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Dame Kelly’s Trust help Jodie get her life on track

18 July 2017

A teenager from Cefn Glas who has turned her life around thanks to the charity of an Olympic hero was telling her story in the Senedd last week.

By her own admission, Jodie Coupland’s life wasn’t going the way she wanted 18 months ago. She was in her final year at Ysgol Bryn Castell and didn’t have any idea what she wanted to do after finishing school.

But then she got involved with Wales’ first ever ‘Get on Track’ programme, and everything changed.

Run by the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and supported locally by Bridgend County Borough Council, the Trust’s flagship programme uses world-class athletes as role models to help transform the lives of young people facing disadvantage and inspires them to make more positive life choices.

Jodie was part of a group that was mentored by Wales women’s rugby international Philippa Tuttiett. From their base at the Bridgend Life Centre, the group took part in a variety of activities, and were exposed to a range of new experiences to help bond them together as a group.

All of the participants were aged between 16 and 25 years old, and had faced challenges in their young lives. ‘Get on Track’ helped them brush up on interview techniques, learn how to write CVs, and get involved in volunteering.

Jodie came out of the course a much more focused and determined person, ready to achieve her goals. She has since gained a part-time job with Halo Leisure and has also assisted Philippa Tuttiett on this year’s programme in Maesteg as well as helping other young people in Blaenau Gwent.

Last week, Jodie told her story to a large crowd of dignitaries and representatives from several organisations after being invited to the Senedd by Bridgend AM Carwyn Jones.

Jodie said: “Get on Track changed my life in so many ways and I could never thank Philippa and the rest of Dame Kelly's team enough for all the help and support they’ve given me.

“They are truly inspirational people - everyone needs an athlete mentor! I would definitely recommend the project to every young person if you want to go back into education, training, work or even need help with life skills. Whatever you need is on this course.”

Jodie was joined in Cardiff Bay by Dame Kelly Holmes herself, who is keen for the ‘Get on Track’ programme to expand in other parts of Wales after its successful start in Bridgend County Borough.

To date, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust has worked with over 400 world class athletes across the UK and supported in excess of 300,000 young people facing disadvantage. Dame Kelly’s vision is for the Trust to support over 10,800 more young people in Wales by 2020.

President and Founder of the Trust, Dame Kelly Holmes said: “We believe that every young person in Wales – regardless of their past or current circumstances – has the potential to have a positive future. It can take just one special individual to help them realise the confidence and determination needed to succeed and the resilience to go again if barriers or challenges arise.

“That’s why I’m so excited to see the impact of our work in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council and the potential we have to reach so many more thousands of young people facing disadvantage across Wales over the next few years.”

Councillor Huw David, the Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “We were very proud to be the first local authority to host the Get on Track programme in Wales last year, helping young people from a range of backgrounds.

“Some had been in care, were homeless, or had been at risk of offending, while some were just increasingly facing challenges in finding employment or engaging in education.

“Within eight months of our first Get on Track programme, 72 per cent of the young people were in employment, education or training. The Get on Track course helped Jodie understand what she wanted to get out of life, and without it she wouldn't be doing what she is today. And there are many other success stories similar to Jodie’s.”

Helen Ridout, Jodie’s former Headteacher at Ysgol Bryn Castell, said: “Get on Track pushed Jodie outside of her comfort zone and helped her develop into a responsible young adult who is able to participate and make a positive contribution not just to her own life but to society too. We are extremely proud of the progress she has made. In the same way that her mentors have inspired her, we are now using her story to inspire our current pupils.”

The first Bridgend County Borough ‘Get on Track’ programme was funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, and the launch of the programme in Wales was also made possible thanks to a funding award from The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. You can find out more at

Last Updated: 21/07/2017
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