Welcome to the Sports Participation department.

The main role of the Sports Participation department is to focus on building links with local schools.

Our team of highly qualified and experienced coaches are on a mission to increase participation in football, sport and physical activity across Rotherham.

We know that the physical activity habits formed in childhood are a key predictor of the physical activity habits we will carry into adulthood. Therefore it is essential we work with children from an early age to ensure they have the opportunity to experience sport and physical activity in a positive way, setting them up for a longer, healthier life.

Meet the team

Jonny Gilberthorpe 

Schools & Sport Participation Manager

“If you don’t have the ability to suffer, you are not going to make it; Learn from failure, set goals & improve the future.”

Jonny has a degree in Sport Development, PGCE teaching qualification and over 10 years experience working in education, coaching & sport. Jonny is a FA level 2 football coach and is enrolled to complete the UEFA B license in 2022. Experience across all education sectors, school sport partnerships and Sport England projects provides a wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure the team are providing high quality opportunities for all ages and abilities to take part in sport or physical activity. Jonny wants to provide quality opportunities, experiences & pathways for all to develop skills & to fulfil their ambitions.

James Marsh

School Sport Coordinator

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”

James started with the trust around two and a half years ago. He has a degree in Physical Education and School Sport, a Level 3 award in Education and Training and national governing body coaching badges to go with this. James started out with the trust as a Sports Coach in the Sports Participation department and has progressed into the role of School Sport Coordinator. He has around 10 years of experience delivering in schools and to young people, including working in one of the local primary schools before moving to work for the trust. James likes to provide high quality sessions that help children to stay healthy, active and engaged with their physical activity.

Dave Atkinson

Lead Foundation Phase Coach

“Train to develop. Play to win.’

Dave is an experienced football coach and has worked as a Full Time Lead Foundation Phase Coach at Rotherham United Academy, where he looked after a range of players from the ages of u7-u12s. His qualifications include: UEFA B Football, UEFA B Futsal and the FA Youth Award.

Jordan Mayor

Community Coach

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”


Adam Pilgrim 

Football Development Coordinator

“Before kids can play like a pro, they must enjoy playing the game like a kid”

Adam is a UEFA B qualified football coach and is in his second spell with RUCST, having first joined the trust in 2014.

On his coaching journey, Adam has coached in both grassroots and academy youth football covering a wide range of age groups, having worked with children from as young as 3 up to young adults of 17/18, as well as coaching adult teams in both men’s and women’s football.

Adam is dedicated to providing opportunities for as many young people as possible to enjoy “the best game in the world”, and use his experience and knowledge to help them achieve their goals within the game.

What we do

Our schools programme has been developed to deliver high quality physical literacy curriculum time sessions and also provide out of school opportunities for children to engage in extra extended activities. We provide schools with a comprehensive programme designed to compliment and reinforce existing PE and academic syllabus based on developing physical literacy.

Through the motivational and inspirational power of sport, and in particular football, we also aim to develop a child’s personal skills, improve their academic achievement, build self-esteem, encourage healthy lifestyles and ultimately enhance the pupil’s employability.

Sports Development at Rotherham United Community Sports Trust aims too:

– Increase levels of Participation in Primary School Settings

– Educating individuals of the health benefits of Sport

– Provide environments for Children to realise their potential

As a Trust, we are proud to be able to offer quality sports and educational provision to a network of schools, groups and individuals throughout the calendar year. This is achieved through an extensive range of activities, each delivered by our highly skilled team of staff who are not only seen as coaches, but also positive role models by the many people that we come into contact with.

Currently we are delivering a wide variety of sessions that include reading programmes, PE provision, PPA, lunchtime clubs, after school clubs, matchday experiences, school sports programme, holidays clubs, pre school and sponsored penalty shootouts!


Email: participation@rotherhamunited.net 

Office: 01709827767