paralympic Torch Event in the Park. I help at holiday clubs/camps such as Sports and Arts Camp, Reaching Higher Days, Go Ride cycling days and athletics camps. I currently work on a weekly basis at Aiming High Dance club, Rounders Club, Athletics Mini-Startrack and Aiming High Archery Club.

Which activities have you enjoyed most and why?

If I'm honest I enjoy them all! I particularly enjoy my weekly sessions. I enjoy motivating and encouraging young people and watching them develop in ability and confidence in the sport they are doing. It's very rewarding. I love my athletics Mini-Startrack as due to having my Athletics Leader award I am given more responsibility and lead a group of children to teach them more skills. I also enjoy the holiday activities as we have more time to do new sports and the children are in a holiday mood.

What challenges has the work with HDSD presented you with?

The weather has presented us with quite a few challenges this year!

What personal benefits have you derived from helping HDSD?

I have gained enormously from helping Horsham District Sports Development and am really grateful to them. I have been very lucky to be sent on various courses e.g. first aid, safeguarding, Athletics Leader and Makaton sign language. It has been great to dip my toe in this part of the 'world of work' to confirm it's what I really want to do. I now have more confidence in my own ability and knowledge as HDSD has given me so many experiences. HDSD has also helped to introduce variety into my life as before I lived and breathed gymnastics but now I am involved in numerous different sports where I can take on different roles whether it's a sports leader role or a support worker

What personal skills and qualities do you think you have developed from your sports work?

I can see my confidence has grown. I'm happy to communicate with adults and I have developed strategies with dealing with the challenges that leading a group of children can bring.

What aspirations do you have as a sports leader?

I would love to continue down the sports leader route by applying for a degree in sports coaching and when I am 18 I would love to begin getting my Level 1 Sports coaching awards in various sports.