My Favourite Things: Richard Holmes of Kings Foundation
For 27 years, Richard Holmes has led Sheffield-based not-for-profit organisation Kings Foundation in their mission to get children active, having fun and learning together.
Aged just 22, recently married with two young children and working in marketing, Richard took a giant leap of faith when he was invited to be the only full-time worker in the newly-formed charity. What began in Sheffield with a cupboard of sports equipment is now a global organisation which has worked with more than 1.5 million children and provided work for around 40,000 young people. Kings Camps has changed the face of the cruise industry for families and provided activity programmes for children of Air Force, Army and Navy personnel around the world. Richard lives in Fulwood with wife Lorraine and has two adult sons.
cycling in the peaks
I quit playing football around 12 years ago and through the encouragement of my dad, I found road cycling. I’m hooked! The Peak District is a cycling playground. It’s right on our doorstep is one of the great privileges of living in Sheffield. We have so many great routes and it’s great to be able to ride and have the essential coffee stop! Places like Castleton, Bakewell and Tideswell are a real joy.
Hillsborough – Sheffield Wednesday
My first experience of going to a stadium was when my grandpa took me to a night match at Hillsborough when I was five. I remember the lights, the green turf and the huge stadium. When you love football, it’s in your blood. You stay loyal to your team, no matter how good or bad they are. I’ve seen some shocking matches at Hillsborough. I was also at the ground during the terrible Hillsborough disaster, but I’ve also had some truly memorable moments there. Watching the Owls there with my boys is still an awesome experience.
I came to faith in my early 20s and I’m hugely grateful to my local church for being a source of teaching, a place of community and people that I’m accountable to. There’s a Sunday evening service that keeps me on track and allows me to cycle with my mates on Sunday morning. I believe that sport is God-given and it provides a fantastic vehicle for living life with others.
After hating the stuff, I developed a love for coffee when I visited the USA in 2011. I took a work-sabbatical and volunteered at Livestrong, Lance Armstrong’s cancer foundation based in Austin, Texas. I was there for six weeks and discovered the joy of hanging out in coffee shops. Although the whole Lance thing came to a very sad end, my love for good coffee and Sheffield’s many great coffee shops like Tamper, Bragazzi’s and The Depot, has continued.
My grandparents lived in Worrall and I spent a large part of my childhood and many weekends at their house. I don’t pass through there often, but when I do the sense of nostalgia and the warmth of the memories is tangible. Although there are many more houses and less farmland there now, I’ll always think of it in the same way as I did in my early years.
Growing up at Bents Green, my mum was a keen gardener and, although the garden was my primary place for playing football and learning to do thousands of keepy-ups, I’ve since learnt to appreciate well-kept gardens. In recent years Lorraine and I have developed our garden and we really value it as a place for taking stock and kicking back. I love the sense of achievement of grafting in the garden and seeing the results.
Living in the same place for a long time might seem like a safe option, but it does mean you have deep roots that enable you to be connected to your community. My work has enabled me to travel and that’s been a great privilege, but there’s no place like home. When we walk through our local parks, we see lots of people we know, some we know well, some we know a little, but it all makes for that sense of community we’re so grateful for.