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Changing Lives In Rwanda

12 February 2014

Cheltenham Town youth coach Pete Haynes is joining the FA in Rwanda to help change lives.

The Football Association’s ‘Changing Lives’ programme is heading to Rwanda and Robins youth coach Pete Haynes is making the journey too.

Pete works within the Cheltenham Town academy under the guidance of Russell Milton and Jamie Victory and has been a big part of the recent EPPP audit process as well as coaching in the Academy setup.

However, Pete now faces a life changing trip to Rwanda in Central and East Africa where the FA are aiming to deliver football festivals and to support local teachers by delivering leadership training. The aim is to use football as a catalyst for social development in the country following the genocide which happened 20 years ago.

 Pete will be a part of this fantastic campaign and he admitted it was an exciting, but nervy, prospect.

“Apprehensive would be a good word. It is a step into the unknown for me,” said Pete.

“It’s a new country and it feels like being thrown into the deep end but I’m so excited for the test and I cannot wait to get started now.

“For the first two days we will be mentoring Rwandan coaches and then, by the end of the trip, we are hoping to deliver a football festival to schools, orphanages and local towns and villages. It’ll be done at the Rwandan national stadium.”

Pete started his coaching career at the tender age of 15 in a voluntary position of a county coaching scholar and he is now one of 20 national FA coaching scholars who will make the trip to Rwanda in an effort to change lives. Pete was also a footballer with the Cheltenham Town academy but was denied a scholarship after an injury forced him to have groin surgery. Pete went back to school, finished his A Levels and has built himself a new career as a youth coach with the Academy.

With the support of Cheltenham Town, Pete has started his UEFA ‘B’ coaching license early and now has a full time role within the Robins academy working with the Robins Under 11 squad. His progress as a young coach has come through hard work but Pete is thankful of the support he has received.

“The help and support of Cheltenham Town and Russell, Jamie, Antoine and everyone in the youth department has influenced my development massively,” explained Pete.

 “I am very grateful for their help because, without it, I probably wouldn’t have been able to develop as a coach and as the person I am today. The experience I am gaining is more than I could ask for. Cheltenham’s support in allowing me to go has been great and it is their support which has seen me start my UEFA B early and obtain a full time role at the club and kick on in my pursuit to work as a coach in the professional game. I can’t thank them enough!”

Robins Academy staff James Murphy and Jamie Victory have also enabled Pete to take Cheltenham Town kit out to Rwanda to use whilst mentoring Rwandan coaches and children.

If you’d like to follow Pete’s progress in Rwanda then you can follow him on Twitter (@petehaynes06) as well as the Cheltenham Town academy official Twitter (@CTFCyOfficial).

If you are inspired by Pete’s story, aged between 12 and 24 and would like to learn more about voluntary coaching development then please email Scott Milne at the Gloucestershire FA (

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