Publish date: 23 November 2021

“I could see one child smiling with pride, as he shared that his Mum was his "personal team coach” – Caroline Baker, Siblings Group Leader at St Quintin’s Centre for Disabled Children

The children holding up QPR banners across their faces

A group of children whose siblings attend the St Quintin’s Centre for Disabled Children in

North Kensington hit the football pitch in October, to take part in a two-day resilience programme hosted by the NHS and QPR Community Trust.

The children, part of the Siblings Group at the Centre attended Team of Life sessions, hosted by the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service (GHWS) and QPR. Sessions were held on QPR football grounds.

The children look at QPR trophies
The children look at QPR trophies 

“I liked when we were playing football and I liked when we saw the pitch for the first time, it felt exciting,” said one child who took part.

Another child said: “The group was fun and helpful. We talked about our feelings with everybody and I liked how we helped each other and done the team. And we made friends with everybody. Everybody was helping eachother.”

What is Team of Life?

Team of Life is a way of supporting young people, using football metaphors to build strength and resilience within a group environment. The young people identified their ‘team mates’ who are the people who support them in their life; ‘goal keepers’ the people who protect their goals, ‘coach’ the person who helps build on their strengths and many more different roles that are part of their lives.

A boy puts a sticky note on a board in an exercise
A boy puts a sticky note on a board in an exercise

Caroline Baker, the Siblings Group Leader at the Centre commended the programme which she described as a “strongly structured series of engaging practical activities” that benefited the children.

She said: “Skilled leadership of the QPR coaches and Grenfell GHWS encouraged and valued what the children and young people contributed. I could see one child smiling with pride, as he shared that his Mum was his "personal team coach".

“The children and young people had great fun, physical and mental exercise and shared their dreams, and problems- as well as discussing how they cope in difficult situations. There was a fantastic sense of growing support for each other, especially in team challenges like moving the ball from one end of the pitch as a team without touching it!

“The excitement of learning and working with football coaches at QPR stadium added a WOW factor to this excellent Team of Life course.”

The Siblings Group will meet again with QPR and GHWS for a follow up session, and have been invited for a match day event which the children are now looking forward to.

Farah Amaioua, CAMHS Practitioner with the GHWS said:

“Seeing the young people gather as a group to share their stories of achievements and hopes for the future was really powerful for me. I saw how the young people used football metaphors to draw out their strengths and to identify who supports them in their life. I witnessed how important attending Siblings Group is for them. They were all very supportive of each other and helped one another think about who their ‘team players’ would be both on the football pitch and in their personal lives. I look forward to following up with this group again in due course and look forward to seeing how their goals for the future develop.”

The children view the football pitch from the stadium

The children get involved on the pitch