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SSF have a new CEO

SSF team with Minister for Sport Joe Fitzpatrick

Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) has appointed a new CEO and three new Non-Executive Directors to its Board.

Formerly Head of Operations with the  charity, Kirsty McNab steps up to become the new Chief Executive Officer.  Kirsty, from Glasgow, has been with SSF for six years and has been instrumental in growing the charity’s sports based services for disadvantaged young people across Scotland.

A Graduate of Strathclyde University in Sport in the Community, Kirsty has been involved in youth development throughout her career and held posts with Badminton Scotland and Youth Scotland.

Kirsty said, “I am delighted to be leading our charity at such an exciting time. I believe that sport can change lives and am proud of how we demonstrate this at Scottish Sports Futures.

“We have a fabulous Board which will be further enhanced by our new appointments and I very much look forward to working together, creating a new strategy and building upon our success. We are very much a youth led organisation and I will be working to create new trustee roles for young people who have been beneficiaries of our programmes.”

Joining Kirsty on the Board in Non-Executive Director roles are Christopher Beaton, International Customer Marketing Manager at Scottish Qualifications Authority; George Watson, IT Director at Stevenswood and trustee with sportscotland; and Robin Gillies, previous CA with the Edrington Group, member of the Children’s Panel and a mentor with MCR Pathways.

SSF CEO

Shell Twilight Basketball Outstanding Achievement Award

By John Bell, Shell Twilight Basketball Mentor

When I first started working with Declan he was a member of the Irvine Twilight session and the existing staff members had picked him out as someone I may wish to keep an eye on, I was told a story of Declan throwing a bottle of water during a session that was very close to hitting a youth worker that was present, I was then also told of the possibility that he may also storm out because of his problems with controlling his anger and emotion.

I was to witness this very quickly.

Orrin, the coach at Irvine, and I had a chat about a way forward, Orrin having done some previous work with Declan on his issues agreed that us working as a team and being united on what was acceptable behaviour from Declan but also letting Declan know what he could expect from us was the best way forward.

Declan did show immediate signs of responding but was still having occasional incidents of anger and was still disrupting the session on a less frequent basis, progress was slow but myself and Orrin were determined to get the best from Declan and his obvious love of Basketball.

We were then asked by Twilight Basketball to speak to the session about the up and coming ambassador programme, Declan was immediately eager to be involved, this however presented us with a big problem, with Declan still having occasional bursts of anger we did not want other young people at the session seeing us to be rewarding or condoning this type of behaviour.

The same night three members of staff met to discuss the situation, such was the debate that it was taken to a vote to see if Declan would be put forward, and the vote fell in Declan’s favour by two votes to one.

Orrin and I told Declan the following week that we would be willing to put his name forward as long as we saw an improvement in behaviour at the Irvine sessions.

To his credit Declan began to improve on a weekly basis and was indeed put forward for the ambassador programme.

It became apparent very quickly on the weekend ambassador residential at Kilgarston that we had made the right choice in giving him another chance. Declan was now mixing with strangers and also actively encouraging others to take part. As a worker it was joy to see, it was decided that weekend that I would become Declan’s mentor.

 

I sit here writing this today and can honestly say the transformation in Declan’s behaviours and attitudes both within our session and outside of it is nothing short of phenomenal , this young man when I first met him could justifiably be described as withdrawn, angry, prone to outbursts, unwilling to listen and extremely difficult to work with. (I should know my job is a youth worker with North Ayrshire Council).

Today I would describe Declan as helpful, willing to take part, a team player, a good communicator, a delightful person to be around and a vital part of the Irvine Wolves Twilight Basketball Session.

Declan has actively helped me to deliver Educational timeouts on subjects ranging from LGBTQ+ rights, the white ribbon campaign against domestic violence, bullying, bigotry and racism.

He now attends the Glasgow Rocks college programme in Glasgow and is an independent self-assured young man, we love having Declan at our sessions and really admire the hard work he has put in to transform his life.

The last thing I will say about this nomination is this, when I first attended the session some of the young people wanted Declan removed, 14 months later and the group democratically and by a huge margin voted for Declan to receive this nomination.

Declan is more than worthy of this award.

 

Just in case Declan should not win this award I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the wonderful staff at Twilight Basketball and Scottish Sports Futures who have actively supported us in this whole process and have been a constant source of knowledge and understanding to our specific needs.

 

Jump2it Recognises Contributions of Sessional Staff

 By Alan Hendry, Jump2it Schools and Education Development Coordinator

All of our staff here at Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) highly value and appreciate the work of our paid and voluntary workforce. Without a dedicated and committed coach and volunteer base, which we rely upon on a daily basis, we would never be able to carry out anywhere near the same level of impactful delivery we have done over previous years, effectively changing the lives of thousands of young people across Scotland. It is for this reason that SSF continues to celebrate and recognise the hard work of our paid and voluntary staff through our annual SSF Awards Night, sponsored by SportScotland. This is a chance for the charity to celebrate the work and impact which the we have achieved over the last 12 months, with the help of our sessional staff, volunteers, young people and delivery partners.

Daniel Masters is one of the many Jump2it sessional staff members which we feel deserves formal recognition for his work within the Jump2it programme over the last year. As a result Daniel has been nominated for two SSF awards under the categories of ‘Spirit of The Year’ and ‘Event Champion of the Year’.

Daniel has worked on the Jump2it programme as a sessional coach for just over a year. During this time he has continually excelled in his position as a coach and has often gone above and beyond what is expected of any sessional staff member. Daniel’s proactive approach during Jump2it tournaments have assisted in providing and delivering outstanding community events, which allow young people from across various local authorities to come together in a fun and engaging environment, break down social and cultural barriers and share in the celebration of sport.

Throughout his time as a sessional staff member, Daniel has continually excelled at engaging with young people on a personal level. His bubbly and charismatic personality allows young people to naturally gravitate towards him as a coach. His ability to generate a fun, positive and engaging atmosphere is unparalleled. The manner in which Daniel delivers his sessions with the young people provides a truly unique and memorable experience for everyone involved.

At an organisational level Daniel is viewed as a brilliant ambassador for SSF, sharing similar values. Daniel has continually exceeded expectations, achieved his own ambitions, and supported young people to help them achieve their own. Throughout all elements of his work with SSF, Daniel has delivered a fun and engaging service which is continually underpinned by his compassion and dedication towards the young people who the Jump2it programme works with. Daniel’s drive, dedication and most of all his spirit make him a positive role model not only for the children he works with but also for his fellow coaches and staff alike. Daniel has established himself as a true Champion for SSF as an organisation.

 

For more information on our Awards Night head to our Awards Home Page

Active East Recognises Volunteers’ Achievements

 By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator

 

It is so important that the amazing work that our young people do gets recognised, not only by the organisations they are working in, but nationally by governing bodies and the Scottish Government.

 

So far this year the Active Champions have given 8,739 hours, volunteering at their weekly sessions and at external events such as the European Championships. Without their positive attitude, effort, and commitment to providing young people with safe, fun spaces to play, relax, and make friends, many young people’s lives would not be the same.

 

The young people we have the pleasure of working with are inspirational role models for all people, young and old, and they prove this over and over again with the fantastic work they do. From designing sessions, deciding on the best way to deliver, planning and delivering residentials, to assisting in policy decisions, the young people we work with really take the lead on deciding their future, and the future of the organisations they work and volunteer in.

 

With this year being the Year of Young People it has shone a light on all the amazing things the young people of Scotland do, and has given them a voice that is being heard throughout all sectors. This is so important to ensure young people know their opinions do matter, and that they can make a difference to their own lives and the lives of those around them. The year has also brought new opportunities for the young people of Scotland including funding projects led by young people and awards signed by the First Minister that recognise their achievement.

 

At Active East and Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) we hold an annual awards night to recognise just how proud and inspired we are by the young people we work with. This gives all the young people from each of SSF’s programmes the chance to come together and share in a whole night dedicated to them. This recognition is so important to us as workers, and also to all the volunteers as it shows just how good a job the people we work with do and lets us celebrate this on a massive stage.

Active East participants at the Scottish Sports Futures Year of Young People Awards 2018

Interview with Rocks Community Club Volunteer

 Jump2it and Rocks Community Club (RCC) Coordinator Stephanie McLean interviews volunteer Abbie Fox about girls’ participation and her own experience in sport.

Tell us about your experience in sport.

I started doing Taekwondo when I was 7 years old and I achieved my black belt by the time I was 9. I achieved this through hard work and fantastic support from my instructors. I wanted to try a different sport, so I tried out basketball when I was 8 and I began training and learning about the sport with Drumoyne RCC. I want to play more basketball and practise more so I joined the team Glasgow Fever and I have been playing with them ever since.

 

Why do you choose to take part in Sport?

I choose to take part in sport because it gives me the opportunity to make more friends and interact with more people my age who have the same interests as me. I also do it because it helps me maintain my fitness and is my passion.

 

What life-skills do you feel you have learnt through taking part in Sport?

Some of the main life skills I have learnt through sport is how to be confident in my own choices and voice my opinion, how to work in a team and how to keep fit and maintain the level of fitness that I’m comfortable with.

Rocks Community Club Volunteer Abbie Fox

Rocks Community Club Volunteer Abbie Fox

How do you think we can make Sport more accessible to girls & young women?

I think we should advertise and create more all-female clubs and promote it to the younger generation so that girls can not only get involved in sport but learn some essential life skills along the way.

 

Tell us about your reasons for volunteering at Drumoyne RCC.

My reason for volunteering at Drumoyne RCC is I started at this club and I’ve seen it grow so I feel like I’m giving back to the club for helping me follow my dreams in basketball. I also enjoy helping getting more young people into sports and encouraging them to make friends.

Lastly, who is your female sporting remodel & why? 

My female role model would have to be my Glasgow Fever coach Rachel. She has helped me to improve my game by giving me advice, helping me to achieve my goals and it also helps to watch her play. She is a physiotherapist and that is what I aspire to be, as well as an amazing basketball player just like her. My other female role model is also Nicola Adams. She has inspired me that you can come from a completely normal background and if you work extremely hard you can achieve your goal.

Abbie with coach Josh and Rocks Community Club participants

Abbie with coach Josh and Rocks Community Club participants

Shell Twilight Girls Boost Confidence With Sport

 By Demi Mitchell, Shell Twilight Basketball Coordinator

Growing up can be a difficult time for most young females; dealing with different emotions, coming into contact with new people and different personalities, and recognising their own bodies are going through a change. Learning how to mentally and physically cope with this can be a challenging time.

This, for me, is why encouraging young girls to be physically active is so important. The Shell Twilight Girls sessions have provided the girls with a fun and active environment, where they can come and express how they feel in a safe space with the young person at the heart of the session.

Educational time-outs allow youth workers and coaches to break down the barriers for girls who want to be active and open up the discussion of topics such as bullying, body image or self-confidence that may be an issue for young girls in a fun and active way.

 

Shell Twilight Coordinator Demi with coach Chanelle and participants from Shell Twilight Girls

Shell Twilight Coordinator Demi with coach Chanelle and participants from Shell Twilight Girls

 

The benefits girls gain from being physically active are endless; from feeling good about yourself and boosting your confidence, to having a group of friends that you can express how your day has been. This is why every girl should have the opportunity to be active and to help them keep their mind and body healthy, as well as making themselves HAPPY!

Every female taking part in sport no matter what level is 100% an inspiration to every other female they come into contact with and should never forget the impact they could have on another female.

Demi and Chanelle at a Shell Twilight Girls session

Demi and Chanelle at a Shell Twilight Girls session

Thoughts on Girl’s Participation

 Demi Mitchell, Active East Youth Worker

Female participation in sport and physical activity for me is very important.

There are so many benefits I gain from being physically active such as keeping myself fit, feeling good about myself, and having time to clear my head. Sport has always been such a huge part of my life and over the years I have seen the number of females participating in sport increase, which is AMAZING!

I think its important females have role models to look up to in sport: whether that is their sporting hero, a family member, or a coach who has a positive influence in their physical activity levels. Girls encouraging other girls in sport is the most powerful attitude to have! 

Glasgow Fitness Instructor Swims for SSF

In August Glasgow-based fitness instructor Ceza Ouzounian completed her first open water swim along Scotland’s 5.8KM Loch Lubnaig in aid of Scottish Sports Futures (SSF). 

To coincide with Active Girl’s Week, Ceza handed over a cheque for £500 at one of her weekly Pilates classes this week at the Movement Studio in Hillhead. 

Ceza with members of her Pilates class

Fitness Instructor Ceza with members of her Pilates class

 

On choosing SSF for her sponsored Swim Ceza said:

“I like the sound of what you guys do because I think sports is so important, especially for kids as they’re growing up, a community of friends, and you know feeling good in your body and getting moving so that’s why I chose SSF.”

 

If Ceza has inspired you to take on your own fitness challenge in aid of SSF, email info@ssf.org.uk with the subject #UltimateFitnessChallenge for more information. 

 

For more information on Ceza’s classes head to ceza.co.uk

Shell Twilight Basketball Introduces Ambassador of the Month Award

We are delighted to present our first Shell Twilight Basketball ‘Ambassador of the Month Award’ to Stranraer’s Connor Pomroy.

The award is aimed at recognising the amazing work our young people are doing in communities all over Scotland.

Connor had this to say on Friday night,

“I am shocked to be ambassador of the month as it is the first to be presented in Stranraer.  It goes to show that I am showing the positive attitudes that people notice and praise me for.  Even with the changes to the session and it being quiet just now I will continue to push myself and others at the session to reach my potential and hopefully continue to be recognised and nominated for future awards”.

Connor’s mentor Chris Muir said,

“Congratulations Connor, you deserve the award for all the hard work and dedication you have shown during the sessions.  With this as a boost, I hope it drives you to achieve more in both sport and your personal development.  This award shows that you have the ability to recognise your strengths and increase your confidence.  I look forward to seeing what the future holds for you”.

 

Shell Twilight Basketball’s first Ambassador of the Month Chris Pomroy from Stranraer

Active East Explores Alternative Education Methods

 By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator 

Education is so important for all of the young people that we work with across every Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) programme. Within the Active East programme we work with young people from the East End of Glasgow aged 12-25.

 

Across the 4 strands of Active East every young person is educated in different ways. Whether that be through gaining volunteer experience in their chosen placement, gaining coaching qualifications from national governing bodies, taking part in educational workshops, or completing modules from SSF’s Education Through Cashback (ETC) programme. In addition to this, the young people get the chance to meet people from different background, cultures, nationalities and beliefs, gain new experiences, visit new places, and learn how to work in their stretch zone; all of which increases these young people’s understanding of the world and is so important to their development and a major part of growing up.

A group of young people from the East End of Glasgow take part in our Chance:2:Be programme.

Our Chance:2:Be programme offers young people alternative ways to gain qualifications and work experience.

We aim to ensure that the qualifications chosen by the young people are all going to be used within their volunteering, and support them through college, university and work. For example we had 20 young people complete Ultimate Frisbee Dodgeball training which was then used to deliver taster sessions to our partner organisations around the East End of Glasgow, reaching 100 young people. This could also be used at volunteering sessions where they deliver different activities to young people.

The aim is not to tick boxes when young people complete qualifications, but to really work to ensure they are used to develop the young people’s skills and will be beneficial to them in the future.

One strand of the Active East programme is Chance:2:Be. This strand works with young people aged 16-25 for 12 weeks where they will complete 7 qualifications. These will including First Aid and ETC: Working With Young People in Sport. Each of these qualifications will assist the young person when they come to start their volunteer placements in a partner organisation of their choice. In addition to this, these qualifications will be beneficial when they are looking for college, university or apprenticeship placements, or for work as they have been practising what they have previously learned.

 

Using a youth work approach to education ensures that everyone we work with is gaining an education in the way that they learn best. We give the young people the choice of what qualifications they want to gain and how they want to use it. We aim to make sure that what is learnt is being retained and used to benefit each person we are working with.