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About Us

What is Sport for Confidence all about?

Sport for Confidence is a unique, award winning pioneering organisation, driving the provision of inclusive sporting opportunities in mainstream leisure facilities. People come to Sport for Confidence sessions to experience the physical, mental and social benefits of activity and exercise, all sessions are active, fun and accessible. 

Sport for Confidence programmes place health professionals and specialist coaches into leisure centres, to provide inclusive sporting opportunities to people who face barriers to participation, including those with learning disabilities, mental health issues, dementia, autism, physical impairment or disability, homelessness, and many other complex health needs. 

The role of the health professional and sports coaches ensure the environment is accessible and sessions are adaptive, making reasonable adjustments and breaking down barriers to ensure that a persons first experience is a positive one.

Attendance at Sport for Confidence promotes independence, improves confidence and self-esteem to support individuals to gain the full physical and mental benefits of physical activity. The role of the allied health professional also offers the chance to signpost clients to relevant support services in the health, sport and leisure sector.

Additionally, we work with a range of different partners, ranging from regional and national public health teams, national governing bodies of sport, local clubs, charities and many more. Our growing team of allied health professionals and specialised coaches enables us to use our knowledge, expertise and experience in a consultancy format supporting organisations strategically. Our goal is to support all of these organisations to make reasonable adjustments to ensure the provision of sport is as inclusive as possible. We deliver workshops and training to a wide range of clientele offering bespoke packages where fit, if you feel we could be of assistance to your organisation please contact us at info@sportforconfidence.com.

We have a highly experienced and passionate Board of Directors. To view the Board and find out more, please click the button below.

MEET THE TEAM

Sam Valentine
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Sam joined Sport for Confidence as an Occupational Therapist Assistant in August 2021, and is excited to continue his journey in sport and exercise. Starting out in football, Sam played and coached with players of all abilities, from toddler sessions to Development Centres. Most recently he has completed a MSc in Psychology of Sport and Exercise and researched inclusive football clubs. He has a vision to help people realise their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. In his leisure time, Sam enjoys to wind down with a good book and recharges through wild swimming.
James Adams
Occupational Therapy Assistant
James joined the team in August 2021 as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Previously, James was a gymnastics coach for almost 10 years which he enjoyed but when he heard about the opening of a role as an OTA at Sport for Confidence it was an opportunity he couldn’t miss as he has such a love of sport and a passion for helping others to achieve their goals.
Nikki West
Occupational Therapist
Nikki joined the team in May 2021 and was inspired to become an Occupational Therapist after working as a resident support worker for a healthcare trust in Hampshire. Nikki has spent almost 25 years working in Adult Social Care and also loves reading, her garden and giving lots of love to the rescue dogs she fosters.
Natasha Di Carlo
HR Manager
Natasha joined the team in April 2021 as our HR Manager. She is an HR generalist with a wealth of experience working in the HR field. During her time working as a former HR consultant, Natasha became a specialist in talent and performance management. Natasha has a deep rooted enthusiasm for workplace diversity and inclusion, well-being at work and learning and development. Natasha strives to ensure that the SfC team are happy, continuously growing and feel fully supported on each of their unique career journeys. Natasha is a keen linguistic and loves travel and exploring new cultures.
Taylor O'Neil
Coach
Taylor joined the team as a Coach in April 2021,  and always hoped a job in sport & exercise would become her forever career in some capacity. She is passionate about Dance in particular and completed her BA Hons in Dance Studies in 2016. Her aim is to make a positive impact and help others with the work she does at Sport for Confidence. Taylor is a bit of foodie and loves to travel, and jumps at the chance to visit different places and enjoy delicious food as she goes.
Siobhan Fuller
Occupational Therapist
Siobhan joined the team at the end of 2020 and heads up the model in Southend. Siobhan has worked as an OT for over 10 years and having successfully used physical activity as a tool for some of her clients as part of their neurological rehabilitation programme, Siobhan recognized the value of OT in sport and became interested in the role of an OT based in a leisure centre.
Cara McCarthy
Occupational Therapist
Before earning her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Essex, Cara lived in New York City and worked in television production and marketing for a major cosmetic’s company.  Prior to joining Sport for Confidence,  Cara worked for the NHS as a community Paediatric Occupational Therapist.  A keen runner and yoga teacher, when Cara isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family, fishing and watching her twin boys play rugby.  
Vera Loughnane
Occupational Therapist
Vera has always been involved with physical activity and gained her first degree (Sport & Physical Activity), in Ireland. Vera worked in a gym for a year, developing skills as a personal trainer, swim teacher, group fitness instructor and lifeguard. During her time working within a leisure centre, Vera decided to expand her skills and chose to complete a MSc in Occupational therapy in the University of Essex. Joining SFC allows Vera to combine her two passion of physical activity and helping others, and she'll be leading the model in Westminster and Hornchurch.
Louise Tollick
Administrator
Louise brings over 20 years of experience in admin and social media marketing having worked for a broad range of sectors including the arts, property management, recruitment and the NHS. She is passionate about fitness and encouraging more people to be active as a means to improve their mental wellbeing and self confidence as well as their physical health and hopes to help achieve that in any way she can by being a part of and supporting the SfC team.
Shannon Searle
Coach
Shannon has been performing for over 20 years now, with dance, singing and acting styles allowing her to perform in places such as Disneyland Paris, alongside working in the fitness industry. Shannon’s aim with Sport For Confidence is to help get people moving, in a fun way, and hopefully they’ll end up loving dance & fitness as much as Shannon as she knows what dance can do for your confidence!
Liz Fletcher
Occupational Therapist, Strategic Team
Liz is passionate about physical activity being inclusive for all, regardless of someone’s health condition or social circumstance. An OT since 2006, Liz has worked in various healthcare settings including forensic, community, inpatient and crisis teams. In recent years, Liz has taken a more strategic approach in imbedding physical activity into healthcare by leading projects, using research and evidence to design and deliver training and events.
Hannah Webster
Occupational Therapist
Hannah has worked in social care alongside people with physical disabilities, mental health issues and learning disabilities for 10 years. Learning through first-hand experience she is enthusiastic about sharing the range of physical and psychological benefits that come from engaging in sporting activities in a supportive accessible environment. Hannah is passionate about combating social isolation, improving lives and facilitating individuals to reach their full potential, all while having fun.
Deb Bullen
Occupational Therapist
Deb joined the team in 2019. She previously worked in the arts and photography and changed career after completing a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy. She loves all things sporty and regularly plays beach volleyball and enjoys sea swimming in her home town of Brighton. Deb became interested in the role of an OT based in a leisure centre after completing her MSc research on occupational therapy and sport, which was published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy in 2020. Deb delivers the model in Westminster and is currently helping to expand the delivery model to Sussex, where she also works part-time for the NHS as an OT in Responsive Services.
Sophie Garratt
Occupational Therapist
Sophie is an Occupational Therapist who has ten years of experience in the healthcare sector. She is passionate about encouraging individuals to access their local leisure centres as a way of improving both their health and wellbeing. Sophie spent sixteen years at a dance school which enabled her to learn new skills, make friends, relieve stress and have fun! Sophie recently trained as Mental Health First Aider and has a good understanding of the psychological benefits linked to engaging in physical activity. She is excited about being the first Occupational Therapist to work in a Westminster Leisure Centre!
Megan Potts
Occupational Therapist
Megan has a BSc in Psychology and a background in amputee rehabilitation. Whilst Megan was completing her master’s degree Occupational Therapy, she was introduced to Sport for Confidence and witnessed first-hand the positive physical, mental and social impact it has on the service user’s health and well-being. This then led her to volunteer at Sport for Confidence alongside studying. Since qualifying Megan has then worked as an OT in the community learning disabilities team. Meganis an avid runner and an aerial circus performer in her spare time, she has always valued the importance of participating in physical activity in creating a balanced lifestyle.
Dan Black
Director
Dan brings to the table twenty years’ experience of creating high quality branding and graphic design. Dan shaped the Sport for Confidence brand to cleanly articulate the core values of the organistion. Dan is the founder and Creative Director of Detail Design Consultants; a dynamic Leatherhead-based design consultancy dedicated to delivering the very highest quality branding and design solutions across a wide range of media.
Steve Mitchell
Non Executive Chairman
Mitch is focussed on the development of people in, through and across sport. A passionate believer in the importance of high quality education, Mitch’s wealth of experience includes designing the AASE programme in 2004 across 20 sports. Further to this Mitch is a Board member of Active Essex, the County Sports Partnership for Essex.
Jake Turner
Director of Operations
Jake has a FdSc in Analysis & Intervention in Intellectual Disabilities after studying at The Tizard Centre, Kent University. Jake has gained many years of experience working with people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions & physical disabilities across a range of different challenging settings. Jake joined Sport for Confidence as a Practitioner over 4 years ago and has recently progressed to Director of Operations. Jake is a keen sports enthusiast and aims to deliver therapeutic interventions for individuals through physical activity ensuring anyone's first visit to a leisure centre is a positive experience.
Tom Doughty
Head Coach North Essex
In his full-time role at Sport For Confidence, Tom will oversee coaching at Witham, and will also supervise Colchester and Clacton programmes and coaches, working alongside an allied health professional. Tom coaches a range of sports including multisports, boccia, swimming and dodgeball. In addition to coaching weekly sessions, Tom is also responsible for engaging with local community groups including GPs, nursing teams, carers, and schools.
Jack Edgar
Head Coach
With an impressive array of coaching qualifications in a wide range of sports, Jack is responsible for the development and implementation of the Sport For Confidence coaching programme and the mentoring of Grant and our newest apprentice Fanuel. Together the team work to ensure the programme remains progressive and encourages core skill development, social integration and fun.
Dr Anna Pettican
Occupational Therapist & Projects Manager
Anna qualified as an occupational therapist in 2003 and then practiced predominantly in mental health.  She is passionate about inclusive sport and in 2019 completed a PhD at the University of Essex, which explored the nature and value of participation in a community football project for people with mental health problems.  Anna combines her work at Sport for Confidence with a research role at the University of Essex, where she works as part of a team evaluating the Essex Local Delivery Pilot.
Lucy Goldup
Occupational Therapist, Clinical Supervisor and Training Lead
Lucy has worked as a qualified Occupational Therapist for the last 9 years in Learning Disability and Mental Health Services. She has a passion for working within the Learning Disability field and believes that activity and accessing mainstream services attributes to individuals health and well-being. It allows individuals to develop important life skills as well as having a positive impact on their self-esteem and confidence. The sports for confidence initiative plays a key role in this.
Katie Lewis
Communications Consultant
Katie has spent the last 20 years working in sport and leisure and the last 14 years specialising in delivering communication strategies to brands in these sectors. With a personal passion for sport, Katie has an ambition to get more people, more active, more often – a perfect fit with Sport For Confidence! Katie is on board to communicate programme successes to key stakeholders including leisure operators, participants, carers and healthcare professionals.
Lyndsey Barrett - Sport for Confidence
Lyndsey Barrett
Director and Occupational Therapist
Lyndsey has 20 years’ experience as an active Occupational Therapist working with people with learning disabilities, Aspergers and mental heath issues. It was her love for sport that planted the idea of sport as a tool for assessment and developing life and social skills with her clients. Lyndsey has grown Sport for Confidence from just one participant to where it is today. But she won’t stop there, Lyndsey is committed to seeing an OT in every leisure centre in the country.