FORMER Swindon Town striker Wayne Allison has commended the strength of coaches – and believes they will be one of the driving forces for change in sport.

The Chief’s statement came days after England Manager Gareth Southgate’s personal and heartfelt address to fans calling for unity ahead of the start of Euro 2020.

A coach himself with Chester, Bury, Tranmere Rovers and Bradford, and on the board at UK Coaching, Allison has seen first-hand the exceptional and often undervalued work that coaches across the nation do.

As Southgate stood firm on issues of moral importance to his squad while simultaneously calling on fans to get behind the team - Allison sees this coaching leadership as the future for positive change.

“Leadership is one of the core values of coaching – positive and productive things happen when you can provide people with the right education, the right support for their development,” he said.

“I believe that coaches are fundamental to the recovery of our nation. We know they are at the centre of communities because grassroots clubs are the heartbeat of sport.

“The coaching workforce has shown tremendous resilience throughout the pandemic, and now moving forward as we rebuild, we are seeing the same innovation, creativity, and adaptability that has helped people through some of the most difficult times in recent memory. People never forget coaches that have had a profound impact on their lives.”

Technical Director at the League Managers Association (LMA), Allison is not alone on the value he places on coaches.

New research from UK Coaching has shown the vital work coaches deliver is being understood and appreciated more than ever, with over two thirds (69 per cent) of the nation believing it is important for society to value the role that coaches and instructors play in keeping local communities active.

And with so many coaches at the top making a visible impact, he believes it is essential grassroots coaches are supported and invested in also, to ensure the impact of coaching is felt in every community.

“Any support that empowers our coaches and helps them continue to deliver the brilliant work they are doing is hugely positive,” he said.

“Great coaches change lives, and there are so many of these coaches in the UK who deliver outstanding experiences, convince people to stay in sport when they otherwise would have quit, and help develop young people to be the best they can be.”

Despite the clear positive impact that coaches are having, and Allison’s belief that they will continue to be of huge importance in national recovery post-pandemic, coaches have expressed concerns that they aren’t receiving the support they need in order to continue playing this vital role in communities.

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing many people to consider the need to be fitter and more active, nearly 6 in 10 (57%) of coaches surveyed are concerned about the increased cost of facilities and almost half (48%) said they needed to offer lower-priced activities to enable wider access.

With a seemingly unanimous agreement that coaches are vital to people’s physical and mental wellbeing, as a UK Coaching board member Allison will be hoping the nation rallies behind those who are doing exceptional community work – to put them at the forefront of the pandemic rebuild.

To find out more about UK Coaching and the activity taking place this UK Coaching Week, visit