Rebecca’s Story: Inspired through the Trust’s Premier League Kicks programme

A student at Tupton Hall School, Rebecca is currently in Year 8 and finding herself at home with her four siblings being taught online. Rebecca has had a difficult start in life; her father passed away when Rebecca had just turned eight. In the few years after, she lacked confidence and tended to shy away from social groups, spending more time with her own siblings and wider family. She also took on a lot of responsibility looking after her young siblings.

During school holidays, Rebecca usually spent time “on Netflix or playing with Ella”, her step-sister. She’s started reading the Twilight novels but finds, particularly in the holidays and in evenings, more of her time is taken up with those things than social activity.

Rebecca thinks that football is “alright” but it’s not something she would usually take part in. With a bit of caution at the stadium, described simply as “huge”, she got involved with PL Kicks Camp Inspire during the summer, encouraged by her mother, who works at the Trust’s Chester’s Den play centre and her Uncle Darren, who works as part of the Trust’s Sport and Activities team.

Camp Inspire was set up for children to come and take part in a variety of different activities, generally those who were vulnerable or wouldn’t ordinarily come to summer camps.

Rebecca jumped straight in. “I made new friends and did loads of fun things I never thought I’d get to do, like target practice games and it was like Army games with Oli, who was a really nice coach,” she said. “Oli’s sessions were really fun. I also got to run around the pitch, which I was really good at.”

She continued: “I made friends with people I wouldn’t normally talk to, which was really good.” Nikki, Rebecca’s mum said: “She opened up to people that she wouldn’t normally have the confidence to speak to.”

When Rebecca wasn’t at Camp Inspire, she said she would be “cleaning the house, watching Netflix and being bored all day”. How about when she attended Camp Inspire? “It was really fun because I was out all day and it made me sleep more at night as I was tired from doing activities during the day,” she said.

With her new-found confidence, Rebecca tried our PL Kicks Roller Skating session on Thursday evenings, something she hadn’t done before. “I got better at it the more sessions I came to and I want to come back after lockdown,” she explained.

“I liked having the chance to do something other than sit around. It was really fun because I got to be with Ella and got a break from looking after my younger sisters at home.”

Before getting involved with PL Kicks, Rebecca said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to be when she grew up. Asked now, she says she wants to be an actress.

She says that Camp Inspire and roller skating has helped her, adding: “Trying different things has helped massively with my confidence.” When asked about being interviewed for a case study, Rebecca said: “I felt comfortable being invited and it’s been absolutely fine – not scary at all.”

At the Trust, we’ve watched Rebecca grow as a young person during her time with us and it’s been a rewarding process to be part of.

Mum Nikki summed it up perfectly, saying: “Before Rebecca got the opportunity to join in with PL Kicks, she was a really shy girl who lacked a lot of confidence in herself and struggled to open up to people with how she was feeling and what was bothering her.

“This mainly came from losing her dad five years ago. She was then given the opportunities with PL Kicks to do things she never thought she would do, from learning new sports to meeting new people.

“She learned it was okay for her to show all her different emotions, that it was okay to speak to people about how she was feeling. Most of all if gave her confidence, it gave her freedom and it taught her skills and abilities she didn’t know she had.

“These have stuck with her; now she shines, she enjoys life and her confidence keeps growing. I truly believe that without PL Kicks she wouldn’t be who she is today.”