Promoting Sport & Physical Activity

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Project 500

Project 500 is a campaign to address the imbalance in the number of male to female coaches, creating a more diverse workforce to drive the growth of female participation in sport. It has seen hundreds of female coaches recruited, developed and deployed across the seven South East counties. Project 500 doesn’t stop there, further plans are being developed to continue building on its success and be at forefront of female coaching. 

Project 500 is an initiative created and delivered by Active Sussex, Active Surrey, Leap, Get Berkshire Active, Kent Sport, Energise Me and Oxfordshire Sports Partnership.

Check out the Project 500 Facebook page to see what’s happening and connect with other coaches. We look forward to supporting you!

Meet our Project 500 Champions

Danielle Lewis-Collins


I started my coaching journey as an assistant netball coach taking my first steps into coaching around my full time corporate career.  At the end of 2012 I decided to bite the bullet and take up a full-time career in netball coaching and have not looked back since.

In 2014 I established a new junior netball club in Brighton (5Ways Netball Club) after seeing how few opportunities there were for young girls to get into the sport. Since then, the club has expanded significantly and now has over 200 members from ages 6 – 16 years from participation to performance.

Being a netball coach has given me some incredible opportunities. Everything from developing intro sessions for tiny ones, to working with the Zambian National Netball Squad during their World Cup Qualifiers.  Ive met some great people on the journey to date, made some fantastic friends and, hopefully, impacted a few young people along the way.

I am delighted to be a champion for the Project 500 Coaching Communities project and I’m really excited about the possibilities ahead.  It wasn’t a difficult decision to be involved in such a wonderful project which is all about creating a ‘coaching community in Sussex that provides support, development opportunities and a safe place for female coaches, leaders and activators to flourish’.  What is not to love about the concept?!

Jess Barnes

I have always had Asthma and managed to keep playing football throughout school and into my early 20s. Eventually it became apparent that I was struggling with the physical aspects of work and sport and I had to leave both.

My health took a big turn in 2011. I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. This meant I had excessive fluid around my brain causing pressure. I had a shunt placed to drain this fluid after many lumber punctures. Unfortunately, one of these shunts drained too well and caused a bleed on my brain. I had to have emergency surgery to save my life.

As my neuro issues improved, I developed something called Cauda Equina Syndrome. This condition has left me with no feeling in my left leg so I will usually be walking with an aid.

When my health improved, and I had my assistance dog, I felt more confident to volunteer. I started at Sussex Disability Football League, Volunteering enabled me to get my Level 1 Football Coaching qualification and I was assisted in this by working with Uckfield Grasshoppers. I also completed my coaching disabled football in the process and went on to set up a disability walking football team.

I now coach and work at Worthing Town doing Football fun time for 2–5-year olds, and an U14 girls team. I also still have the disability walking team, along with a day centre where adults with disabilities attend weekly football sessions.

I hope my story inspires others to go out and try. If we don’t push ourselves, we don’t know what our real potential can be. My motto in life is ‘it’s not can’t, it’s how’.

Teresa Bennett

I had always wanted to be a PE teacher and loved all sports growing up, especially Table Tennis. I fulfilled my dream and taught for 30 years, including along the way being a Head of PE, a School Games Organiser. I think being a coach has really taught me how to understand and be empathetic to lots of different people.

I have been fortunate to coach as a National Performance Coach for England schools at many internationals, a highlight of my coaching career. I coach at Brighton Table Tennis Club  delivering sessions from juniors to disability sessions to women’s sessions. I’m passionat about getting more women to start coaching. There is no better feeling than a player thanking you for a great session or a player’s parents messaging you to say what a difference you are making to their child’s confidence.

I feel honoured to be asked to become a Project 500 Champion and am sure we can make a real difference to getting more women involved in coaching, and offer support to those already coaching.


Sign up to the Project 500 Coaching Community here.

For more information please contact:

Nick Chellel

Nick Chellel

Strategic Workforce Officer

07766 894494

Nick is the Strategic Workforce Officer for Active Sussex, leading on workforce development for Active Sussex and the implementation of the Workforce Delivery Plan. Nick is also the CYP Safeguarding Lead Officer for Active Sussex.