Sports coaching qualifications

West London Community Sports have been running the Sports Leaders qualifications for a number of years for people with lived experience of mental health.

The Sports Leaders Award (SL) is a course designed to give adults of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn the basic skills required to lead group in safe sporting and recreational activity.  It encourages participants to take responsibility for others, to develop organisational and communication skills.  It promotes personal development and increases self-confidence of participants for whom leading groups in sports is either a new challenge or one that they do not have recent positive experience of.

Benefits of the qualification for people with lived experience of mental health

The provision of the SLA course links well to the social inclusion and recovery agenda.  Additionally it is an ideal first step towards gaining a national governing body coaching qualification and is possibly a stepping stone to employment.  The SLA is one of a number of qualifications awarded by the British Sports Trust and is supported by Sport England.  A wide range of organisations include prisons and some other health services presently run the course.


I was diagnosed with psychosis at the age of 17. This affected my education and my employment opportunities. Now, at the age of 36 – this is the first qualification I have achieved. I have learnt so much and gained so much confidence.  Paula

We were shown how to lead a group, communicate effectively, and lead warm ups. The course was mainly practical and I could work at my own pace. Rob

Since achieving my qualification I have now got voluntary work in sport. I am also now enrolled on a refereeing course. Ali