Tom Jones

Kids Tri Sports

Tom Jones is a father of two primary school aged boys and a qualified football and cricket coach. In 2012, he and his friend Matt Gallagher, a primary school teaching assistant and sports coach, decided to set up Kids Tri Sports, a sports coaching business for primary school aged children.

Inspired by his lifelong passion for the benefits of development through sport for children, Tom and Matt had several long conversations about what sort of coaching business they could provide, and what they would need to set it up. Tom has a background in business and sports coaching, which combined with Matt's experience of working with primary aged children gave them the skills they needed to launch the Business.

Tom then applied for an UnLtd Award through the HE Partnership Programme at Lancaster University, and was fortunate enough to be granted a Do It Award. Tom says the money is being spent on sports equipment, marketing, branding and developing their profile in the local community. Receiving the Award has enabled them to have much better equipment at their disposal and to market themselves as a skills lead coaching provider.

In addition to the financial Award, the Partnership Team at Lancaster were able to give some assistance in plans and implementation, as the business was at a very early embryonic stage prior to receiving the Award.

The biggest challenge for Tom and Matt has been that the market place is extremely competitive:

"There's a whole range of different providers offering, what on paper looks very similar. In addition, primary schools can be notoriously difficult to gain access to. Our third challenge has been recruiting a large enough talent pool of qualified coaches in different sports."

Despite the challenges, Kids Tri Sports has run a large number and variety of sessions. These have ranged from after school clubs and taster sessions in schools, to holiday camps throughout the year, to sessions in leisure centres, and taking groups of children to football training sessions in premiership academies at Manchester City, Everton and Liverpool.

"Developing a relationship with Man City has been a real coup, as their reputation and brand presence is really powerful."

Other successess have included setting up a local community cricket tournament, and working with an independent prep school for girls. Although they aim to be inclusive for both boys and girls, most of the children attending their sessions have been boys.

Whilst much of the sports coaching has been in Football and Cricket, Tom and Matt have also begun games and coaching in other popular sports for this age group, such as dodgeball and handball.

There are many positive outcomes for the children who take part, in addition to the obvious physical health benefits of exercise. Tom emphasises the social and self-confidence impact of taking part in sports:

"We're always amazed at how quickly children welcome other children into the sports environment which we are facilitating. The games are great for teamwork, learning about winning and losing, and making friends, all of which are vital to children's development."

Kids Tri Sports initially plan to consolidate their presence in the local community in the next year to 18 months before looking to grow organically by providing quality sports coaching underpinned by their own key values. Some of their coaches have asked if they could duplicate the Kids Tri Sports approach abroad, in Australia for example.