City duo are good sports

Tim and Alex
Tim and Alex
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A Sheffield couple is heading to South Africa, to work with children ostracised from their communities due to mental and physical health disabilities.

Tim Cotton and his fiancee Alexandra Mills will spend seven months in a sports centre in Mbekweni, using sports to help reintegrate children into their societies, as well as helping them to develop coping strategies to enable them to better manage their issues.

Tim, a psychiatric nurse from Broomhall, has been granted a seven-month unpaid career break to travel to South Africa at the end of the month with charity Hope Through Action - which uses sport to enable the development of young people in South Africa.

He said: “Currently these children do not have any psychiatric input and are often ostracised from their local communites, as there is not the required education or understanding in the townships. Part of my role will be to engage with other services in the surrounding areas to gain knowledge of how they work and encourage them to invest in these children.”

Tim also plans to document his experiences, producing a manual for the project which he can leave with staff at the centre, so that they can continue the work after he’s returned home. It’s his hope that similar centres nearby will also use the manual to incorporate similar projects.

Tim, aged 23, said: “Alexandra, a recently qualified architect, will be setting up an arts and crafts group, allowing both disabled and able-bodied children to explore creativity, which is not currently a part of their educations.

Visit to make a donation to help cover the couple’s tools and living costs.