Top Hockey Player Inspires In Wimbledon Park

Team GB player wants young people to 'Get On Track'

Darren Cheesman, Team GB Hockey Player, gave a group of young people an inspirational and motivating speech about the 'path to excellence' and how to succeed in finding and securing employment during a Get On Track Recruitment Day at Wimbledon Park Hall.

Darren (right) grew up in a rough neighbourhood in North London and never knew his father. But he was introduced to the sport of hockey when Arsenal FC sent coaches to his primary school. The coaches took note of Darren's natural ability and he was invited to after-school sessions at Arsenal FC's stadium.

Within months, Darren was competing for Islington in the London Youth Games, in which he achieved a gold medal.

From there he went on to represent Essex U13, East of England U13 and England U14 teams. He has since competed in the 2012 London Olympics as part of the Great Britain Senior squad and represented England Juniors at U16, U18 and U21 Levels.

The Recruitment Day on June 19 was aimed at attracting young people to sign up for Get on Track, a personal development programme aimed at creating opportunities for disadvantaged young people aged 16-25 that helps them work towards sports participation, training, education, volunteering and employment.

Get On track is delivered in partnership between YMCA London South West and Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.  

Starting on July 1 and lasting for six weeks, the Get on Track participants will receive ongoing mentoring support from Darren and Monique Amy Newton, Team GB Power lifter.

Get on Track was implemented with great success by YMCA London South West last year and has now been running two times in South West London. Dame Kelly Holmes, Olympic Gold Medalist 800m and 1500 m, and initiator of the Get on Track programme, said: "Working with the YMCA in South West London is a great chance to expand my charity’s work in the area. It will allow our elite athlete mentors to use the unique skills they learnt competing at top level to inspire young people. Given the right support and partnership work we can really change these young people’s lives."

June 26, 2014

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Darren Cheesman