I started on the Get on Track programme at the end of March 2021. At first I was a bit dubious, as I’ve been through a lot in my life and so I’d kind of isolated myself a lot at that point, I kept myself to myself and was just happy being with my girlfriend and my stepson.

Going back a few years I had an accident while training in the Army and because of this I developed epilepsy which led to me being medically discharged from the Army. I’d been planning to do a full term in the Army and get qualifications, but I was also bullied during my time there, so it felt like my life goals were shattered. After leaving the Army, I also suffered a nasty back injury at work which still affects me now and meant I couldn’t work and couldn’t stay active in the way I used to. Some days I can’t get out of bed because of it. I used to be really fit and be in the gym 24/7 but I can’t do that anymore.

When I first came on the programme, I didn’t have a camera, I didn’t talk much and I didn’t really contribute. As the sessions went on though I became more comfortable and when my athlete mentor Kelvin shared his story, I recognised things about myself in that and it opened my eyes a bit. I’d got myself into a place where I thought bad things always happened to me, but listening to Kelvin, it made me realise other people have problems too and if they can overcome them, then so can I.

As others in the group started to open up, so did I as it really felt like we’d all become a lot more comfortable around each other. Everyone is fantastic in the group, they’re all friendly, open and fully invested in what we’re doing.

The activity sessions we do on the programme are good as it helps it loosen my back up and I love keeping active if I can. We’ve done some great sessions, for example it was really good doing some taekwondo moves with Henry Cookey recently but any of the activity stuff like planks, wall sits or press ups I really enjoyed!

Doing the programme over Zoom has been really good, the fitness sessions have worked really well, and I think whatever you put into it, you’ll get just as much back, whether it’s on Zoom or in real life. The programme has definitely helped me to be more positive about things rather than thinking ‘why do things always happen to me?’, I am now more grateful for the things I have.

For our social action project we decided to combine physical activity with doing some good, so as a group we’re walking over 100km over the week and litter picking as we go, raising funds for FareShare and the Freya Bevan Fund. This is something I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing if it wasn’t for this programme but it’s a sign of how my mentality has changed because of Get on Track.

Working with Kelvin has taught me to see things more positively, something which I really wasn’t able to do before this course. I’ve learned loads of social skills as well through working with Kelvin. In the past I’ve seen psychiatrists and mental health experts and I haven’t got anything from it but working with Kelvin has been different as we understand each other more and as a result mentally I’m in a much better place, 100% better.

Overall attending Get on Track and having Kelvin as a mentor has been fantastic, Mentally I’m so much more positive now and I know if it wasn’t for coming on this programme I’d still be really down.

Connor attended the Get on Track for Wellbeing programme virtually. Thanks to funding from Sport England, we are working with 700 young people in coastal communities all across England to help them become more active. Participants on this virtual programme were all  referred by the DWP and the programme was run in partnership with Swale Leisure.