First cohort of Female Coach Development Programme participants celebrate graduation

March 7, 2022 | by Matt Halfpenny


Co-founder of the inaugural England Boxing Female Coach Development Programme, Laura Sargeant, has described the year-round progress of the participants as ‘absolutely amazing’ after Saturday’s (5th March) successful graduation.

The celebration evening marked a year of fantastic learning opportunities for the coaches, which included a residential, a boxing masterclass and concluded with The Women’s Aspire Programme at the English Institute of Sport on Sunday (6th March).

The 10 coaches to graduate are: Kate Newton – Rathbone (London), Igne Vaitkunaite – High Wycombe (Home Counties), Naadrah Hafeez – Gladiators (Yorkshire), Kara Mikolajczyk – Mikey’s (Midlands), Claire Salisbury – Jewellery Quarter (Midlands), Donna Harvey-Arnell – Ipswich (Eastern Counties), Louise Vidor – Bright Star (Midlands), Sally Webb – Priory Park (Midlands), Kerry Norfolk – Norwich City (Eastern Counties) and Samantha Fawcett – Warrington (Merseyside and Cheshire).

‘Unbelievable impact’

“The difference in these coaches is absolutely amazing to see,” said England Talent Coach and Tyne, Tees and Wear Club Support Officer Sargeant, who launched the programme last March, along with England Development Coach Amanda Coulson.

“When Amanda and I came up with the idea for this programme, the aim was to help the coaches grow and gain confidence in their abilities, by giving them opportunities and placing them out of their comfort zones in real life scenarios.

“The impact this has had on the coaches has been unbelievable and we really couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.

“The success of the programme totally relied on the coaches buying in to wanting to progress and be the best they could be.

“That alone is testament to all the hard work they have put in over the last year to create the best versions of themselves, and we couldn’t be any prouder of all their achievements and how far they have come in the last year.”

Not the final curtain!

The graduation is by no means the end of progression for this set of coaches, who will continue their journey with becoming mentors to the next cohort of the Women’s Coach Development Programme.

Details of how women boxing coaches can apply for the 2022-23 programme are to be announced tomorrow to coincide with International Women’s Day 2022.

Sargeant added: “We would especially like to thank Maverick Stars Trust for funding the programme as this enabled us to carry out the face-to-face learning, which has been paramount to the success of the coaches’ development.

“A special mention has to also go to the mentors – Lorna Moser, Vicky Connor, Caroline Dent and Rachel Bower – for helping the coaches realise their potential and being there to guide them throughout the year.”

‘Inspiring women’

The graduation ceremony was attended by England Boxing’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Charlie Ford, who said: “It was brilliant to meet such an inspiring set of coaches who are determined to expand the growth of the women’s side of the sport.

“Listening to their stories, challenges and their perseverance to overcome them is incredibly motivating and precisely the message that we need to be sending out across the sport in our ambitions to make boxing inclusive and accessible to all.”