When I started on the Get on Track programme last November, I was already attending Blackpool College studying sports and public services. At that point I wasn’t doing much activity. I was in care at the time, and I had lots of chores to do around the house and when I wasn’t doing that, I spent most of my time on the Playstation.

We’ve done lots of different types of activity on the programme like team building exercises, and sports like football, cricket, basketball, although because of COVID we limited the amount of contact sports we played. We tended to do theory in the morning, learning about coaching styles and techniques before doing activity in the afternoon sessions.

I think the favourite activities we did were actually when we were in full lockdown and we were doing activities at home. I really like doing things like burpees and Russian twists, exercises where I could really push myself. I felt ‘dead’ afterwards, but I really like that sense of accomplishment you get after pushing yourself really hard. I’ve been doing this session where I do 120 reps of exercises first thing and then do loads of running.

I now do a six mile march every Sunday, it gives me something to do, it gives me a sense of accomplishment and prepares me hopefully for the army – that’s what you have to do to get in the US army. My quickest time is one and a half hours!

It’s been lovely working with my athlete mentor Jenna.  She’s got so much experience, is really charismatic and is great at encouraging everyone to push themselves. She makes an excellent teacher.

Jenna Downing, athlete mentor:

Thomas always went above and beyond, he really pushed himself with the fitness activities. He recognised other people and was able to give positive feedback to others which really impressed me. He is very articulate and honest with his contributions and feedback, and you can always rely on him to step up as a leader.

During the programme we also had loads of different athletes delivering sessions virtually, like the skateboarder Neil Danns and we also did a taekwondo session with Henry Cookey which I really enjoyed.

I feel like I’ve learned lots of skills on Get on Track. It’s allowed me to refine and expand on team leadership and the ability to plan sessions. I have no doubt in my leadership abilities, I’m always looking to lead, and I want to see other people be the best they can be. I can see skills other people have and I am happy to give feedback to other people.

Due to my OCD, I really value having organisation and this programme has helped me understand the best way to structure things.

When the programme finishes, I’m planning to apply to join the military. It takes about six months for your application to go through so I’m going to get a temporary job and use that time to prepare and get myself ready to join the Army.

Other than that I want to make the most of restrictions lifting and get outside as much as I can, I want to do loads more outdoor stuff such as kayaking, horse riding, and wild camping.

Even with all the COVID restrictions we’ve had over the last year, the programme has been brilliant, it’s been really beneficial and given me something to look forward to every week. I want to be the best that I can be and Get on Track has really helped me with that.

Thomas attended the Get on Track for Wellbeing programme in Blackpool where we worked with ten students from Blackpool and the Fylde College.  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.