Young People Declan's Story I attended the AQA Unlocking Potential programme at my school Sir Thomas Boughey back in 2019/20. I’ve been in foster care for the last eight or nine years and I’ve been living with my current parents for seven years now, they’ve been really good, really supportive. The programme was really good fun right from that start and I always looked forward to the sessions. Working with Kelvin throughout the programme was great, he’s such a nice person, he really helped me and gave me loads of confidence. I also learned to be more open about things and I always felt I could talk to Kelvin about stuff as I really felt like I could trust him. I’ve never worked with someone who’d been a world champion before, it really made me feel special being given that opportunity. It felt really amazing to be able to learn from someone like him. The events we went to in Manchester as part of the programme were really good as we had a chance to meet new people and do lots of different activities together as a group. I was gutted we couldn’t go to the Zoo for the event at the end but getting vouchers instead was good. I bought some sports stuff for me and with the Just Eat voucher I treated my family to a takeaway as it’s usually them treating me and I wanted to do something nice for them. Kelvin Batey, Athlete Mentor Declan was an absolute pleasure to work with. I can’t really remember many days where he didn’t have a smile on his face which just kept everyone around him in such a good mood. His enthusiasm for the AQA program was clear right from the beginning and I’m sure with the same approach he had with our sessions, he will be successful with his career in the navy. We planned to do a social action project going into a local school to teach them about keeping active and run things like football sessions. Unfortunately though because of COVID it all got cancelled and we couldn’t actually deliver it on the day. When I heard that this year’s AQA Unlocking Potential group were helping to do up the local community centre I really wanted to get involved. I just wanted to help out and kind of finish what I started last year and give something back to my local community. After finishing college I applied to join the Navy. I’ve just passed my physical and my medical so I’m just waiting to hear from my careers officer about starting a training course. I want to join the Navy so I can have a good career, see the world and make new friends – I’m also going to be really proud to represent my country. If someone was thinking about doing this programme next year, I’d say go for it. It will give you confidence, you get to work with an athlete like Kelvin and you get to meet lots of new people too. AQA Unlocking Potential is funded by education charity AQA and each year sees 80 students from 20 schools across England receive mentoring from one of our world class athletes. Find out more about the programme here.