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ACE Aware Wales to deliver ACE’s & Sport Training Programme across the country

Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice, and the Levelling the Playing Field (LtPF) project, are delighted to be supported by the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Support Hub in Wales for all LtPF areas in England and Wales. In Gwent, this will also be supported by the NHS funded ‘Gwent Community Psychology team’ for the delivery of the ACE’s and Sport training package. 

Research shows that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) children are less likely to complete 60 minutes of recommended daily physical activity or attend and participate in sessions of physical activity – which means less community belonging and more health complications further down the road – known as ‘upstream’. 

Further research in Wales showcases the amount of people who have suffered from adverse childhood experiences – 47% of adults have suffered at least one ACE with 14% suffering for or more – which is why the ACE Support Hub plays such a crucial role. 

The Support Hub was set up by a voluntary collaboration of organisations called Cymru Well Wales, to make Wales a leader in tackling and preventing ACEs. Working with people and partner organisations -their mission is to share ideas and learning and to challenge and change ways of working together, to break the cycle of ACEs. 

Sports Training Wales
Amazing work is being done in Wales.

Laura Tranter, Community Sector Engagement Leader, and Sarah Ingham, Communication and Engagement Lead, passionately described how they developed the Trauma Responsive Mentoring and ACE’s and Sport training package: 

“Our initial mission was to set up Trauma Informed links in Wales and to look at how to prevent, mitigate and tackle ACEs by working with various sectors who increase resilience – particularly in children and young people. 

Laura Tranter
Laura Tranter.

“Having had no experience of the sports sector before this project, we’ve recognised how much work the sector does in providing protective factors such as a trusted mentor, a sense of hope and belonging, and developing skills. 

“That was the key next step for us, to work with the sports sector because of the links between sport and youth. We spoke to community sports youth workers and they were saying we need to teach community sports coaches and get ACE training embedded into coaching qualifications.” 

After trialling their initial training sessions with Sports Wales and StreetGames – developing their training programme and deciphering what needed to be taught to coaches – the Hub held an event supported by the Welsh Rugby Union at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, inviting sports organisations from across Wales. 

Sarah Ingham, Communication and Engagement Lead for ACE.
Sarah Ingham.

The event led to the creation of a task and finish group to further develop the training programme and ensure it was pitched in the correct way, and to the right people and organisations. 

Newport Live/Positive Futures and the Gwent Community Psychology team, part of the task and finish group, put the Support Hub team in touch with Alliance for Sport in Criminal Justice and we eagerly wanted to get involved through our Levelling the Playing Field project. 

“We were then introduced to Justin Coleman from Alliance of Sport,” said Laura, “and we explained the training package to him. 

“He said it fitted really well the Levelling the Playing Field project and it’s a ready-built model that could fit into their philosophy, health related community activity, criminal justice and mentoring work.” 

“We had a couple of meetings pre-pandemic, but we hadn’t actually trialled our sports training package face to face, so Justin and Newport Live and Positive Futures did that for us last week. Laura Tranter co-facilitated with Dr Rhiannon Cobner Consultant Clinical Psychologist – Lead of Gwent Community Psychology. 

“It was our first trial of face to face delivery with a small amount of community coaches in a socially distanced, personal protected manner.” 

The plan now – through Levelling the Playing Field’s local strategic partners – is to deliver the ACE’s and Sport training programme to coaches and youth sport workers across the four areas – South Yorkshire, West Midlands, Gwent and London. 

The ACE Support Hub explained that the training was not an attempt to turn coaches into social workers, but to give everyone who works with potentially vulnerable young people and adults the knowledge and ability to understand ACEs and how community role-models within the delivery teams have a vital proactive opportunity to offer a safe space and environment for young people and communities. 

“We aren’t asking them to change their methods and coaching style, we just need them to have this important information in the back of their minds when they are working with young people, looking behind their behaviour and what is being presented to them to the see the reason why.” 

The training package delivered by the Support Hub will give the four local strategic partners the opportunity to learn about ACEs and deliver their own training sessions to their supporting organisations: 

“For us it will be one training package, our work with the Alliance of Sport allows us to take this programme into those areas,” explained Laura. 

“There may be some rollout of that training by those organisations which they may adapt for local need.” 

If this works well in the community, it will help with tackling the over-representation of BAME children in the Criminal Justice System and provide a preventative effect, giving young people the chance to avoid criminal activity and gang affiliation through sporting activity and opportunity. 


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