Photo of Wayne with fishing gear

Wayne Thomas, a Neighbourhood Caretaker for Six Town Housing and tenant, has recently become the country’s first deaf Level 2 professional angling coach after becoming “hooked” on the hobby over 20 years ago.

A few years ago, Wayne - who is profoundly deaf but can use sign language and is a good lip-reader - accessed the Steps to Success (S2S) programme after being unemployed for almost 2 years. S2S helped him access free training and a work placement to find a full time job. This gave him the confidence needed to volunteer at local angling events run by The River Canal Trust, providing coaching support to young people.

Wayne said, “Before Steps to Success helped me, I joined Little Britain Anglers Club to help me relax and reduce my stress levels. When I received the guidance from S2S, it made me feel a lot more confident in myself, which was when I started to work towards my coaching qualification because I wanted to help others with something I felt so passionately about.”

Last month Wayne supported the UK Youth Angling Championship by coaching young Tyler Lomax, a member of the Little Britain Anglers Club, in his first fishing competition. Tyler caught 4 small fish and was presented with the trophy of Most Promising Junior 2019.

Wayne and Tyler with trophy

Tyler's mother Lyndsey said, "I first met Wayne when we both took part in Steps to Success and we became friends. In July last year Wayne started coaching Tyler, who has ADHD. We find that fishing helps Tyler to concentrate on something and keep his attention for a long time period. He absolutely loves fishing and I am really proud of him winning his award and thankful for Wayne’s support."

Story posted on 14/10/19

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