GHoPA Skills Academy

Developing employability through sport

Get Hooked on Positive Activity (GHoPA) is a non-profit social enterprise based in Grimsby which works with young people aged 11 to 25. Since 2007, it has provided a spectrum of activities and sports, from archery to angling and ultimate frisbee to Zumba to young people from some of the most socially disadvantaged families in the region.


Financial restraints meant that GHoPA was struggling to keep up with demand for its activities and services. They approached Sported for help to kick off a two year programme to give young people employability skills in a friendly and practical manner. Skills Academy was created! Along with a Sported grant to jump-start the programme, GHoPA was also awarded a Sported volunteer mentor to help with the fundraising strategy: Chris Turner.

Sean, now GHoPA’s Admin and Finance Director, was an attendee himself from the age of 13. He’d had “a bit of a rough time” with his life, ending up homeless at one point, but is now an inspiring example of how GHoPA turns lives around,as he explains:

Chris was absolutely brilliant with the bid-writing side of things. Because we’re doing this day-in, day-out, and because we’re really passionate, we don’t always see it from an outsider’s viewpoint. He gave an alternative perspective which we really valued. We don’t want to be stressing over the sustainability of the club; we want to focus on the young people. Chris has been in the sector a lot longer than I have. he knows what it’s like to start at the bottom and work your way up. He inspires me to think strategically and to aim high.

Now the club’s future is looking secure, with another £34,000 worth of grants being awarded from other funders since working with Sported. This is in part thanks to Sportworks and its ability to put hard stats and figures on the impact of the project, but without the Sported volunteer mentor’s initial support, the long-term future of the project would have been in jeopardy.