Stacey, 25, attended the Off the Bench project which is supported by Asda Foundation

12 months prior to enrolling on ‘Off the Bench’ my life was very different, I was just starting to attend rehab for substance abuse and was also out of work. I wanted to make changes and signed up for different programmes that would help me get my life back on track and ‘Off the Bench’ has helped me do that.

Attending the Leeds Rhinos Foundation ‘Off the Bench’ course has been a blast every week. Going to the sessions at TryZone was something I looked forward to and every week was different and there was no way anyone could get bored.

The programme has involved team building activities such as kayaking and caving which has really helped my confidence to grow. We have also worked on personal life skills that would improve our chances of finding work. Attending ‘Off the Bench’ gave me something to focus every week and helped improve my self-esteem and with the encouragement of my tutors on the course I decided to apply for a job as a life guard and was delighted when I got it.</
When I was younger I swam for Leeds and I was previously a gym instructor and sport is always something I have loved being involved in so getting the chance to learn in a sporting environment was great for me. I enjoyed the completing Rugby League Leaders award, which involved learning the rules of rugby and preparing rugby sessions out for little children.

I have enjoyed attending ‘Off the Bench’ because it is engaging and there are lots of different activities to get involved in rather than just being sat in a classroom listening to someone speak. Janet, who is my tutor at TryZone, has been amazing and very supportive and has provided a very fun filled environment and also had fun herself, which is nice to see that the teacher gets stuck in with the pupils.

I literally go home and I’m still laughing at the event that happened in the day. It’s also good that you don’t just think of the course on a Wednesday and if you have a problem during the week Janet is always on the end of the phone which is really good. Janet has helped me so much since I have been on this course and never gives up on her pupils and knows the exact words to say to make you feel better.

Battling alcohol addiction has been very difficult and when there is nothing to focus on or to occupy your time it can be hard, so this is one of the reasons I have enjoyed coming to TryZone, it has helped keep me motivated and I have got so much from it. I feel more relaxed now and positive about the future. The charity’s moto is changing lives through sport, and it has certainly done that for me. I would say to any you person who may be struggling, don’t give up and listen to the advice of those around you as they are trying to help. If opportunities come up that will support you in making positive changes then go for it and keep going because it is worth it!”

For more information on the Off the Bench project contact