How Cardiff City gave Callum hope

29 Dec 2018

Cardiff City Foundation's PL Kicks scheme helped 12-year-old beat rejection and disability to 'feel a part of something'

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Premier League Kicks

Cardiff City Foundation has helped Callum Gyde overcome rejection at the age of five, being bullied and disability to become a confident 12-year-old.

Callum had issues as a young boy at school in South Wales. Teachers struggled with him.

"We were told he was naughty,” explains his mum, Margaret.

"We were told he was unruly and he was basically kicked out of school.

"It turns out he's actually got part of his brain missing; he's got focal epilepsy and he's recently got diagnosed with autism as well."

Nowhere to turn

Callum’s mother found it hard to find anyone who would help him.

"So many places are like, 'No, he can't do this.' 'He can't do that' for various reasons."

But Cardiff City Foundation and Zac Lyndon-Jones, the Inclusion Coordinator, were able to offer Premier League Kicks sessions.

"It's a free sports session and our coaches and our volunteers are the role models to try and inspire them to be, to be better," Lyndon-Jones explains.

"A lot of the areas we engage in with Premier League Kicks sessions is in areas where there is not a lot going on for the young people.

"They're struggling behaviour-wise as well."

So the Foundation was able to offer Callum a welcome area to play last year.

Physical and mental benefits

"Zac has kind of said, 'Yeah, bring him along, not a problem,' " Margaret says. "And we have not looked back.

"It's really boosted his confidence. He's learnt how to communicate, he's building friendships.

"You know, he feels a part of something. It's given him hope."

The benefits of Kicks have been more than psychological for Callum.

"It's helped me to lose a lot of weight, it's helped me to have a lot of fun," he says.

"I enjoy playing football, learning a lot of new stuff."

Callum Gyde and Cardiff City's Callum Paterson
Thanks to his progress with PL Kicks, Callum Gyde was able to meet his hero, Cardiff City's Callum Paterson
Winning award

Such has been his progress during his 12 months on the Kicks programme that Callum won Cardiff City's Community Participant of the Year award this year, meeting his hero, Cardiff City defender Callum Paterson.

He has also returned to school, sitting his first set of exams, something many thought impossible 12 months ago. 

Callum is just one of 900 young people who have benefited from Cardiff’s PL Kicks programme in just five years.

"We're proud that our club changes lives," says Lyndon-Jones.

See: About Premier League Kicks

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