20 Mar Interview with Bex Wilson
Bex Wilson is one of the key staff at the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation. All you need to know is that she is a legend (her words!) Bex does great work with our young people, both in our schools and at our community sessions. Before joining DMSF, Bex was part of the 2014 Team GB Bobsleigh team at the Winter Olympics in Sochi after becoming World Junior Champion in 2010. Alongside this, she also achieved the award for British Olympic Association (BOA) Athlete of the Year in 2011.
Tell me a little about your life before DMSF:
I was a full-time athlete from 17 in the sport of bobsleigh, making the decision not go to university and instead continue my path to becoming an Olympian. On my school report at the age of 9 I wrote that when I am older I want to be an Olympian and in 2014 I became just that. After the Sochi Olympics I decided to not to carry on and subsequently joined Diane’s team.
I started a new sport; rugby, I had never played before then but found that I needed to get the love for sport back again. I had witnessed the business and political side at the top level during my time with Team GB and didn’t enjoy it very much! I have been playing rugby for the last four years and now play at premiership level in the Women’s Super League for Firwood Waterloo Ladies.
How did you get involved with DMSF?
I joined DMSF as an Ambassador off the back of the Olympic Games and being a Manchester girl, I started by doing talks for the Foundation, telling the kids my story, what barriers I have over come and how many chicken nuggets I can eat! I then started to get involved in a part time capacity. From there I recognised working with young people was an area I was extremely passionate about. I kept working hard and pushing the boundaries a little more, taking every opportunity to get to where I am now, working full time as the Programme Manager.
What is your role within the Foundation?
As programme manager and head coach of the community sector, I’m very much involved in the day to day running of the Foundation. I ensure that the young people, the programmes and the staff are all running smoothly. I also have an input into the strategic elements of the Foundation, planning big areas for where we will be in the future, our marketing, social media and events. You could say I like to stay busy.
I love coaching our young people and especially the sessions we do in alternative provision, where we deliver employability and enterprise skills outside of mainstream education. We want our young people to have a sense of purpose and the life skills to find their way. You can see the small wins we’re having through our day to day interactions. The small decision to stop and listen to a young person can have a huge impact. When you build a relationship with any young person where they are willing to get two buses across Manchester to reach sessions outside of school, they are asking for work experience, when they ring to tell you their GCSE results or simply say “Thank you”, you know that you are going to work making a difference. The progression we see on the track reflects directly in the young people themselves. Yes we are great at sport but we are also more than sport. I am proud to work for DMSF.
When you were growing up, if DMSF had been around, how would that have helped?
I believe it would have helped me massively. The passion and positivity that we bring to coaching and also the development of our young people stands us apart from a club or another sporting provision. I know that I sought out lots of people to be that support network, or a mentor when I was younger. I didn’t respond well to the education setting, but sport kept me on track and it was a huge focus and a reason why I am successful today. There are one or two people on my journey that were a mentor, but I had many years where I didn’t know what to do or where I was going. What we try to do is take some of our life experiences and implement that into the Foundation and remember that we were all kids once. We are genuine and we keep it real. If I was a part of #teamDMSF when I was younger I believe my world would have been a much happier place.
Where would you like to see DMSF in a years’ time?
On the billboards! It’s a tough question, but I would like to see us have an impact on more lives across the city, but not in a case of lets run before we can walk. Our Impact needs to be something that can really help people. I’d like to take the chance out of young people joining DMSF through school and community programmes and have more young people aware of what we do across the city so that it is their choice to be in our squad. #squadgoals
For any potential sponsors reading this, what would you say to them?
CLEAR YOUR DIARY! Come and see us and learn who we are and what we do on the ground. Don’t just watch the videos. By all means give them a like but come down, contact us, come and see our kids and be part of what we’re trying to build!
DIARY ENTRY NO1: Call Bex: 07534404881