A new Corby charity is hoping to open more sporting doors for local children.
The Mintridge Foundation has been providing mentoring from sporting stars in schools for the past three years. Now it has gained charitable status and is hoping it will help it provide even more opportunities.
Alex Paske started Mintridge in 2015 after her own hockey career was cut short.
She said: “All I had ever wanted to do was play hockey for England. I’d been playing since I was six and I got to the England trials when I was 16. I didn’t make it and then got injured the following year.
“I felt I was playing because I had to and my biggest love had become my worst enemy. So I gave up playing.
“My parents were supportive but, looking back, I think if I’d had a mentor I’d still be playing.
“Launching as a charity will help us get into more schools. They have loved what we’ve done for them but the biggest barrier has been the funding. Being a charity means we’ll be able to do more fundraising and get more sponsors.”
The charity has 28 sporting ambassadors including netballers Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Pamela Cookey, cricketers Ben Smith and Mal Loye and rugby player Will Chudley. Their are also representatives from a diverse range of sports including para-archery, basketball, BMX racing, swimming and mountaineering.
The ambassadors go into schools to meet children and inspire them to take part in sport. As part of the charity’s gold programme they then mentor some of the pupils for six months. The children and families also get to go and see the ambassadors competing.
Alex added: “I go along to all the programmes and see the impact they have on pupils. It’s so great to see. I think I’m now ready to pick up a hockey stick again myself.”