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Sport for Change

Since 2000, Scottish Sports Futures have combined youth work and sport to support young people to become all they can be, to be inspired to make positive life style choices and to change their own lives for the better. Our tried and tested approach involves working in the most deprived communities in Scotland. Working with local and national partners and utilising professional role models with our partnership with the Glasgow Rocks as well as Judo Scotland, Netball Scotland and many other fantastic sports combined with the upskilling and development of local young people brought us into this space know just now as ‘Sportforchange’.

Recently we have been working alongside The Robertson Trust, Scottish Government and sportscotland with our colleagues also working in this space to research this approach to sport and physical activity. The findings are published in a report and summary document can be found here – Together we want to ensure that all people have access to quality sports provision, that young people can be supported to fulfil and realise potential. When sport is about more than the sport we know what approach to use and we have developed SCQF accredited modules, funded through the Scottish Governments CashBack for Communities programme so named Education Through CashBack (known as ETC) to upskill the workforce to understand young people and put them at the heart of programmes. These are open to all and there are options for funded courses right through to tutor training, more information can be found on the dedicated website here –

In the next few months we will play a part in implementing an action plan, based on findings from this research and are very excited about what this means for sport but more importantly for young people in Scotland. Watch this space for more news and information on how to access training and be involved.
Kirsty McNab

Head of Operations


Girls only slam dunking tournament 

Initial findings from the Active Women project published by Sport England suggest the key to successful recruitment of women into physical activity is to base it on fun while addressing common concerns, such as self-consciousness about fitness, weight or sporting ability.

Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) Shell Twilight Basketball programme have successfully recruited girls and young women through; having public launch events, where women and girls can meet coaches and see what an activity session looks like. They are offered personal follow-up from coaches and a dedicated Youth Development Coordinator. By encouraging existing participants to bring a friend and ongoing promotion across communities, using a variety of media with female friendly publicity all designed by girls involved in the programme.

On Saturday, girls from across Scotland arrived at Woodbank House in Aberdeen to tip off the first ever Shell Twilight Basketball Girls Tournament. The day comprised of thrilling basketball games and fun activities surrounding body image and self-esteem. The event provided a really positive environment for young girls to feel confident participating in sport, discussing their opinions around difficult topics and meeting other girls who share the same interests as they do.

Shell Twilight Basketball’s Programme Coordinator, Martyn Horsfield said; “It was fantastic to see so many girls interested and taking part in every element of the tournament. A lot of work went into making this tournament a success and the majority of that was taken on by our Shell Twilight Basketball Ambassadors. The Tournament could not have taken place without their brilliant attitude and hours of volunteering. They made it possible to offer the girls this opportunity and it’s clear that both the ambassadors and the girls participating, got a lot out of it.”

Shell’s Communications & Social Performance Advisor, John Raine commented on the initiative; “Shell Twilight Basketball is an exciting initiative that is making a real contribution to social inclusion by giving young people the opportunity to make a number of positive choices for their futures while having fun and learning vital skills. We are delighted to be able to work with Scottish Sports Futures, the Scottish Government and The Glasgow Rocks in delivering this programme”.

Amy who travelled to the event from Glasgow said: “It was great because the girls only games give us more confidence to become involved in mixed tournaments and games”

Shell Twilight Basketball is supported by title sponsors Shell and the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities, which takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them into free activities and programmes for young people across Scotland as well as Children in Need.

For more information on Shell Twilight Basketball and all Scottish Sports Futures activity please visit our website

Blog from our new Chair, Maureen McGonigle

It is always a challenge finding enough money to keep an organisation thriving and in many cases the more success you have as an organisation, the more money it costs you.  So one of the ideas is to appeal to the great Scottish public to support an awards dinner and if you’re lucky get a top speaker along who will ensure your tickets sales go through the roof.

This was the case last week as Street Soccer Scotland ran their first Gala Dinner in Glasgow with a line-up you couldn’t ignore!  The star attraction was Sir Alex Ferguson and he was interviewed on stage by Hazel Irvine, the well-loved sports journalist, who has risen through the ranks of TV broadcasting to become one of the UK’s most knowledgeable presenters.  Adding to the night was the Liverpudlian comedian John Bishop, Scotland’s Gary Tank Commander, Stevie McCrorie previous The Voice winner and Peter Martin, football pundit and broadcaster.

Street Soccer Scotland is a social enterprise which uses football inspired training and personal development as a medium to empower people who are affected by social exclusion, to make positive changes in their lives.  They ultimately believe that sport provides opportunity to participate in life, tackle social exclusion as well as providing an opportunity for real impactful social change.

With over 550 attending the night and with a lot of their own people helping out on the night, Street Soccer raised the amazing sum of £140,000 which I am sure, will go some way to ensuring the good works continues.

Street Soccer Scotland are not alone in using sport as a ‘hook’ to engage with people who have, through no fault of their own, moved away from mainstream education, work and in fact, life.

Scottish Sports Futures, to which I have recently been appointed as chair, engage with young people throughout Scotland to stimulate interest and engage with them at a time in their lives where they have come disengaged from friends, family and any real support systems that they had previously.

SSF use the power of sport to inspire young people to make positive lifestyle choices and with over 70 qualified coaches and 200 volunteers they provide direct delivery and training that maximises the impact of physical activity, bringing youth work and sport together.  This group includes young volunteers, mentors, ambassadors and youth panel members who collectively ensure the needs and desires of Scotland’s youth are at the heart of decision making.

There are a lot of challenges keeping an organisation of this magnitude afloat and Pam Hunter, the Chief Executive, who has recently taken over the role from Ian Reid OBE and founder of SSF, is looking at ways to increase their income stream to ensure a healthy future for the organisation.  If you are interested in hearing more about the work of SSF, either Pam or myself would be happy to meet for a chat and of course, a cuppa!

Disappointing to read about the case with Eni Aluko and the English FA.  Eni Aluko who has been involved in the England set-up from the age of 14, seems now to be out of favour and her career instead of ending on a high, has ended rather sadly with a case of alleged bullying and racism against the current England Manager, Mark Samson, played out in the public domain.  No matter the ins and outs of this situation, this young women must have sacrificed a lot in the early days to play football and represent her country and it is a sad way for her to finish her career.

The Scotland squad themselves have had a few recent announcements of players retiring from the game.  Long standing players, Leanne Ross, Iffy Dieke and Gemma Fay have decided to hang up their international boots.  With over 450 caps between them and a lot of experience, they will be missed.  I believe though it is the right time for them to move on and for Shelley Kerr, the Scotland Manager, to take this opportunity to build her team.  These three players along with many others, have paved the way to ensure that our future stars get a better opportunity in football without having to fight every step of the way.  Good luck to them all.

Callum Campbell-11 months with SSF

During my time with SSF I have had the opportunity to do loads of great stuff including:

Helping fare with the legacy games training. I got the opportunity to go out to 5 different primary schools and deliver training on activities like the long jump and the relay race. On the day of the actual event there was over 1000 young people there the event took place in the emirates and had schools from all over Glasgow taking part. The event was a success and I look forward to helping again at it next year.

I have also been helping coach at Sports tots on a Friday at Crown Point with Budhill Football Club. I have been enjoying it and am currently still doing it from 11 until 12 each week. Billy takes the football side of it and I take the basketball side and get the young people used to basic skills like catching and bouncing a ball.

Before the summer holidays I was also doing a Rocks Community Club (RCC) at the YMCA for Jump2it which was a basketball session for children with learning difficulties I taught them the basics of basketball and then let them play games this session went really well and everyone taking part enjoyed themselves and was interested in learning as much as possible about basketball.

I successfully applied for college and start on the 28th of August to do an NC games and sports course. This is a yearlong course and I hope to move on to the next level after I complete my first year at college. During my year at college I have to go out on work experience for a week and I want to come back to SSF to do my work experience as I will know my in and outs of the organisation.

I have learned a lot during my time with SSF and continue to learn more every day and it has helped me realise that I hope to gain a full time job doing something similar. I will get my qualifications then apply for similar jobs to the role I had at SSF.

First ETC SCQF Course Delivered at Newbattle High School

ETC became SCQF accredited in April 2017 in partnership with Glasgow Kelvin College with modules being accredited at levels 4 and 5. Newbattle High School Sport recreation students were there first group to complete the ETC SCQF version of module 1 – Working with Young People in Sport in June 2017. This was delivered over 2 weeks and was very well received by students. The purpose of the students completing this module was because they are due to visit primary schools in the new term delivering sports sessions on active lifestyles and building self-esteem to primary 7 pupils before their transition to secondary school. WWYPS was the perfect module to be delivered to this group as it would allow them to learn the skills needed to coach, build their own confidence within this role and allow them to understand the how, what and why of what they are doing.ETC Newbattle 3


ETC Newbattle 7

The students completed the SCQF module with great confidence and were a fantastic pilot group for ETC to deliver its first SCQF course too. ETC course tutor Victoria very much enjoyed delivering this course and said “Newbattle High School offers a really welcoming environment. The senior pupils arrived to both sessions full of energy and enthusiasm. Each of them committed to completing the qualification. It was great to see them supporting one another throughout. I’m looking forward to learning more about the next steps in their journey.” Victoria Clark, ETC Tutor
Please see below quotes from a participant on the course and also Bob Foley, Head of Health and Well Being at Newbattle High School;
“We really liked working with Victoria our ETC trainer as she was calm ,informative and taught us loads, and it was fun her not being a Teacher from school. I am feeling confident now to go out to Primaries and work with young pupils.” Samantha S6

“We have been lucky enough to work closely with ETC for 2 years now and I would highly recommend their delivery and tutors as professional and able to make good connections with our pupils, delivering modules that are highly relevant to our senior Sport Rec pupils heading out to deliver Sport lessons to our P7 pupils. They were all nervous to go out to the Primary but the course content and the emphasis on confidence building will help them so much.” Bob Foley, Head of Health and Well Being







Comedy Club to raise funds for SSF

Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) is having a charity fundraiser at The Stand Comedy Club on Wednesday, 28th June 2017 to raise money to support the work we do with over 10,000 disadvantaged young people across Scotland annually.

Join us and share a few laughs during the week and help us raise lots of cash for a good cause!

The Stand Comedy Club has been around for many years and is an intimate venue located in the West End of Glasgow which has seen many famous comedians grace its doors over the years including Kevin Bridges, Frankie Boyle, Fred Macaulay and lots more!

Confirmed acts include:-

Headline Act – Chris Forbes from BBC Scotland ‘Scot Squad’

Stuart Mitchell

Kirsty Morrison

Joseph Goss

Billy Kirkwood

There will be a raffle on the night and there is a full cash bar on-site!

Tickets can be purchased on eventbrite for £8 plus £1.04 booking fee per ticketclick here

You can also reserve tickets by calling The Stand 0141 212 3389 and are £8 payable cash on the door.

Sign-up to bring young people to a fun filled Sport4all event!



We are inviting families, organisations and groups across Glasgow to bring  young people along to a fun filled active event for all.

On Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July SSF – Active East will be hosting a weekend of sport, physical activity and play opportunities delivered by partners for young people in the North East of Glasgow, taking place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre!

“sport for all” means making sport accessible to all members of our communities, as a vehicle for integration, empowerment and well-being. It engages everyone to move, play and compete together with people from different backgrounds, ages & abilities. This event will:


  • Be FREE
  • Be fun and exciting
  • Link young people across the East of Glasgow with local opportunities to be active
  • Include an exciting interactive marketplace for families and young people to find out local opportunities
  • Have an under 8’s drop-in Zone
  • Taster sessions for young people aged 8+ including: Boxing, Active play, Gymnastics, Athletics, Judo, Cricket, Basketball and much more!
  • A pool party – at Tollcross after our event on the Sunday 4 – 6pm (please note groups/parents will then be responsible for supervising young people)

Sign up now!

  • Families, organisations and groups are invited to bring along young people aged 8+ on the Saturday and on the Sunday for the full day (9:30-4pm) for the taster sessions
  • Spaces for the full day of taster sessions are allocated on a first come first serve basis
  • Sport4All – Booking Form – please complete this and send over as soon as possible to secure your spaces by Thursday 20th July
  • There will be fun activities for under 8’s who come along to get involved, this is on a drop in basis between 10-12pm and 13:00 and 15.15pm each day

If you have any questions about the event please get in touch at or call 0141 218 4640


Shell Twilight helps with Wheelchair Basketball

Saturday was a fabulous culmination of a lot of organising from @basketballscotland at The Peak gym in Stirling.  The Shell Twilight Ambassadors helped support the event which saw wheelchair basketball players from across Scotland.  Thanks to @BBCCiN @CashBackScot @Shell_society for their support in making it happen


Changing Lives Through Sport – Shell Twilight Basketball

Adam came along to the very first session we had on the 5th September 2014, he was a quiet young teenager who was accompanied by his older brother.  As Adam continued coming weekly he began to develop into a not so quiet boy; he was excessive in his use of expletives and disregard for the coaches.  He would often comment on decisions and drills as well as get involved in disputes that he was not part of, just to start trouble.

After one specific incident, Adam was asked to leave the session. When he returned, Adam was open and apologised to the coach he argued with, explaining that he was having a difficult time at home, but he didn’t want to discuss this further.  Adam again had an issue with the session when he turned up to the session after taking drugs, he was asked to leave and the police were contacted for advice by the coaches who were on the session. Adam continued to not listen or engage with coaches or show respect at the session to participants or youth workers. The next week Adam returned and took part in a quickly organised Educational Timeout (ETO) on drugs and safety.  Adam took this seriously as he was surprised by some of the facts and figures that were shown as well as some of the experience that the coaches had from their employment outside of Twilight.  This seemed to be a turning point for Adam and he became more open about home life and the things that he was feeling.

Over the next year Adam became a staple to the group, someone who was always in attendance and also someone the new, younger participants looked up to.  His younger brother started to attend and it was easy to see the admiration the boys showed for one and other, due to the age they had 30 mins cross over time with sessions that they loved.  It was this that showed Adam’s gentler side, the side that would develop into who he is now as a man.

Adam began approaching me in the sessions and asking to speak to me about his life outside of basketball.  We discussed his home life, how to be safe, keeping a mentality that is focused and sign posting places to go for additional specified support.  Adam shared that he has been self-harming to cope with the stress of home life, to this I offered guidance and support on being safe and the danger points and areas of self-harming but also that there are people who know a lot more than I do and perhaps he should visit a drop in for advice or his GP. Adam took the advice on board and continued sharing by letting me know that he has moved out of his house because he was struggling to live with his Mum and step dad, their relationship was straining on his own with his Mum.

After a few weeks , Adam came to tell me he has now got furniture for his flat as well as doing some shopping, he was struggling to eat but was standing on his own two feet and this was allowing him time to see his family. His relationship with his Mum was improving and he was starting to see a light in what had been a very dark and lonely place for him.  I expressed my regard for him that he had developed so much from a teenager ready to fight for nothing to a man willing to stand up to what he saw as important and the ability to do this whilst maintaining his mischievous grin!!!  Adam seemed quiet at my praise and shy at the fact that I had seen him grow, though it was clear to see he liked the fact that I noticed how much he’d grown.

“Shell Twilight Basketball has been a family to me; It is the only place I can go to release all my stress and hardships. As soon as I step foot on the court all my worries fade. Andrew, as well as all the coaches at my session, have helped me through all my crisis. I am greatly thankful to all the people that made Twilight happen, and to all the coaches and people that attend”

– Adam Wilson

It overwhelmed me and changed my whole concept on the impact we have on these kids and young people who attend the session, we are not there to simply coach a sport. We are there as a shoulder to lean on, to offer knowledge and support, to be a role model and most times to simply listen and praise the smallest efforts.  To someone who doesn’t hear it often, nothing will make you stand taller than when you hear it from someone you look up to.

Adam is now volunteering at the session and has been accepted into the Army after going through the interview process.


  • Andrew McCandlish, Coach at the Stranraer Shell Twilight Session

Scottish Sports Futures’ Adventure at Sea

The fifth voyage of OYT Scotland’s “On Course with CashBack” project has just finished with nine young people from Scottish Sports Futures spending five days sailing around the Firth of Clyde. The young people learnt to navigate and steer the 70ft sail training yacht Alba Venturer, hoist and drop sails, tie knots and cook for the whole crew. Leaving Greenock’s James Watt docks on Monday morning, 5th June, the crew sailed a total of 135 nautical miles, visiting Holy Loch, East loch Tarbert and Loch Ranza (Arran).

The young people threw themselves into the experience, working hard to achieve the goals they had set themselves. New skills were developed throughout the week long voyage which they can now take back and use in their daily lives. One crew member explained; “My experience with OYT Scotland was amazing. I learned a lot about sailing as well as everyday personal and social skills. The experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am unbelievably lucky to have been a part of it”

The weather was very good for the first-time sailors with sunshine, clear views and fair winds. On day three of the voyage, the crew were graced by a visit from a 10 foot Minke whale right beside the boat! Seeing the wild sea creature that close “was one of the most breath taking moments of my life” said one of the young people on board, showing that OYT Scotland voyages help young people to understand more about the natural world and encourage conservation.

All the young people worked towards gaining the Royal Yachting Association’s Start Yachting Level 1 Award, and took the opportunity to complete 9 SQA qualifications in: listening, reading, speaking, writing, measuring, calculation, using graphical information, problem solving and working with others.

OYT Scotland’s “On Course with CashBack” project is transforming 288 young people’s lives over three years thanks to an award from the “CashBack for Communities” scheme – the Scottish Government’s proceeds of crime fund.  Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said: “Through CashBack we are supporting many of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people to reach their full potential in life, helping them to learn new skills, boost their confidence and develop as responsible citizens.”

Established in 2000, Scottish Sports Futures is a registered charity, delivering ‘Education through Sport’ programmes in communities across Scotland. Using inclusive sport and physical activity as a means of engagement, they offer young people creative ways to learn about physical wellbeing, goal setting, teamwork and active citizenship. Like OYT Scotland, Scottish Sports Futures is a recipient of the current CashBack for Communities phase 4 funding.

Supporting the young people to take part in the voyage were two group leaders from Scottish Sports Futures, Melissa Cairns and Sean Brady. They said “The OYT Scotland voyage allowed us to offer a completely new and challenging experience to young people from across Scotland. The daily routine allowed young people to build on practical skills including cooking and presenting in front of a group amongst many others. The voyage was a test for everyone including us as leaders but one which allowed us to work as a team along with the sea staff and push ourselves out of our comfort zones. We have 3 young people interested in volunteering with OYT Scotland in future which is an additional great outcome as we work towards finding positive destinations for these young people”

Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of OYT Scotland said: “We are excited to have young people from Scottish Sports Futures as part of the On Course with CashBack programme. OYT Scotland voyages offer young people a life changing opportunity, giving them a chance to take part in teamwork and leadership roles. These are transferable skills that can be used in other areas of their lives. This programme aims to develop young people and the group taking part in this voyage have demonstrated that it has been a success.  Our highly trained sea-staff (both professionals and volunteers) are able to get the best from each individual. The combination of engaged group leaders and focused sea-staff means that these young people can reach goals that they never thought possible, and this gives them a new outlook on life”.

Over the past 18 years, OYT Scotland has grown to become one of the leading sail training charities in the world. With two sail training vessels, Alba Explorer and Alba Venturer, OYT Scotland completed 55 voyages with 552 young people in 2016.

For more information about OYT Scotland go to

For more information on Scottish Sports Futures go to

For more information on the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities scheme go to