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While success means different things to different people, we wanted to share an extraordinary story with you. Patrick Taylor joined Epilepsy Futures as a part of the first group of participants back in November of 2017. 

At that time Patrick was unemployed, low on confidence, mood and his health was not stable. He spent his days at home playing online, or helping out with family chores. Patrick was isolated and depressed.

Patrick’s grandmother Catherine O’Donnell spoke to Epilepsy Connections candidly about how worried she and his mother were about his quality of life and what the future held for Patrick. They were clear that they understood that Patrick needed to make significant changes in his life.

It was this decision that brought Patrick to Epilepsy Futures.

Indeed for us here at Epilepsy Connections, the desire to make significant life changes is something that we consider very seriously when looking at who is perhaps best suited to a place on Epilepsy Futures, and one of the key questions that our Epilepsy Futures Coordinator, Peter Dale asks is “what is your dream, what inspires and motivates you in life.”

Patrick himself was clear from the initial meeting Peter had with him and Catherine, that he wanted to get his football coaching badges and work for Celtic Football club, so great was his passion for The Celtic Family. Patrick has been a Season Ticket holder at Parkhead for a number of years.

His grandmother Catherine, understandably, was a little dubious about the scale of his ambitions, fearing his potential disappointment, and wanted him to think of something “more realistic”.

However, he started on the 6 month long Epilepsy Futures programme on 7th November 2017, and took part in the initial month-long 3 day per week induction period, engaging in a range of self-management related workshops and other sessions to build self confidence.

As part of the Epilepsy Futures programme participants are encouraged to think about community based volunteering and/or learning opportunities that help them to be better connected with the wider community, and which will build skills, confidence and life experiences.

Bearing in mind his desire to be involved with Celtic, Peter made contact with the Celtic FC Foundation and organised a visit in mid December, to talk about Patrick getting involved with upcoming programmes. The Celtic FC Foundation works to improve health, promote equality, encourage learning and tackle poverty. The Foundation is open to all.

The meeting led to Patrick signing up for the  Foundations ‘BT Sports Gateway to Employment Scheme’ a ten week scheme running 2 days per week which offered employability coaching combined with physical activity.

Patrick’s success and dedication to this programme  (travelling early in the morning by public transport from West Dunbartonshire to Parkhead, even in the winter) led to him taking a place on a 2nd Scheme run by The Foundation – the 10 weeks ‘Cashback Employability Scheme’, a similar programme which allowed Patrick continued development.

Patrick’s commitment and application on both these courses with the Celtic FC Foundation have resulted in him impressing to such a significant extent that they have offered Patrick employment, as a paid Trainee Community Coach with The Celtic Foundation on an 18th month contract!

But there’s more…

Patrick is also taking his first steps in his coaching career by having been successful in obtaining funding for a Princes Trust Development Award. This award is a financial support that has been created to support young people financially with training requirements.

Patrick will now use this award to pay for his ‘Early Touches Coaching Badge’ level 1.1 through the Scottish Football Association with a view to continuing the process by booking the next level once this is completed.  The training will begin on 19th August at a school near to where Patrick lives in West Dunbartonshire.

Reflecting on his journey with Epilepsy Futures, Patrick’s grandmother Catherine speaks movingly about the changes she has seen in his life since he began his involvement with us at Epilepsy Connections via another of our services, the monthly ‘Friends Connected’ social event, a little over 2 years ago.

Catherine happily admits that she underestimated him and the whole family are delighted at the transformation in him, from a young man who was quiet and withdrawn to seeing flashes of the “cheekier” side of him that has not been visible for many years.

The family is proud to celebrate these achievements, knowing that he has seen other siblings and family members make progress and achieve goals while he was stuck in limbo.

Catherine says she has learned never to doubt someones dreams or ambitions.

Shannon McMinn, Employability Coordinator with the Celtic FC Foundation shared some thoughts on Patrick with us:

Working with Patrick has been great. Patrick from the get go showed dedication not only with his willingness to travel but also his keenness to ensure he involved himself in all aspects of the projects. At the start, Patrick was quiet and would often keep himself to himself. As the weeks went on Patrick developed great relationships with not only staff from the Celtic Foundation, but also other participants on the projects.

 

While Patrick was on the project he really developed and became established, with regards to taking on a leadership role by proving to the other young people to be a positive, enthusiastic and compassionate role model. Patrick was involved in a number of activities throughout the initial 10 weeks, but the highlight for Patrick and Celtic FC Foundation was to see Patrick, have the opportunity to take part in a football match on the pitch at Parkhead. In the beginning Patrick was noticeably reserved, so to see his confidence develop to such an extent, that he was able to stride onto the Parkhead pitch was really quite something! 

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 Picture: (Patrick emerges out of the tunnel at Parkhead)

Seeing Patrick develop on this journey with the goal of becoming a coach in the future has been a real inspiration not only to the young people but also to the staff at Celtic FC Foundation. Patrick will be joining us, as a paid Trainee Community Coach at Celtic FC Foundation. This will provide Patrick with an income and the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with people from the local community while working as part of a team at The Celtic Foundation. The supported job placement will provide Patrick with an opportunity to actively pursue his goal of becoming a coach, Patrick will be involved in gaining further qualifications as part of this process

Throughout the year, The Celtic FC Foundation run a wide range of projects that have a range of focuses such as health and wellbeing, employability, sport and school based educational projects.

 

Our regular Epilepsy Futures blogger Steven Connelly offered the following thoughts about Patrick, as they were peers on Epilepsy Futures together at the same time:

I clearly remember meeting Patrick during the induction period of Epilepsy Futures.

I am so proud of Patrick for his achievements during the programme, it has been so emotional and meaningful watching his confidence grow and develop.

During Futures Patrick talked about how he wanted to be involved in sports coaching  after the programme had ended. Epilepsy Connections really listened to Patrick, and took interest into consideration (his love for The Celtic Family) and encouraged and supported him with a placement with the Celtic Foundation.

Patrick deserves all of his accomplishments. He is an enthusiastic, hard working, passionate and a really wonderful person.

Dreams do come true, Patrick is a living example of this; he found the determination, strength, passion, courage and enthusiasm to achieve all of this!

He is a real inspiration and I am honoured to call Patrick my friend. 

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Picture: (Patrick with Celtic FC Foundations, Employability Coordinator Shannon McMinn).

Epilepsy Connections would like to extend their thanks to The Celtic FC Foundation.