It’s been well-documented that sport and exercise can not only do wonders for our physical health, but also boost self-esteem, improve sleep, and generally make us feel better about ourselves. One person who feels passionate about this is Will Thompson.
Will is the Wellbeing Coordinator for Enrichment at Nottingham College. Over the past 13 years Will has worked with thousands of local students, to encourage them to participate in sport and fitness. In the last year alone, he has involved more than 500 students in sporting activities through the College’s enrichment programme.
But Will’s dedication to supporting people involved in sport doesn’t end there. Over the years, he has worked closely with AoC Sport, the lead organisation for sport and physical activity in 16+ education. It’s part of the Association of Colleges, an organisation representing colleges in the UK, and Will has helped to encourage College students to take part in inter-college competitions, such as the AoC Sport National Championships.
I can honestly say that I love getting up in the morning and coming to work. The students really are what make your job.- Will Thompson
Will also spends many weekends working in community sport or volunteering his time for sport. He referees at football games for the Nottingham City Schools FA representative matches, and is also heavily involved in Futsal, a version of 5-a-side football. He not only organises the growing Nottingham Futsal league, but also travels around the country to referee in the FA National Futsal League and Super League competitions.
Will, who has two young daughters of his own, loves encouraging students to get into sport. However, it’s not just about young people. He ensures students of all ages are welcome at the enrichment activities he organises.
I’m passionate about participating in sport and so I like inspiring them to do something that has such great benefits!- Will Thompson
As a result of his inspirational commitment to being a positive role model for students, Will was one of only two people nationally to win the prestigious AoC Sport Hall of Fame Award 2019. He was presented with the award at the AoC Sport National Championships opening ceremony in Nottingham on Friday 26 April.
The Hall of Fame award is for staff who have made a continuous commitment and significant contribution to college sport and physical activity.
Abbi Bladon, Sport Technician at Nottingham College, put together the nomination for Will’s award. Abbi said: “Will has been a great role model for me personally, as he’s got such dedication and commitment.
“Although I’ve now taken on some of the AoC Sport work for the College, Will continues to be heavily involved, supporting all the regional team players and staff on a personal as well as professional level.”
A student's view
Students have also shown their support for Will’s nomination after the help and support he has given them over the years. The AoC Sport National Championships are the largest annual student sporting event in the UK and Nottingham College had five students competing at this year’s final.
Among the competitors was 18-year-old Jessica Widdowson from Clifton, who is studying towards a Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching at Nottingham College. Will was there to support the students, and Jessica won a silver medal for her table tennis performance.
Will encouraged me to apply for the course, even though I felt I wouldn’t be good enough. He gave me the courage and belief that I could, and now I excel on my course.
I will never be able to thank Will enough for the time and effort he has given in order to make my time at the College memorable and diverse.Jessica Widdowson - Sport student
The AoC Sport Awards are the chance for member colleges from across the country to showcase and celebrate the achievements and inspirational work of students and staff in college sport.
Laura Archer, Wellbeing Manager at Nottingham College, is Will’s line manager.
She said: “The Wellbeing team are here to ensure our students get the most out of their wider College experience.
“Over the years Will has helped so many students to boost their physical and mental health by taking part in sport. We’re really proud of him for winning this national award.”