A formerly homeless man who now runs a successful sports scheme for young people has won a grant to help continue the good work.
Rob Flynn, 22, who lives in Bower Street, was inspired to set up Sporting Edge after sport helped keep him on the straight and narrow during his own teenage years.
But an overriding feeling that, with just a little bit more support, Rob could have made it even further in sport, he set up the scheme to help young people achieve their full potential as professional coaches.
Rob, who attended Mark Rutherford Upper School and lived at Bedford Foyer when he was made homeless two years ago, said: “With the young adults that we work with that have left school and are in an unemployed they say that they don’t get to do a great deal during the day. With the schemes we try and raise their wellbeing and self esteem.”
He added: “Everyone is welcome too, what we try and do in the schemes is fix people up with clubs so that they can continue playing the sport. I’m currently in talks with the University of Bedfordshire’s dodgeball team about staring a junior club too.
“When the stuff happened in my childhood I could have easily gone down the wrong path. There were bad times, but then I just took myself down to the football club and got playing. I wouldn’t be where I am now without sports in my life.”
In September last year Rob applied to O2 Think Big and received £300 worth of funding for Sporting Edge which primarily helps young people between 16 and 25. As part of the grant Rob also received mentoring from O2 Think Big to guide him in making his plans work.
And now that the scheme is a success, and with lots more plans in the pipeline, the firm have given him a further £2,500 to further the enterprise.
He said: “The reason that I wanted to start Sporting Edge is that I’ve experienced first-hand what an amazing difference being involved in sport can make to your life. I grew up in a deprived area and had a tough time when I was growing up, and sport was what got me though.
“I realised how much sport has helped me throughout my life and wanted to give something back to the community in the hope that I can do the same for others. Sporting Edge helps to get people out of the house, off the streets, and into a structured routine of sessions.”