Minesh Gupta & PEI Keii Roberts stand in front of the gates of HMP Aylesbury

BBFA x HMP Aylesbury

We provided prisoners at HMP Aylesbury with Referee Training, using the power of football as a catalyst for change

This season we partnered with HMP Aylesbury to provide referee training for prisoners, using the power of football to help break down barriers and provide a catalyst for change, as part of our wider community work.

Similar to the national Twinning Project, in which Wycombe Wanderers FC are partnered with HMP Aylesbury to provide prisoners with coaching courses to improve their mental & physical health and wellbeing and obtain a qualification which will help improve their life chances and gain employment on release, we provided Referee Training to twelve individuals, delivered onsite by our Referee Training Officer, Minesh Gupta.

Minesh Gupta, Referee Training Officer at Berks & Bucks FA, said: “It was great to deliver the basic CORE Referee CPD to participants at HMP Aylesbury to provide opportunity, support and education whilst promoting opportunities in a mainstream course once they leave the establishment, to be a part of that success was an amazing sense of achievement.”

Darren Worrall is the Physical Education Instructor (PEI) at HMP Aylesbury, he spoke about the reasons for moving forward with the partnership and the importance of delivering programmes such as these; “Projects like this are so important as it shows the prisoners that not everyone has given up on them. For some just having a purpose, somewhere to be on a Monday morning to attend the course can have a positive impact. It shows that, with the correct attitude and work ethic, there are opportunities out there for them to turn things around. 

“The Referee Training course is something that can teach the prisoners good life skills that are transferable and if they continue the journey upon release, it’s a job that they can go out and do whilst being involved in a sport that the majority love.”

As PEI Worrall explained, the course isn’t just about learning to Referee, lessons learnt on the course translate into everyday situations too and has better equipped prisoners with new life skills to help manage conflict, time and understanding how to take responsibility for making decisions. All this combined has also seen positive improvements in how to deal with and manage challenging situations. 

Out of twelve prisoners to start the course, 10 completed it, this in part due to prison transfers. The course itself had a good mix of people from all backgrounds and walks of life with participants working together during the sessions and to help each other to successful complete the course.

Callum Salhotra, Community & Inclusion Manager at Berks & Bucks FA, said: “Partnering with HMP Aylesbury for referee training underscores our commitment to inclusion and community. We believe in football's transformative power for rehabilitation and social change. Refereeing offers vital life skills and fosters responsibility, promoting values of discipline and fair play. It facilitates social integration and boosts inmates' confidence.

“It also opens doors to future employment, aiding successful reintegration. Our collaboration will break barriers, allowing individuals to create better futures. We hope to continue working with HMP Aylesbury to use football as a tool to rehabilitate inmates through sport.’’

To learn more about the partnership or for information on our community and inclusion work please contact Callum Salhotra via email. Alternatively, please visit the dedicated Inclusion section of our website. 


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