Finlay's Story

Finlay Baker, 14, a pupil at Bassaleg Comprehensive School, has made remarkable progress over the past year thanks to our "Head in the Game" project. Living with severe ADHD, Finlay struggled to focus and manage his emotions, resulting in disruptive behaviour and a lack of motivation. But through the power of football and tailored mentorship, Finlay has found a sense of belonging and developed a clear vision for his future.

The "Head in the Game" project is a 12-week programme designed to help students develop life skills, improve mental well-being, and set positive goals. When Finlay first joined the project, he faced many challenges that affected his daily life and well-being. He refused to go to school and struggled to get out of bed each morning. Finlay also had trouble forming and maintaining relationships, as his difficulty in functioning in social settings led to isolation and a lack of personal connections.

Our 'Head in the game' project focusses on building healthy relationships, recognising emotions and improving communication

Cardiff City FC Community Foundation mentor, Tobi, developed a comprehensive plan to support Finlay. This plan included regular one-on-one sessions to review and assess his behaviour and to set targets to improve his responses to various situations. Tobi also utilised Finlay's interest in football to build a strong connection and boost his motivation.

By establishing a daily routine that included early morning starts, Finlay developed a sense of purpose. Finlay went from attending only one lesson a day to being eager to attend school every day before 9AM. He has now also improved academically, often coming out on top in some subjects. With a stable routine, Finlay's mental and emotional well-being has significantly improved.

Finlay's journey through our "Head in the Game" project has given him a new sense of direction and ambition. He now aspires to enrol on the BTEC Level 3 Sport Course offered by Cardiff City FC Community Foundation's further education provision. Recognising his strengths in sports environments, supported by his Mentor Tobi, Finlay is optimistic about pursuing a career in sports. He is now working on the subjects necessary to secure a place in the course.

"Before Finn was referred he had been completely disengaged from many aspects of life including family, friends, school, football and rugby. The two latter being his two passions. With the guidance and mentoring of Tobi through the ‘Head in the Game’ project, he is now a different individual. He is enjoying his sports again, attending school and a happier, more engaged person who is looking forward to his future." - Juliet, Finlay's Mum.

Finlay now displays overall happiness and a positive outlook on life.

Our "Head in the Game" wellbeing project has had a deep impact on Finlay Baker's life. His development from a socially detached pupil, to a motivated and positive individual, highlights the importance of providing opportunities to help young people in Cardiff City FC Communities reach their full potential.

We're on a mission to make education and skills development accessible to all, while having some fun with football along the way.

To learn more about what support we offer in Primary Education, click here.

To learn more about what support we offer in Secondary Education, click here.

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