I’m currently doing a course at the City of Liverpool  College which is where I heard about the Get on Track programme. I’ve always been into football, but I also really enjoy playing darts and pool in the pub, all that kind of stuff.

We started the programme last year and then had a break when lockdown started but all the way through, our athlete mentor Neil has been great, he’s a really sound bloke. We did lots of stuff at the start of the programme around mental health, how to deal with life issues and things like that. It really felt like we were learning to respect people and learning to grow. As a Scouser Neil will tell it to you straight if you need to do something but he’s always keen to help people. He’s a great role model for all of us.

We’ve done loads of fitness stuff with Neil, every session he gets us doing something. He’s got us doing circuit sessions, playing table tennis and of course he took us skateboarding. If I’m honest, I never really liked doing fitness stuff but I’m 18 stone right now and know I need to get fitter and lose weight if I’m going to do the things I want to do.

Neil also introduced us to other athletes who’ve delivered sessions for us. We’ve done taekwondo with Henry Cookey and boxing with Courtney Fry. Meeting Courtney was absolutely boss! I want to be a boxer, so it was great to meet someone like that who’s achieved so much. I thought I’d blown it as the first thing I said to him was ‘aren’t you the bloke who lost to Roy Jones Jnr’ but he was great about it. Following the session at college, I’ve worked with him a bit outside of the programme, it’s amazing to think I’ve done pad work with someone who’s been a pro.

Seeing someone who’s been there and done it all, it’s great, you definitely want to listen to them. Hearing them explain that it was not easy but if you put your all into it you can achieve great things was really inspiring.

Neil Danns, Athlete Mentor

Roger has really grown in confidence as the programme has progressed and he’s really shown himself to be a strong leader in the group. He’s working on his fitness and doing loads more activity now.

I’m doing a white-collar boxing match in August to raise money for a mental health charity. I’ve been training for three months for it. The training has been so hard but I know I need to lose weight and I need to get healthier. I want to do stuff like that, and I know if I want to box, I need to get fitter.

Aside from the fitness stuff, I’ve gained more confidence on the course as well. We were all asked to do a 3 or 4 minute story in front of the group and no one else got up to do it, so I got up and did it first to show other people it wasn’t that hard. After that a few other people got up and spoke after me. It’s not just me Neil’s helped, other lads on the course have become less shy throughout the programme. Not everyone finds it easy to talk out loud and Neil has really helped with that.

Now the programme’s coming to an end, I’m a lot fitter. I’m going to the gym loads more after speaking to Courtney, I play football more again, I’m boxing 2-3 days a week, I’m just getting healthier.

It’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with elite athletes. You have to take these opportunities when you see them. I’m grateful that I got the chance to meet them, it’s been amazing for me. Not many people have this opportunity so it’s great.

I’d 100% recommend Get on Track. I’ve been to multiple colleges and schools and this course is just brilliant. I’ve learned how to speak better, become more confident and we’ve all learned loads over the last six months.

Roger 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.