Amy Kington is the highly inspirational woman behind Bristol City Community Trust. BCCT strive to make a difference to the lives of communities in Bristol through football, particularly working with young people and educational opportunities. Amy has been a long-time supporter of Bristol City Football Club and was an avid footballer when younger. She is also now a keen cyclist, amongst enjoying other sports, both taking part and spectating.
1. What was your first experience of sport? How did that develop to where you are now?
I always loved being outside. Growing up I was fortunate enough to live opposite a cricket field where kids gravitated to the second they finished school. Although cricket would be played there most summer evenings, at the weekends my friends and I used the space in a really unstructured way — we played all sorts of games including hide and seek, football and, if we had enough players, cricket.
It was a safe place and it provided me with an opportunity to have fun, make new friends and learn how to compete against boys who were much older and stronger than I was.
I loved football but there was no local side so my first experience of football was being taken by my Dad to a Bristol City game as a 6 year old child. It was amazing and we became regulars. I don’t think I really appreciated the football at that young age but I really enjoyed spending time with my Dad and the hot dog at half time was the perfect treat. At secondary school I started to play football and soon became interested in coaching. I completed my first coaching badge at the age of 14 and later went on to manage three girls teams for a number of years.
It was this experience that helped me to realise that I wanted to work in football and ultimately at the club that I have been a proud supporter of for over 26 years. I now have my dream job as I can create opportunities to others to play so that they don’t experience a lack of local opportunity in the same way as I did at their age.
2. Who were your sporting role models as a child? How about now?
I don’t think I viewed role models in the same way as young people do now. Back in the late 80s and 90s there were women like Martina Navratilova who seemed to be more focused on achievement than stardom. They had interests and talents and didn’t really seem too bothered on selling their looks like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and The Kardashians. They were, in their own way, distinctly powerful and not the types of women who the media now focus most their attentions towards.
Now there are many sporting role models but they still don’t seem to get the media attention they deserve. Strong female role models are out there in abundance and I hope that the interest in them increases as it can only be a good thing for all of us!
3. Was there ever a time when you almost gave up and, if so, what made you keep going?
Although I’ve not always belonged to a sports club, I have never given up playing some form of sport or another. I need to exercise to maintain a healthy mind and body. Sport has always given me the ability to have fun and make friends and I don’t think I’ll ever stop even as I get older. I just expect to get slower but I’ll still be walking for as long as I can!
4. How would you motivate someone to get active and engaged in sport?
Forget all your pre-conceived ideas and try things that you feel you will enjoy. Even shaking it to Beyonce in the privacy and comforts of your own home could be a good way to have fun and get hot and sweaty in the early days! If you want something more structured then it’s always a good idea to go with a friend and wear clothes that you feel comfortable in. Trying anything new (or for the first time in years) can be daunting but you’ll find that grassroots clubs are always looking for new members and they often have teams at varying ability and experience levels. Please remember that every athlete started life as a novice!
5. How important are sports fans and audience to your sport?
Sports fans are the life blood of football and without fans the whole sport would crash.