Undergraduate Sports Development and Management student, Matthew Cunliffe, who developed his passion for sport at university has now taken this into his job at St. Helen’s Council Youth Service where he coaches children and young people. Whilst studying for his degree, Matthew became involved in Tackling the Blues, which he says gave him the skills and experience to secure a successful career in sport.
Matthew started as a Coach and Peer Mentor on Tackling the Blues in his first year and has continued on the programme ever since. He delivers physical activity and classroom-based activities to children and young people that are designed to help encourage them to talk about their emotions and mental health. Matthew believes the valuable experience he received from Tackling the Blues has been vital in securing employment.
“The programme has been great for gaining valuable experience and enhancing my skills that I can use in my job roles. Starting university I had no experience and very little confidence to go and deliver sessions to children and young people, so I saw Tackling the Blues as a great opportunity to enhance these skills, gain valuable experience in sport, and also learn more around mental health. I believe that my involvement in Tackling the Blues has given me the knowledge and skills to go and coach children and young people.”
As well as working with St. Helen’s Council Youth Service, Matthew has also completed several mental health and suicide prevention awards, a Level 2 Handball qualification, secured paid work with West Lancashire College, and has worked as a Coach for Kings Camps and an alternative education provider. The skills Matthew has gained from his experience with Tackling the Blues has made all these opportunities possible, and he strongly recommends students to get involved with the programme:
“Gaining experience in sport is valuable, but sport and mental health is a big area at the minute and all employers are very interested when you mention the project and want to know more. Being involved with the project is very rewarding and enjoyable, it doesn’t take up lots of time either … Being involved in the project will give you valuable experience and open many doors in and outside of Edge Hill University and Everton in the Community.”