Millfield school's sport captains to save the world, one game at a time

By Laura Linham

4th Dec 2023 | All Sports


Alpine Skiing Paralympian, Talan Skeels-Piggins and Former British Sailer, Kirstie Unwin (left to right)
Alpine Skiing Paralympian, Talan Skeels-Piggins and Former British Sailer, Kirstie Unwin (left to right)

Millfield School has initiated a new pilot programme in collaboration with The True Athlete Project, focusing on educating its sport captains on using sport as a force for good.

The programme involves thirty-one sport captains, chosen annually to lead their respective sports, working with the charity to understand and utilise sport's potential in bringing people together and driving positive change.

The True Athlete Project, which has previously collaborated with notable organisations such as Sport England, England Cricket, and British Fencing, is dedicated to transforming the culture of sport.

The charity seeks to develop 'true' athletes who understand that sport is more than physical activity; it's an integration of mind, body, and soul with far-reaching effects beyond winning or losing. Their approach combines mindfulness, mental skills training, and mentoring to make sports both enjoyable and meaningful.

In this pilot programme at Millfield, students are encouraged to positively use their influence within the school community. The sport captains will engage in personal workshops designed to explore the power of sport and empower them to become advocates for social change. These workshops will be delivered by former British Sailing athlete, Kirstie Unwin, and Alpine Skiing Paralympian, Talan Skeels-Piggins.

Discussing the potential of sport, Kirstie Unwin stated, "Sport has the potential to create joyful and transformative experiences, unfortunately over the years sport has been professionalised and we have developed a win-at-all-cost mentality. We want to encourage the students to reimagine what sport can be like when it's not all about winning and losing, it's more about what can you learn and the transformative experience that you can have."

Talan Skeels-Piggins added, "As we have seen through people like Marcus Rashford, athletes have a voice and can be advocates for social change. The captain's programme is about talking to the 'influencers' within schools and empowering them to promote social action inside the school community."

The sport captains at Millfield will also be planning and presenting a community impact initiative for either the local area or within the school community. Solomon Arbib, the sports captain for football, expressed the programme's value, "I have found the programme valuable to me as it aids in the development of my leadership skills. By enhancing my ability to lead, I can positively influence and inspire others within my team. In the long term, the programme's enduring values extend beyond sports, influencing various aspects of my life, fostering personal growth and contributing to success in diverse areas beyond football."

Kirstie Unwin and Talan Skeels-Piggins will regularly work with the captains, who will showcase their impact initiatives at the Millfield Sports Personality Awards at the end of the academic year.

"We are excited to be part of the project with Millfield and to have an opportunity to explore what this programme could look like for young people who are influential in their society. We can't wait to see what they come up with," said Kirstie.

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