THE UNION LEARNING FUND (ULF), NAUDUSEVICS FAMILY AND THE WIGSTON FOXES FC.
The Naudusevics Family
Dave Naudesevics (35) is a Retained Firefighter with 7 years’ service working for Leicestershire FRS (LFRS) at Wigston Fire Station in Leicester. He is married to Leanne and they have three children. Riley (10), Charlie (9) who suffers with Autism and Alfie (7).
ULF Apprenticeships in Personal Training.
LFRS was one of 23 Fire Services to enter into partnership with the Union Learning Fund (ULF) to offer the opportunity for employees to study a Level 3 (A level equivalent) advanced Apprenticeship in personal training. Dave is amongst the 20 learners who have recently completed the apprenticeship.
Dave says “The apprenticeship was a fantastic opportunity to acquire a qualification in a subject which I have always been interested in. I hope to use this expertise for the benefit of myself, my family and my colleagues. I hope it will also help me to gain full-time employment with LFRS.”
ULF Distance Learning.
Through Dave, Leanne became aware of the opportunity for adult funded learning through the ULF for Fire Service employees, friends & family. She, along with four of her friends enrolled onto the Level 2 Autism awareness course.
Leanne says “The course gave me a really good understanding of the condition and has really helped us as a family. With this qualification I have found that I can now discuss with teachers on equal terms the specific needs for my son, possessing a full and proper understanding of the condition.”
The opportunity has also acted as a springboard for Leanne onto further learning and has also undertaken the Level 2 Mental Health Awareness course through the ULF. Furthermore she is now studying a Bsc Hons in Health and Social Care through the Open University.
Wigston Foxes Football Club.
With the knowledge and confidence gained from her learning, Leanne was instrumental in forming a football team for boys and girls aged 6-12 with special educational needs, The Wigston Foxes. They are affiliated to the FA and play in monthly FA tournaments. The club in little over a year have now formed a third team and are affiliated to Leicestershire and Rutland county FA’s inclusive league. Wigston Foxes are the only club in Leicestershire that purely provide inclusive football.
Dave and Leanne have encouraged a number of other Mums and Dads of the young footballers starring for the Wigston Foxes to enrol onto the Autism Awareness course with the ULF. One of these is Vicky Von Anrep who along with her partner, Jamie Chilton who is the head coach, assists in the running of the team. Vicky says “It is amazing to see the joy on the faces of these kids and I feel privileged to able to give them this opportunity. After all they are no different from other children who just want to play football and have fun doing so.”
They have also shared the learning opportunities available through the ULF with other FA league committee members.
Dave says,” The opportunities that have been provided by the ULF has really proved a catalyst for both Leanne and myself. Now that I have qualified as a fitness instructor I will use my knowledge to help coach the team. I am furthering my learning by enrolling onto the Level 2 Working with People with Learning Disabilities course and am active within the Fire Service working with children who have special needs”
Figure 2Training session with The Foxes
Leanne says “The Autism awareness course has helped me in many ways. I have gained an in-depth knowledge of the condition and now can fully understand the needs of Charlie and children like him. It provided me with a platform and gave me the confidence to enter into further education and inspired me to get actively involved with the kids. The founding of the football team makes all the study worthwhile. The team has contributed massively to the childrens development. As an example, one of the kids, Ollie needed to be assisted by his Dad on the pitch during the game. As Ollie’s confidence grew he gradually no longer needed this level of support. Much to his Dad’s relief he can now enjoy the game from the touchline along with the other Mums & Dads. An indicator of helping the childrens development in other areas is that Ollie is now ready to go to school for the first time.”
Wigston Mini Fire Engine.
Dave and Leanne explain how LFRS and local Firefighters have been really helpful in their support. Wigston’s Mini Fire Engine collect donations throughout December during their Santa routes. From this they generously provided the team their first kit in early 2017. This December some of the players have been helping with collections, developing their social and communication skills. The Firefighters involved present awards at the awards evening and provide the opportunity for the players to meet Santa in an inclusive environment. Leanne says, “Our relationship with Wigston’s mini fire engine has been invaluable to us as a club.”
Figure 3 The Foxes with Santa and the Mini Fire Engine.
They all agree that they would love to receive support from their namesakes in the city. Leicester City, Nicknamed “The Foxes”. Ironically, Leicester City were historically crowned 2016 Premier League Champions, the same year that Wigston Foxes were formed.
Leicester and Rutland inclusive League: https://twitter.com/LRInclusiveLeague/
FBU UnionLearning Fund: www.fbueducation.org