Speaker Wayne Jacobs - One in a Million Charity and Free School

Wed 14th November 2018 at 18.30 - 21.00

Wayne Jacobs, ex Bradford City footballer and CEO of One in a Million told us about his journey to setting up the organisation. --- Speaker Finder Gerald Sanderson, Visitors Host, Grace and Banners Mike Clewes, Cash Desk Tony Gill

The One in a Million Charity logo

Wayne told us that recently he has taken up the part time role as Assistant Head Coach at West Bromich Albion F.C. but retains a part time role in the One in a Million organisation.

He gave us a a history of his life from the age of 6 in Sheffield when his parents split up and he became a member of a single parent family which was unusual at that time. This left him insecure and affected his schooling. His insecurity was further added to because his mother had a heart condition brought on by Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Despite this he had always been fond of soccer and loved to kick about a ball right from the moment he started toddling. At Middle school he got into the football team and played for Sheffield schools. But he was very much an angry young man and his school told him that if his behaviour did not improve they would not let him play football. Despite his behaviour he did continue playing and captained the Sheffield under 15's taking them on to win the English Schools Football Association Trophy. But school life continued to be a mess and he ended up getting excluded from school.

Aged 14 he was signed up by Sheffield Wednesday as a member of the school boy programme. He left school at 16 without any qualifications but Wednesday took him onto the apprenticeship scheme. At 18 the then manager of the club, Howard Wilkinson, agreed to sign him onto the main squad as a professional but with a severe warning about his behaviour which outside of football continued to be unsatisfactory. Just before he started as a professional his mother died of breast cancer.

During his first year on the first team squad he got 10 matches in the first team. At that time Wednesday were in the then First Division (today that would be the Premiere League). At the end of the year aged 19 Hull City (where Eddie Gray was manager) approached him and since he was only a squad player at Wednesday but would get many more first team games at Hull he agreed to the transfer. That summer his life outside football got into a very bad cycle with drinking and fighting and he only narrowly missed being sent to prison.

His on the field activities in contrast were very good and in his first year at Hull City he got the Player of the Year award. Basically football and training were the only things in his life. During the 1991/92 season he spun around to try to get a ball and snapped his cruciate ligament. At that time repair surgery was not as good as it is today and he was told that he may never play again which hit him "like a ton of bricks". Because he couldn't play any longer for Hull he lost a small house that he had bought and during his period of rehabilitation he started drinking heavily again. He was sofa surfing with a cousin and was in a pretty bad way.

It was at this time that he met a chap who said that he would pray for him. Wayne wasn't interested but after the man had prayed he felt very peaceful. He then put his hands on his bad knee which he was still having trouble straightening and bending and prayed again. He was then able to move the leg almost normally. For the next 18 months he spent time studying the bible with this man and slowly calmed down. Since that time religion has played a strong role in his life enabling him to settle down in a steady relationship with his wife of 21 years and his 3 children.

In 1993/94 he was well enough to play soccer again and contacted Rotherham United looking for a job. They signed him and he made 49 appearances for them that season. Then in August 1994 he was signed by Bradford City who he ended up playing with for 11 years through to 2005. City were in the Premiership for 2 of those years. In 2002 whilst playing for City the thought of starting something like One in a Million first came to him while he was praying. By then he was married and had a young family so thought he needed to concentrate on his playing career and his family. In 2005 he completed his playing career and went on a charity walk on The Great Wall of China and during that walk decided that the time had come to follow through on his earlier idea..

When he got back to the UK Chris Wilder offered him the job of Assistant Manager / Player at Halifax Town. He accepted the job on the condition that he could spend one day a week on One in a Million.

Hub and Spoke model

The charity is based on a Hub & Spoke concept where the spokes are the 5 constituency that the charity serves in Bradford, the outer wheel is the ways in which it engages with children and the Hub is the core values of Compassion, Honesty, Integrity and Excellence. The first project was on 6 May 2006 on Canterbury Estate and 7 youngsters attended along with 5 volunteers. But this quickly grew to 120 children in that project.

In 2007 Wayne moved back to Bradford City as caretaker manager and persuaded the club to give him some space to also run the charity. In 2011 he stopped working for the club to concentrate purely on the charity. A decision was soon made to make a bid for one of the new Free Schools that were being proposed by the government. The bid was successful and the school opened in 2013 with just a year 7 intake. After that there was a new intake of year 7 every year until finally last year the school was fully operational with children in all years from Year 7 (age 11) to Year 11(age 16). The school premises were purchased from Bradford City by the government and the school is fully funded from central government rather than the L.E.A. Under it's constitution it must not make a loss so has to budget very carefully each year. It's maximum enrolment is a total of 375 children and it will never exceed this as the whole concept is for a much smaller senior school than what has become the norm. The school has had 2 Ofsted reports since opening. In the first it received a "Requires Improvement" in just one category but the most recent report this year marked it as "Good" all round.

The charity and the school run as 2 completely separate enterprises. There is also a third leg which is labelled Enterprise. This is a business which sells things and any profits go directly to the charity. The charity runs many different projects from sports (not just soccer but also such things as sailing), arts, crafts and theatre. Typically there are 1100 contact hours covering 2379 children per week for a total of 67,873 contact hours last year.

For more information on the charity and the school please see their web site: - http://oiam.org/

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