Hampshire FA joined forces with Aurora New Dawn, a charity supporting survivors of domestic abuse, to deliver a six-week pilot project consisting of an hour of group support delivered by Aurora, followed by an hour Soccercise led by a local female coach.
Cas, a participant who engaged with the project, found a natural ability for football, and thrived upon participating within the sessions. She was able to support other participants with their football skills through the project.
“The impact this activity has had on me has been incredibly positive, becoming more confident in myself and abilities, being able to express my feelings comfortably, re-spark football skills which I used to enjoy.
“As the exercise section is done in the second half of the sessions, it has helped me to focus and be in the moment as what is discussed can bring a lot of things to the surface and make me feel as though I am reliving the trauma, by using exercise (especially in the form of what I used to enjoy) it helps me to release some of the anxiety, stay in the moment with everyone else and it becomes a fun and enjoyable focus/memory.
“I am now looking forward more positively and have decided to gain a football coaching qualification, so I can help a local U12 girls football team. I feel as though I have a bit more control, confidence, and purpose in my life.”Dr. Shonagh Dillon, founder of the charity, Aurora New Dawn said: “Watching Cas grow through this programme has been such a privilege, she has increased her confidence even in the way she holds herself and how she speaks. When she joined her head was bowed low and she spoke very quietly, by the end of the course Cas was smiling and laughing and speaking with confidence.
“Cas’s ability to support her peers was also a really special thing to witness, she brought so much to the group and this was especially precious considering through the middle of the course her whole career was being taken away from her.
“Cas has the resilience and strength to get through anything and I am just pleased that this group supported her to focus on her journey and realise that she is worth so much. Since the group has finished Cas has stayed in touch with us and has become a football coach for an U12 girls team we sponsor. We have had feedback from the girls, the other coaches and the parents and they are all so impressed with Cas. She really is an inspiration and a true reflection of what this legacy project can produce.”
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