Before I attended Get on Track I was playing football once a week but other than that I would spend my time playing video games at home or watching TV with my family, so I wasn’t doing a huge amount of activity.

I was diagnosed with autism when I was younger and I can also get anxious quite easily. My big passion is football and I have been playing with the Liverpool Foundation for about ten years now. I started Get on Track back in September last year. It’s been so good working with my athlete mentors Henry and Neil, I’m trying to become a football coach, so it’s great that I can tap into their experiences and their backgrounds in professional sport.

Over the course of the programme, we’ve done lots of different activities which has been great. We started off doing team building activities in the local youth centre and we also had to do a Town Task where we worked as a team finding out loads of information about Liverpool in the town centre. After that we did things like parkour at Airbourne Academy, learning to be a Ninja Warrior at Henry’s Gym and we also went to a trampoline park called Air Unlimited.  I absolutely loved Henry’s Gym. I’ve never tried that kind of stuff before, I really like trying stuff that’s new and it was really fun. Henry made it inclusive for me so I could take part at the same time as the rest of the group.

Matthew and group at Henry's Ninja Warrior gym

I was nervous about doing the trampolining session as I had injured myself on a trampoline before so nearly didn’t go, but with the help of Neil and Henry, I overcame my fears and had a really good time with the group.

Neil Danns, skateboarding champion:

He did really well, he was quite nervous at first but with a bit of encouragement he did everything he set his mind to. He has really come out of his shell and his personality has shown through.

Henry Cookey, Taekwondo champion:

He's been an absolute star on the program and been to pretty much every session. He's been a really valuable member of the team, especially during lockdown when it's been really difficult for everyone with the virtual sessions. You can always count on him to be there and give it 100% every session.

The programme’s coming to an end now and even though we’re in lockdown I’m doing Zoom footy sessions in my front room, I also did Taekwondo session with Henry, and lots of other stuff too. I’d like to give taekwondo a go, but my passion is football and I don’t want to get injured for that! I’d definitely recommend this programme to other people because you learn loads of stuff and it’s inspiring because you can learn from Henry and Neil who have won loads of medals!

Get on Track has really helped me with my confidence and teamwork skills. I enjoyed it all because it was fun and really sporty. In the future I want to go on and become a football coach, the next step is to get my Level 2 in football coaching and then hopefully move from volunteering into working with the Liverpool foundation.

Matthew attended the Get on Track for Wellbeing programme in Liverpool. 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.