“Helping people feel happier is the essence of what we do”

Football coach Becca Todd, who teaches at a special needs school in Knowle, is the woman behind Team Brave, a women’s football team based at Windmill Hill City Farm. Alongside Mike Alden, Becca was one of two South Bristolians shortlisted for the Unsung Hero category at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award. We caught up with Becca to find out more about the fantastic work she does.

How did you get involved with football coaching? “I’m a football coach and I’ve coached all over the world for various charities, teams and schools. I love how sports have the power to unite people together and boost confidence and happiness. I’m really passionate about playing and coaching football, and set up Brave to give people an opportunity to play in a safe, fun, welcoming space, and use football to enhance mental health, wellbeing and happiness. I’ve always loved football since I was a kid, and now I love giving others the opportunity to try it and love it.”

Brave looks like it is based in Chile and Bristol, how did that connection come about? “Yes, I lived in Chile for three years and, when we were there, we set up an adventure park with all kinds of confidence-boosting outdoor activities, in an area of deprivation where people often don’t get a chance to get outdoors and be active. Brave Park was really popular with kids and their families, and we loved seeing people so happy outside.”

It’s clear that the mental health aspect of football is as important to Brave as the physical aspect. “Yes. Brave really focuses on boosting self-esteem, confidence and improving mental health and wellbeing. We provide a really safe, welcoming and friendly environment for everyone to feel a sense of belonging and to make new friends. The football provides fun and a great catharsis from everyday life, and the support system of Team Brave really helps people to conquer any challenges they might be facing. We try to make it as accessible as possible to give everyone the opportunity, and it’s free.”

Congratulations on making the SPOTY shortlist, what an incredible achievement. “It was so touching to be nominated by the team and our mentor, and to be nominated for such a prestigious award was amazing! I’d like to say thanks so much to everyone who nominated and supported me.”

What was it like attending the BBC’s awards ceremony? “It was an amazing experience to be among world class athletes and sports stars, and the ceremony was incredible. It was also great to meet the other Unsung Hero nominees, as they are doing awesome work in their communities, too.”

What’s next for you and Brave in Bristol? “We just want to keep on providing fun, friendly, free and inclusive football sessions for everyone to access. We’d like to reach out to more vulnerable people such as refugees, to give them opportunities and help them integrate into society. Helping people feel happier is the essence of what we do, and what we strive to keep on doing through the power of football and team spirit.”

If people are interested in joining the team, what should they do? “Anyone is welcome, so they can come along to training any Wednesday from 6-7pm at Windmill Hill City Farm. For more information, they can drop us an email at teambrave.uk@gmail.com or via instagram @team_brave_x. We’d also love to hear from any organisations that might be keen to get involved in sponsoring our projects or collaborating.”

PICS – credit Team Brave Instagram