About Us & Our History

Tuf*C, The Urban Fitness Collective, is a young people’s initiative that uses sport to regenerate young people by training them to become leaders and deliver sport to other young people in their area. Most of the leaders have come from disaffected areas of Manchester and often from hard to reach young people who were previously not engaged in sport or any meaningful activity. Through a programme of training, volunteering, mentoring and then paid employment opportunities, the young people are developed into positive role models in their community and are contributing significantly to community development and cohesion in their neighbourhoods.

Tuf*C has recruited, trained, developed and mentored more than 300 young people as Tuf*C leaders who deliver a variety of activities, not just sport, to more than 600 other young people across Manchester every week and growing.

In some of the more deprived areas of Manchester, young people are now aspiring to be Tuf*C leaders rather than previously wanting to be part of the ‘street gang culture’ causing anti-social behaviour. A career pathway has also been developed so that the young people can go from getting involved as a volunteer to securing permanent employment and progressing supervisory and management positions. 

Since its introduction, the Tuf*C scheme has not only provided the young people the opportunity to develop themselves but also to develop the communities in which they live and now work. The Tuf*C scheme has received recognition of its achievements both locally and nationally and as a result Tuf*C is one of the first points of contacts when there are anti-social behaviour issues with young people in an area.

Our History

Tuf*C was established in April 2003, as part of an SRB funded project. The project focused specifically in the inner-city area’s and as indicated above the idea was to regenerate the young people through the use of sport. Initially a small number of hard to reach young people were recruited and trained to become Tuf*C leaders, with the concept that the Tuf*C leaders would subsequently deliver sport to other young people in their areas.

As a Young Persons Development Officer, Mike McKenzie recruited a group of young people and asked them what do they want to leave behind as a leading legacy?

Tuf*C was quickly launched, using national governing body coaching awards, community sports leaders award as well as personal development activities. The new Tuf*C staff went about getting themselves trained and accredited to be able to deliver a wide range of sports to be able to adapt to the demands.

Initially, this was all voluntary work. Having trained and developed the Tuf*C leaders were now experienced enough to undertake paid work. Mike required opportunities for the Tuf*C leaders to use their new skills and this is where a partnership with Trafford Community Leisure Trust proved invaluable.

At the same time as Tuf*C was being established, Trafford Community Leisure Trust began trading as a charity, providing leisure opportunities across the whole of Trafford. At the beginning of 2004, the Trust was awarded a grant from Trafford Safer Partnership to deliver Saturday Night activities, an initiative to provide sporting activities for young people in the hope that there would be a reduction in anti-social behaviour in the Old Trafford area. Rather than appoint traditional sports coaches and operate the session in a traditional manner, a partnership was developed between the then Trafford Community Leisure Trust and Tuf*C, with the Trust providing the facilities and the marketing of the sessions and Tuf*C providing the staff and management of the newly created “Urban Leisure” sessions.

Until the introduction of the weekly “Urban Leisure” sessions at Stretford Leisure Centre, the majority of work undertaken by the Tuf*C leaders had been on a voluntary basis within their own community. Under the new partnership, Tuf*C leaders were paid appropriate coaching rates for the” Urban Leisure” sessions and with guaranteed paid work this encouraged more young people to become interested in the initiative. At the same time the “Urban Leisure” sessions also provided an opportunity for other potential partners to see what Tuf*C leaders could deliver and how they could work in partnership with them.

Old Trafford Sports Barn

Historically seen as the home of Tuf*C

Following the success of the Tuf*C Leaders in delivering “Urban Leisure Sessions”, in 2007 the Trust decided to use the Tuf*C Leaders to manage and operate the Old Trafford Sports Barn, a new £1 million community sports facility that was provided in partnership between Barclays Spaces for Sport scheme; Manchester United; Trafford Council and the Trust. As a result of utilizing Tuf*C Leaders from within the Old Trafford area, the Sports Barn has become the hub of the community, particularly but not exclusively by young people, and helped with community cohesion and development.

Four years ago, the Trust also introduced a full-time Tuf*C Female Coordinator, with a brief of increasing participation amongst women in the Old Trafford, Gorse Hill and Stretford areas.  Working with numerous ethnic minority groups and individuals, the Tuf*C Female Coordinator has significantly increased participation amongst previously under-represented groups and introduced numerous activities and sessions across the area.

The continued growth and success of the Sports Barn is in no small way, down to the staff of Tuf*C who still staff the facility. There is a dozen staff who boast a fair level of local knowledge, this is a vital ingredient in order for the Sports Barn to have succeeded. Long may it continue.

The Vision and aims of Tuf*C

“Developing disaffected, hard to reach young people through sport to give other young people opportunities”.

The objectives of Tuf*C include:

  • Physical activities for 11 – 25-year-olds
  • Open minds to positive influences and engage young people
  • Provide sessions at times to keep young people off the streets
  • Provide training and qualifications including Community Sports Leaders Awards and National Governing Body Coaching Awards
  • Provide somewhere where young people can play sport in a safe environment.

As previously indicated, more than 300 Tuf*C leaders have been trained and developed, although some are at different stages of their development, and all are involved in either voluntary, sessional or part-time or full-time work. Encouragingly a number of young people who have come through the Tuf*C programme have secured full-time permanent positions in a variety of organisations and not just sport or physical activity. Transferring the life skills and knowledge they have gained in Tuf*C has enabled them to widen their horizons and obtain meaningful jobs.  

Since being established in April 2003 Tuf*C has been successful in a number of ways, both for the Tuf*C Leaders who have been developed, for Trafford Community Leisure Trust and for the community of Trafford.

The success with young people trained as Tuf*C Leaders includes:

* Personal Achievement - Personal development with accreditation

* Coaching Skills - Community Sports Leaders Award, National Sports Governing Body Coaching Awards

* Qualifications - First Aid; Life-saving etc.

* Life Skills - Communication; personal presentation; interview techniques etc.

* Respect - Status and respect amongst community including peers

* Job Opportunities - Sessional; part-time & full-time opportunities

The benefits to Trafford Community Leisure Trust include:

* Urban Leisure - A successful teenage activity session that has been extended to three additional areas and has attracted nearly 400 young people

* Improved Communication - A dialogue has commenced between young people. Equality Staff from the Trust listen to young people, as did schools, local college's and local authorities.

* Coaches/Leaders - A pool of trained and qualified staff are now available and keen to get involved in sport and play sessions.

* Community Leaders/Role Models - The young people are becoming Community Leaders in their own right and becoming positive Role Models

* Homework/IT Clubs - After school sessions are led by Tuf*C Leaders in a non-threatening way

* Holiday Programmes - Tuf*C leaders organize and run sessions during all holidays


The benefits to the community include:

* Community pride - Tuf*C Leaders have installed pride in the community, particularly in the Old Trafford area and at the Sports Barn.

* Reduction in anti-social behaviour - Crime statistics in wards where the Urban Leisure Sessions take place have reduced significantly

* Improvements in health - Not only young people but children, adult's and senior citizens have benefited from attending Tuf*C sessions and as a result improved their health

* Community Development - Not only have the young people taken some ownership of their sessions, activities and behaviour but adults are also beginning to follow the young people’s example

* Respect - Of each other. Young people and adults are beginning to respect each other and work together

* Feel Good Factor - the community is much more positive about young

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