Story added: 1st August 2017
Street Life Soccer participant to raise funds for CSF as a thank you for helping him get his life back on track.
After a difficult start to adulthood and a series of failed relationships, ex-offender Brian Cook shut himself away for almost a decade.
Struggling to find support, Brian became depressed and turned to food for comfort.
“At my heaviest, I was over 18 stone with a BMI of 33. I was a recluse. I was just so tired of getting hurt and couldn’t see a way out.
“I had spent 15 months in prison so getting work was tough and this made me sink even lower.”
In September 2016, Brian decided it was time to make a change to his life.
“My Job Centre work coach suggested I try out CSF’s Street Life Soccer (SLS) sessions so I decided to go along. To be honest, I wasn’t that keen at first as I was so unfit and I find working in groups challenging sometimes.
“But now, all these months on, I am still attending every week and I really enjoy it. The support I get from Roscoe, David and other group members is great. My team mates quite often comment on the differences they have seen in me since I started.”
SLS uses the power of football to transform the lives of people who’ve experienced homelessness and social exclusion. The emphasis is on personal development, supporting participants to positively transform their own situation.
The programme aims to build the confidence of its attendees both on and off the pitch; participants attend inspirational life skills workshops and weekly football training.
This August, Brian will take part in Run Norwich to raise funds for the Community Sports Foundation (CSF) as a thank you for helping him get his life back on track.
“Fitness has become a massive drive for me. I had heard about the Run Norwich 10k and was keen to set myself a challenge at the start of the year. When I saw CSF was one of the race charities, I decided I wanted to run for them.
“The Foundation has helped me change my life for the better by getting fitter, having a better routine, and building my confidence. They are a great charity – I just wish I knew about them years ago!”
Social Engagement Development Officer David Shade commented:
“Considering the challenges Brian was facing when he first arrived at his first SLS session, we’re incredibly proud that he is moving on with his life so positively.
“Through a mixture of his own determination and the right educational, health, job and life skills support, his future looks very different from when he first came to the sessions.”
The Foundation would like to wish Brian the best of luck on race day.
Show your support for Brian with a donation.