A young coach from Rotherham has been recognised for his work within the community by being named South Yorkshire Disability Coach of the Year.
Jack Pitchford (17) was chosen by a panel to be the recipient of the South Yorkshire Sport award after being nominated by colleagues at Rotherham United Community Sports Trust where he is an apprentice.
Jack initially became involved with the Trust as a participant at the clubs Disability Development Centre where he actively recruited other people to join the session and his efforts were recognised by being offered an apprenticeship.
He now coaches 30 hours a week in school and community sessions and has helped continue the growth of the Disability Development Centre that has two open age teams and two under 16s teams with 50 people attending each week.
His work has also seen Jack deliver multi-sport sessions to disabled young people and he has supported a programme targeting disabled adults to help them lose weight.
Jack was described as an “inspiration and role model to both the disabled children and adults he coaches” by those who nominated him.
“I was really pleased when I found out the news,” said Jack.
“It was a huge surprise to me as I didn’t know I had been nominated for the award. I have won employee of the month before but never anything on this scale and it’s great to think I have been awarded this ahead of so many other coaches.
“Jack is a thoroughly deserving winner of the Disability Coach of the Year Award,” said South Yorkshire Sport coach development manager, Laura Allen.
“He has a passion for coaching and he’s able to translate that enthusiasm to the participants and the variety of coaching initiatives he has been involved in at such a young age is testament to his commitment.”
“We’re very proud and honoured to have Jack working for us,” added Jamie Noble, head of community at Rotherham United Community Sport Trust.
“He works incredibly hard to develop himself and this award proves that hard work really does get rewarded.
“Jack is a great role model, not just because of his disability which doesn’t stop him in any way, but because he decided that school wasn’t for him and went down the apprenticeship root which has proved works for many young people as an alternative to higher education.”
Jack will now be put forward to a panel of judges as South Yorkshire’s entry for the national Sports Coach UK Disability Coach of the Year award.
Nominations are now also open for South Yorkshire Coach of the Year and Coach Developer of the Year. Visit www.sysport.co.uk to nominate for the awards on or before Sunday 26 July.
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