My sister took her own life and I had to dedicate myself to this club - football should be for everyone

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“I could either grieve or put my energy into something positive.”

Nick Pollitt’s life was hit by tragedy last year when his sister took her own life. 

Then the football coach says, he had two choices. Grieve or put how he was feeling into something positive. 

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GN15 Football Academy was born, a non-profit coaching and training club in Stockport founded by Nick and close friend Gaz Lewis. The duo set up the academy with a vow to nurture new players and coaches, regardless of ability, disability, age or financial background.  

Nick Pollitt left, and Gaz Lewis, right, the founders of the GN15 Football AcademyNick Pollitt left, and Gaz Lewis, right, the founders of the GN15 Football Academy
Nick Pollitt left, and Gaz Lewis, right, the founders of the GN15 Football Academy | Nick Pollitt

“GN15 was born out of a tragedy in a way,” said Nick, who has 20 years’ experience as a coach. “I thought I can put my energy into two things – either grieving and feeling sorry for myself or actually putting into something positive. So as well as doing loads of fundraisers for the Papyrus charity, me and a close friend created it as an outlet.” 

The two chose to create the non-profit club to aid those who never had the opportunity to attend sports sessions based on varying factors. They cater their club in different ways to ensure nobody is left out, and whatever profit is made goes straight into funding the services the club provides. 

Nick said: “I've always been disappointed when a child goes to a club and they're just told they're not good enough or you can't join our team and I just thought that was a bit wrong. 

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“We wanted to go down the avenue that we accept everybody, no matter what the standard, and try to tailor our sessions so that our more abled players can support our less abled players or our players that lack that confidence. 

GN15 make a point of welcoming children of all abilitiesGN15 make a point of welcoming children of all abilities
GN15 make a point of welcoming children of all abilities | GN15

“Also for our coaches as well, we believe in investing in our youths, but also investing in some people that are struggling and we need to give them a bit of an outlet, a bit of responsibility and a bit of a drive in their life.”

The club had an impromptu training session with former Manchester United star Jesse Lingard in December with Nick in awe of the one-time England international’s enthusiasm.

He said: “He was actually training at the facility before we arrived. He could have just got off and just carried on with his day, but to take the time to give some advice to our kids and do a bit of training with them, he didn't have to.

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“He did that without any publicity, there were no cameras there or anything, he just did it off his own back, which I thought was amazing. Sometimes these pro players always get a bit of criticism, but the things they do away from the cameras, it was fantastic to witness.”

A year in, the club is going from strength to strength. 

“We believe that football should be for everyone and that's what we do differently,” Nick said. “We invest in people that deserve a chance in life, so it's just exciting to see how far we can grow.”

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