ParkLives Southampton awards community grants to individuals and organisations who are looking to help us to expand our offering to the community. In 2019 we plan to put on more sessions than ever before, in addition to delivering a programme which really provides what communities require. 

Nick Coe (Head Coach) for Solent Red Storm Flag Football Team, tells us why the ParkLives Community Grant has been instrumental in engaging with Southampton communities:


"I have been a ParkLives Southampton Session Leader since 2016 and in that time have delivered a pretty varied amount of free activities including Fit'n'Fun Family Boot Camps, Running, Nerf Warz, Park Days, Tennis and Special Egg Hunts but the session that always remains close to my heart is my Flag Football session.

I am originally a New Yorker, living in Southampton. My chosen sport was always football (or as it is called here, 'American Football') and I played it throughout my youth, even playing for a British (American) Football club for a few years. In the last few years I have been working closely with grassroots American Football, coaching younger players for a local side. It was only then that I discovered 'Flag Football'; the non-contact version of the game. The rules are similar to the contact version of the game, but you only need 5 players on each side, and there are no bone-crunching tackles; just pull either of the flags off the opponent's hips.

The game of Flag Football allows players as young as 5 or 6 to join in, and as there is not a lot of kit involved it is a relatively cheap sport to take up; players only really need a solid pair of trainers/boots, maybe some gloves and a mouth guard (for competitive games). However, to deliver sessions or games, I had to start saving up and buying some kit such as the belts and flags that each player uses, footballs (not soccer balls or rugby balls) and cones... so many cones! Once this was all bought I was able to start putting on the free ParkLives Flag Football sessions (that have been part of the timetable for three years). We have had a lot of kids coming along and giving it a go, but more importantly, parents were also encouraged to get stuck in. With more people turning up, there seemed to be a genuine interest in this strange sport from the States. I saw the potential of starting up a new local Flag Football team for Cadets (school years 1-7), Youth (school years 8-11 years) and Seniors (aged 16+) and with the help of the ParkLives Southampton Community Grant that is now happening with Solent Red Storm.

We were given £500 at the end of 2018 to help purchase equipment that would not only benefit our club, but the local community too as it meant that we could offer two free ParkLives sessions each week: Sunday lunchtimes for kids (and 'have-a-go parents') on the field outside Chamberlayne Leisure Centre and Thursday evenings for adults (16+) inside one of Chamberlayne's big rooms. There is a massive emphasis on both sessions being fun, but also a way to teach participants about the game and keeping fit. It gives me a unique position being a ParkLives Session Leader and an American Football Coach because I can see the positive impact that sport has in our communities. ParkLives offers a huge array of different activities for people to try and, with its Community Grants system, it allows people that show an interest in the sport a chance to continue with it and develop within a club environment.

The free ParkLives Flag Football session take place on Sundays from 12.30pm-1.15pm (followed by Solent Red Storm's weekly practice sessions) on the field behind Chamberlayne Leisure Centre.

The free ParkLives Flag Football Fit session takes place on Thursday evenings from 8pm-9pm inside the Community Room at Chamberlayne Leisure Centre (16 years or older)."

If you are interested in coming along to a ParkLives session, please check our current timetable here.

If you would like to find out more about Solent Red Storm please visit www.solentredstorm.uk or www.facebook.com/solentredstorm


What is ParkLives?

We’re running a daily series of low cost and free, family-friendly outdoor activities in the heart of your local communities – the parks. From Zumba to Tai Chi, football to tennis, dog walking to gardening, all our activity sessions are free and absolutely anyone can join in – yes anyone!

How can I apply for a ParkLives Community Grant?

Apply Here