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Recently Sport For Confidence welcomed two new team members. James Adams and Sam Valentine, both university graduates and experienced sports coaches, join us in our newly created occupational therapist assistant roles. Our Digital Content Manager and Administrator, Louise Tollick, caught up with them for a chat. 
Louise Tollick: How did you hear about Sport for Confidence? 
James: I had been working as a gymnastics coach for many years and was fortunate to be asked to coach a Sport For Confidence session once a week as part of my work at Basildon Sporting Village. I really looked forward to the session because of the obvious joy it brought to those involved. When the chance came up to join the team I just had to apply. 
Sam: My first introduction to Sport For Confidence was through a webinar they delivered as part of a UK Coaching education series all about applying research to practice. At the time, I had recently completed my MSc in Psychology of Sport and Exercise and was preparing for the next steps. The webinar content really resonated with me and made me want to know more about the work of Sport For Confidence. 
Louise: What attracted you to the position of OT Assistant with SFC? 
James: By the time I applied, I had already had first-hand experience working with SFC and had developed a high level of respect for the work the company was pioneering in tackling inequalities in sport. The opportunity to become a part of the team and play my part was exciting so I submitted an application. 
Sam: After completing my MSc, I was looking for an opportunity that would enable me to develop myself as a practitioner and also to help people lead fulfilling lives through participation in sport and physical activity. It’s strange how things happen but, I just so happened to be visiting the SFC website to find contact details so I could talk to somebody about getting involved when I spotted the advert for the OT Assistant. The role was exactly what I was looking for so I got my application in. 
Louise: How do you plan to apply your skills to the role of OT Assistant? 
James: I have many years of experience working with disabled people and those who traditionally face barriers to participation. I am looking forward to applying this experience to my new role and also to working closely with the occupational therapist team to create person-centred experiences for every participant, teaching skills they can carry beyond the field of play and into their daily lives. 
Sam: Through years of academic study and practical application I have become fascinated by the human experience and the depth of empathy and compassion it takes to truly understand another person. I feel it is important for people, myself included, to be able to express vulnerability as this promotes development and growth. SFC’s innovative and person-centred approach shares the same values and am looking forward to continuing my learning and to using my knowledge and experience to make a positive impact. 
Louise: What are your personal career ambitions moving forwards? 
James: My ambition at the moment is simply to learn as much as I can from my experience with SFC. It’s not every day a coach gets to work with a team of health professionals, all working towards the same goal – to improve the lives of people through the delivery of sport and physical activity. I plan to continue my practical and academic professional development and who knows, maybe one day, I might even train to become an occupational therapist. 
Sam: I am working towards practicing applied psychology, specialising in sport and exercise. My ultimate goal is to build my own consultancy business, supporting individuals and organisations. 
Louise: You mentioned that you enjoy football. What team do you support? Do you still play for a team yourself? If so, which one? 
James: I love my football – coaching it, playing it, watching it. I’ve played for Sunday league team, Wickford Town, since I was 11 years old .I am also a passionate Chelsea FC fan! 
Sam: I am a lifelong Manchester United fan. This season, the Return of Ronaldo is a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself! I’m not currently playing but will still kick a ball around at any opportunity. 
Louise: When you were a boy, what did you think you want to be when you grew up? 
James: A footballer. Isn’t that most young boys dream?! As I grew up I started to think more broadly but I always knew I would be involved with sport in one way or another. 
Sam: A Milkman. 
Louise: When you are not working (or maybe playing football) what else do you like to do? 
James: I am obsessed with fishing. I try to fish as much as I can, even after work on a Friday I often head straight to the lake, returning home on Saturday afternoon. Other than that, I just enjoy being busy, seeing family and friends and spending time out and about. 
Sam: I’m a regular runner. At the moment I’m training for the York Marathon in October. Having only moved to Essex recently, I am also enjoying exploring the area, by foot and by bike. I like being in nature – particularly cold water! I’m also an avid reader. When not involved in something else, you will often find me with my head in a book . 
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