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National sports awards joy for New City College student Ria and inspirational teacher Phil

There were double celebrations for students and staff at New City College when it was announced that they had won two National AoC Sport Awards.

There were double celebrations for students and staff at New City College when it was announced that they had won two National AoC Sport Awards.

It’s the first time the college has ever been nominated for the prestigious awards – so to win two awards in different categories in the same year is fantastic!

The first award was won by student Ria Lee who was presented with the AoC (Association of Colleges) Volunteer Coach of the Year for her tremendous volunteering both in and out of college and her work as an Inclusion Ambassador to run Sport sessions for SEND students.

The second award was won by Sport Lecturer Phil Heseltine, who was inducted into the AoC Staff Hall of Fame for going above and beyond to give students the very best education and support possible.

Ria studies Sport at New City College Epping Forest campus and is also part of the New City Sport Coaching Academy, which is part of the AoC Leadership programme. Because of her tireless voluntary work, around 20 students with additional needs have received weekly sport and activity sessions that they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.

Ria also runs a multi-sports after-school club at a local primary school, has helped to organise fitness taster sessions for local secondary school pupils and is a football coach for an under-8s girls team.

Since September, Ria has accumulated over 70 hours of voluntary sports leadership and has shown an incredible commitment to her role, the college, her peers and sport.

Her tutor Sam Marsh said: “Ria is an outstanding young voluntary sports coach who shows great passion for the industry, and is always looking to help support people both in and out of sport. She has had her own barriers to overcome in her life and at times she finds things a struggle, however despite this, she never lets anyone down and always finds a way to complete her voluntary roles regardless.”

He added: “Ria is an outstanding role model for other students. The commitment, drive and enthusiasm she has for sport and her voluntary work is remarkable. I have never come across a student who does so much for others so willingly and she thoroughly deserved to win this award.”

Teacher Phil Heseltine started working at New City College Epping Forest in 2017 and since then he has overhauled the Tottenham Hotspur Football Development programme taking it from strength to strength with an increase in achievement and retention, as well as generating some outstanding opportunities for student progression to careers within the sports industry.

The award judging panel heard how Phil’s ethos is centred around fairness and respect and that he puts in many extra hours to make sure every single student has the support they need.

Sport Lecturer Jess Murphy, who works with Phil at Epping Forest campus, said: “Phil goes above and beyond to support each and every student, even outside of working hours to ensure they are getting the best education they can.  He is seen as someone to seek guidance from – both by students and staff! Despite the challenges of managing a huge course with numerous students, Phil always has a smile on his face and is happy to help anyone with any kind of problem.”

Jess added: “He’s a true team player and has a fantastic manner with people, knowing how to get the best out of everyone.”  

Billy Marsden, also a Sport Lecturer at NCC Epping Forest, said: “Phil is one of those teachers that will be long remembered by his students for years to come. Phil is one in a million and has changed the picture of the academy at this college. We are lucky to have Phil as a colleague.”

Current student, Dylan, said: “Phil has helped me dramatically – not only in my work, but he has helped me become a better all-round human being. I admire him and look up to him for the way he always has time for everyone. He has helped me pursue my career in coaching with his great advice and guidance. I now am a Global Football Development Coach with Tottenham Hotspur and I owe the majority of my success to Phil Heseltine.”

And current student, Ellis, said: “Phil has helped me to become a better man and person. He has had a great impact on my life and I would not be where I am today if I didn’t have such a great teacher. He is helping me to reach my full potential and if I ever have a problem he will always find a way to sort it out.”

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