I’d spent 18 years as a full time athlete, including representing Great Britain at three Olympic Games and winning Commonwealth Gold in Glasgow in 2014.

At that time I was beginning to think about my career after sport and I was lucky that Dame Kelly Holmes Trust began to work in Scotland at a time that worked really well for me, doing the type of training and work that I was really interested in doing alongside coaching. The Trust came up to Scotland to link with BP and run the Glasgow 2014 BP Young Leaders Programme. The Trust ran training opportunities for athletes, to help develop them as mentors to young people. I thoroughly enjoyed developing throughout these sessions and was lucky enough to be selected to work on some of the young people programmes that followed these sessions.

My initial impressions of the Trust were very positive and I loved the energy that the staff and athletes brought to the training days. I felt that everyone was open, looking for athletes to develop themselves and there was very positive communication, through team leaders, email and face to face contact.

The transition process was great for me. I was naturally transitioning out of sport and the fact I’d been a full-time athlete for a long period of time and had many experiences, helped me to explore the many opportunities of life after sport.

The first programme I worked on in Scotland was the BP Young Leaders programme. This programme was fantastic and had excellent outcomes. This was very much directed by the Trust and BP but as athletes, I felt we could put our own stamp on it. I was pushed right out of my comfort zone when I was asked to co-run and deliver the celebration event. I loved it.

It was when I was delivering the BP Young Leaders programme in Scotland that I first met Emma Atkins (CEO of the Trust). We discussed that I was looking to make a transition from sport following the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and talked about what I was interested in. It turned out that a lot of my interests for my future linked very well with the Trust’s interests, as well as my ideas for developing young people. Emma asked if I’d be part of setting up Scotland’s first ever Get on Track programme and from there, I have been part of the Trust ever since and now I’m lucky enough to be the Athlete Team Leader for Scotland.

When Emma asked me if I’d like to run Scotland’s first Get on Track, in my own judo club, EdinburghJudo I jumped at the chance. Having never seen a Get on Track, or recruited young people, I spent lots and lots of time speaking to people on the phone, face to face and emailing people, trying to set things up. This is without doubt, one of the biggest learning curves I have ever gone through. Alongside athlete mentor, Theo Spalding, we ran an amazing Get on Track and this has definitely been one of my highlights: delivery of a very successful Get on Track programme with good numbers, great sessions and good partners in my very own judo club.

I keep reminding them that they did it, I just helped to give them the tools.

Working with the Trust has given me a huge amount of confidence. I am still in contact via a specially set up social media group with many of the young people I worked with. I feel that many of them are much more motivated to go out and do things for themselves and I still get messages saying thank you for what you did and I keep reminding them that they did it, I just helped to give them the tools they needed to be better prepared. Many of the young people I worked with were already resilient, but now they understand how to use that resilience to move forward and develop.

I’ve learned so much in my time working with the Trust. I have learned that often people just need that tiny bit of confidence, someone saying that you can, rather than you can’t, in order to realise their potential. I have learned that if you empower people and allow them to make decisions, they will do their absolute best

In addition to the above, the training and development offered by the Trust has allowed me to grow as a person and to learn things that will allow me to progress and develop as a mentor.  This is not only with young people but also now in business and I hope in the long-term, my judo club. I have also developed as a coach, as facilitator and an events planner and organiser.
I hope to continue to link the work we do with the Trust with my judo club EdinburghJudo and to be part of continually developing programmes that positively influence the lives of others.