Football Coaching Project

Health Through Sport would take Football Coaching sessions with clients from Alternatives, who were ex-drug and alcohol misusers. It would take place every Friday from 10.00 am until 3.00 pm. It was therefore known as the Friday Club, very original !! We would raise all players fitness levels, skill, technique, football knowledge and also improve their mental health and their outlook on life. All the participants had an opportunity to take their Football Coaching Level 1 and 2 qualifications.

The Friday Club was open to all males and females who wanted to attend. Since we started 40 females have attended plus 177 males, which is very positive.

Positive Outcomes:

  • 16 trainees successfully completed Detox.
  • 40 trainees gained employment.
  • 60 trainees gained qualifications.
  • All trainees have increased their self-esteem, confidence, communication skills, teamwork, and motivation.


Merseyside Probation Service Partnership

Ronny Goodlass, Health through sport had a formal partnership with Merseyside Probation Service and was running for six years. Southwood Approved Premises got involved with Health through sport through the alternatives programme and the AP manager at the time was so impressed with the programme that a formal partnership was offered.

In these six years between 10-12 residents and staff took part every week and over 700 residents engaged in total over the six years. It allowed residents to participate in sport (football / gym / swimming) at the Austin Rawlinson Centre in Speke. The initiative developed to such an extent that participants had the opportunity to work towards an NVQ level 1 & 2. Whilst the merits of physical activity are well documented it is perhaps the less obvious and perhaps more subtle benefits that most impressed me.

The Approved Premises can be a very challenging environment and the reality is that some, if not the majority of our residents do not want to be with us, rather it is a condition of the court or their prison licence.

Engaging with the residents in a meaningful manner is a key part of the job and Health through sport has proved an effective platform to enable this to happen.

It has helped the relationships between staff and residents develop and has assisted in breaking down the barriers between “them and us” whilst there will always and indeed there should be a division between staff and residents the relaxed way the group was facilitated by Ronny gives an added dynamic to the running of the AP.

It enabled residents to see staff in a different light and has helped foster a calmer environment and has contributed to an increased level of respect between the “two teams”. Staff verses residents football games became a regular fixture in the AP calendar.

Protection of the public is the number one priority of the Approved Premises, whilst monitoring and enforcement forms part of this, rehabilitation and social inclusion also plays a part. They are very much “two sides of the same coin” to this end Ronny and his relentless enthusiasm for the programme proved key.

Health through sport ensured all offenders undergo a comprehensive induction to assess their general health and fitness before they started programmes. They also offered advice on personal health, diet, preventing injury, promote a healthy lifestyle, raise self- esteem, provide opportunities for an alternative and constructive lifestyle, endear respect to others and promote team work and self – discipline.

Fitness bleep tests and speed tests are all used to measure fitness levels as the course progresses and health through sport can demonstrate that the fitness of participants greatly improve.

Each month a player of the month would be picked by the coaches and the person chosen would receive a medal and certificate. This greatly improved the self- esteem of the person chosen and the resident group.

As each resident had the opportunity of obtaining an NVQ in coaching, during the sessions core values such as team work, discipline, communication skills and trust all of which helped the resident whilst they embarked on their journey of rehabilitation and social reintegration

As part of the resident’s social reintegration back into the community Ronny Goodlass would take a group of residents to a premier league match, he would purchase and pay for the tickets. He also introduced a match between staff and residents once a month at the DW stadium in Wigan. These games improved the relationship between staff and residents.

Health through sport motivates the residents to improve their lifestyle raises self -esteem and encourages teamwork. It was an integral and valuable addition to Southwood AP programme by providing the resident group with the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification, asking for only enthusiasm and respect in return.

The coaches at Health through sport worked with residents who were assessed as high or very high risk of harm to the public including gang members, domestic violence, lifers who have committed very serious crimes and also residents with mental health issues.

All new residents who attended the programme completed questionnaire when they started the programme and when they completed.

A brief overview of a few of the success stories that Health through sport achieved are that 5 residents gained their NVQ level one in coaching. Three keep in contact with Ronny. One of them is now a mentor for gun crime nominals and two are working. Another has joined the marines, it has shown that sport fitness self -esteem and team work can make a big difference to the path their lives can take.

It was a pleasure to have Ronny at the AP each week, some residents who have come back to the AP now in 2020 ask about Ronny and if he still runs Health Through Sport at the AP.

John Dunleavy

Probation Service Officer

Southwood Approved Premises