Sport has always played a huge part in Tom O’Brien’s life, from playing with his friends to becoming a semi-professional athlete and participating in Olympic Trials, to studying for a degree in Sports Development and Management.
Aside from his studies, Tom took part in the Tackling the Blues programme in an effort to add to his learning and enhance his experience.
Tom became involved with the project in his second year and shares his experience with the programme:
“As I got involved with the programme it was something that I really started to enjoy doing. I liked engaging with the kids on the project, playing different games with them and challenging them. This helped me with my course, as part of it we had to go out to high schools to deliver coaching sessions and I felt confident doing this.”
Tom delivered physical and classroom activities to children and young people that are designed to help encourage them to talk about their emotions and mental health. Not only does the programme enhance the experience and employability of the students delivering the sessions, it is also extremely rewarding to see improvements in the children and young people participating in the programme.
“Tackling the Blues is a really good programme, you get a lot out of going to the schools and engaging with the kids, you get to run around and have fun and it really helps to take your mind off university for a couple of hours a week. When you see the change in some of the kids, it makes you feel better.”
The programme was awarded the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’ award at the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards 2016 hosted in London.