Shortwood United’s central defender Tom Hoskins will be looking to continue making a change this season, both on the pitch with Wood and off the pitch through Chance Is Change.
Hoskins started to progress the company in recent years and now provides a terrific service which sees the former Cheltenham Saracens and Slimbridge man visit children and young people and provide one to one sessions to give them confidence and address any mental health issues that may be present.
“The last year for Chance is Change has been tremendous, we are helping so many children and young people and we are seeing a massive difference – it is great to see the improvement they are making and now they’re thriving in life we are so pleased for them.” Hoskins said.
“I really feel like I have the key and I have so many ideas which I think could change a lot of people’s lives. I’m still looking to employ but on a positive note we are in a different school every day and we are seeing so many children and young people outside of school. I really want to get on air so I can talk to more people who are suffering from mental health issues and challenging behaviour and also try and guide the world to create positive realignment.”
Hoskins has shared on social media the reviews he receives for his sessions on his personal accounts, as well as the company’s page and was even put forward by parents for a Pride of Britain award for his successes. But Hoskins remains humble and insists it is down to the children themselves to make the positive changes.
“Being honest I don’t take any credit for what I do , it’s down to the student to choose if they want to speak to me, they are the biggest influence in their lives and they deserve the most credit. But it is a nice feeling that my work is getting notice.
Looking forward, hopefully we are looking to employ and to grow our footprint. Also I really want to take Chance is Change on tv and on to the radio as I want to help others. Got lots of ideas just need to put it on paper.” Hoskins added.
Hoskins started the season on the sidelines due to a setback with his facial injury suffered at Slimbridge a couple of seasons ago. After a training ground collision with then teammate Marley Thomas, Hoskins suffered a severely broken cheekbone, broken eyesocket and nose that has affected him since.
He found himself at Shortwood United in the Western League and played nearly two thirds of a long season for the former Southern League as they were eventually relegated from the Western Premier. Ahead of the 2019/20 season United have now been moved into the Hellenic League Division One West and Hoskins believes he can help Shortwood get back into the Southern League despite the tough season.
“It was always hard to get back to football after my face injury and it was also a very hard season. I joined midway through the season and I was really unfit and Shortwood were at the bottom of the table, so it was always going to be a struggle.
The committee and the fans are what make Shortwood a great club and they made everything positive, we had a young and inexperienced squad but they were learning every game. It’s a shame we didn’t have the squad throughout that we ended the season with as if we did we would have stayed up,
But the win at Westbury was a highlight of the season, even if it was just too late. As one of the oldest of the group it was good to help the younger lads to adapt to the level and get them out of trouble when they were chopsing (this happened a lot), sadly I’m banned for the first game so I’m clearly not a very good role model, ha.” Hoskins added.
Ahead of the new season, Hoskins will be looking to stay fit despite needing an operation as his facial injury continues to heal fully. Rumours have been circulating that Hoskins may be looking to move on from Shortwood, but the defender has revealed he is looking to stay at the Nailsworth based club this season.
“I think I am good enough to play at Southern League level, I’m just really unfit. I got it in the head but I’m carrying a lot of timber and haven’t been fit since my accident so the question is no I don’t think so yet.
There were signs this season of me getting back to myself but I just need a full pre season under my belt. My face is still not fully healed but it’s getting there, I have an operation on Tuesday to fix my nose as that has never been the same since Marley [Marley Thomas] took my head of with his shin, this will be a little set back but hopefully it heals quickly.
The plan is to stay at Shortwood and be loyal to the club who took a chance with me. I want to get them back to where they belong, the Southern League.”