By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator
Since its inception in 2014, Scottish Sports Futures’ Active East programme has created a community of young sports leaders and volunteers.
Last week Shell Twilight Basketball held its first ever Girls Night In at Glasgow Club Drumoyne in Govan. The night brought together participants from the Govan and Wellhouse girls-only sessions, for an evening of celebration and empowerment.
The girls came together for a basketball tournament with each team consisting of a mixture of participants from each of the two sessions. Following the basketball tournament, the girls were given the chance to try out Brazilian Jiu Jitsu run by World Champion, Erin Wilson, and football, with Rangers Women’s and Girl’s Academy Manager, Amy McDonald, followed by some snacks and goodie bags.
The event was organised by our Shell Twilight Basketball Coordinator Preeti Jassal, along with Shell Twilight Ambassador and volunteer Amanda Hiddleston, who took an active role in supporting Preeti with the planning and running of the event.
Funded by Spirit of 2012 and Cashback for Communities, the Shell Twilight Girls initiative was launched in early 2018. Based upon the Shell Twilight Basketball programme, combining sports with education and life skills, the Shell Twilight Girls programme is aimed at encouraging inactive girls into sport in a safe and friendly environment.
For more information about Shell Twilight Girls, or any of our other programmes, click here.
Over the last decade Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) has established itself as a vehicle for community engagement and development across Scotland. Utilising the power of positive role models, SSF’s community programme Jump2it educates children on the importance of healthy lifestyles and positive lifestyle decisions, using basketball as the hook to engage with youngsters.
One of the many aims of the Jump2it programme is to create opportunities for community development throughout Scotland. Jump2it is delivered in collaboration with local partners within each area, and has continued to effectively demonstrate itself as a vehicle for community development by promoting social inclusion. The programme also provides various other community benefits such as volunteerism, active citizenship and community well-being, along with the creation of social networks in each local area. Working in close collaboration with a variety of partners including schools, the Glasgow Rocks, Active Schools, Police Scotland, and the young people themselves, Jump2it has been successful in using sport and education as a tool to bring excluded groups together. Through this partnership working, the Jump2it programme has been successful at bridging gaps within communities and promoting effective social inclusion within a ‘Sport for Change’ environment.
Over the last year Jump2it have worked particularly closely with Police Scotland’s community engagement teams in an attempt to break down barriers and perceptions between police and youngsters within the Glasgow areas. Officers from Police Scotland’s Community Safety Teams have also been involved with the hands on delivery of the Jump2it programme alongside the Glasgow Rocks players. The police have taken an active role in speaking with children about the dangers of knife crime and the importance of online safety. This has proven to be a very effective means of bridging gaps in relations between Police Scotland and the youngsters of Glasgow, all the while promoting wider inclusion within an open, safe environment.
In addition to this the Police Scotland Youth Volunteer (PSYV) programme has also taken on an active voluntary role at this season’s Glasgow Rocks home games. This group of volunteers has taken on the responsibilities of stewarding throughout the season, which has been very warmly received by the Glasgow Rocks team and fans.
Through collaborative working, Jump2it and Police Scotland have been able to achieve particularly high levels of community engagement throughout Glasgow. Police Scotland and the PSYV have played a massive role in the delivery of the Jump2it programme and Glasgow Rocks game day experiences, and have also engaged with the local young people through every stage of the Jump2it programme.
Before becoming a volunteer Ambassador with Scottish Sports Future’s (SSF) Shell Twilight Basketball session, Shannon Murray says she had never been in a position of leadership, and generally felt un-confident.
The opportunity came up to join the Ambassador Programme, as she was already a participant at Shell Twilight Basketball sessions in Dalry, and the sound of increasing her confidence and meeting new people in the same situation made it hard for Shannon to resist joining up.
Meeting other ambassadors, getting qualifications, and training have all been the best bits. Because of the ambassador programme Shannon has met people she can relate to.
Shannon says; “Volunteering at Twilight in Dalry has increased my confidence, I put that I was completing a Community Achievement Award on my college application and they didn’t even ask me about my school qualifications, they asked what I was doing for the award. So I spoke all about my volunteering, taking the lead, being able to be flexible to the needs of participants in the session.”
Shannon has just found out she has been given an unconditional offer to the course in Early Years in Childcare, and credits her experience as a volunteer Ambassador for this.
Shannon’s advice to anyone else thinking about volunteering: “Definitely do it! You’re helping people and yourself with setting goals and achieving them and this makes you stand out!”
Scottish Sports Futures (SSF), the award winning charity which uses sport to change the lives of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people, has launched a campaign to encourage businesses to support its programmes through their community benefit procurement applications and corporate responsibility initiatives.
Each year the charity supports more than 10,000 young people working in partnership with twenty local authorities and volunteers, by delivering a range of different sport led programmes to provide a different pathway and diversion for vulnerable young people.
Founded in 2000 by Iain Reid OBE the charity has a unique partnership with The Glasgow Rocks Basketball team and provides weekly Shell Twilight basketball sessions along with a number of other sports events and tournaments. During these sessions SSF arranges advice, speakers and information on a variety of lifestyle issues including healthy eating, cyber bullying, knife crime and alcohol and drug misuse. Earlier this year 83% of parents reported that SSF had diverted young people way from anti-social behaviour.
Pam Hunter, CEO, Scottish Sports Futures, said, “We rely on the support of communities to deliver our work across Scotland from the Highlands to the Borders, and we are hoping that companies will consider the positive impact we have in communities by considering us as their community benefit partner.
“Young people don’t want to be in the situations they often find themselves in and if we can reach out to them we know we can help them to make changes. That’s very powerful. Besides that our young people have great fun while taking part and mentors, whether in sport or business, can play a big role in that.
“Companies when making procurement bids are required to provide community benefits and we believe our programmes can deliver that and much more, delivering very positive changes.”
Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) has long used sport and physical activity as a valuable tool to improve different aspects of health and well-being, including various elements of physical and mental well-being. Our ‘Sport for Change’ programmes not only contribute towards mental and physical well-being, but the early intervention programmes also offer young people opportunities to develop essential skills related to resilience, emotional literacy, and communication skills.
At SSF we specialise in promoting positive education through early intervention programmes in an attempt to counter mental and physical health issues within young people. Adopting a practical approach utilising sport as a vehicle to communicate vital health and well-being messages helps young people to overcome a variety of barriers, while at the same time building skills relating to resilience and self-efficacy. This contributes effectively towards both the physical and mental well-being of the young people.
In particular the Jump2it programme utilises sport and professional athletes as positive role models, as a vehicle to raise awareness on health and social issues. The Jump2it programme uses the impact of professional athletes as positive role models to mobilise hard to reach groups that are most likely to be negatively impacted by health and well-being issues. Physical inactivity has been identified as a major contributing risk factor linked with various diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and obesity; highlighting the importance and the need for early intervention initiatives around health and well-being.
The Jump2it programme exploits sport as a didactic tool within a ‘Sport for Change’ environment in order to communicate vital health related information to children within at risk communities across the country. The Glasgow Rocks players have established themselves as positive role models, as well as valuable assets in our aim of providing young people with the necessary knowledge and learning required to make positive lifestyle choices which directly contribute to their health and well-being.
The CFE clearly places high importance on nurturing young people to develop their own skills and knowledge required to reach positive mental, social and physical well-being throughout their school lives, within their communities and into their later lives. By aligning the Jump2it programme closely to the health and well-being outcomes of the CFE, the programme allows for learning to take place which directly contributes to the young person’s health and well-being, as well as promoting improved confidence, independent thinking and positive outlooks.
Within SSF we believe that being physically active, and having good general health and well-being is a major cornerstone to personal development for young people. In our opinion it is the responsibility of everyone who works with young people to establish a supportive environment, one which facilitates opportunities for learning and development whilst also promoting and providing opportunities for the development for good health and well-being into later life.
Glasgow-based fitness instructor Ceza Ouzounian explains the importance of health and wellbeing, and how fitness and sport have helped her mental wellbeing.
“I’m a fitness and energy coach,” Ceza explains, “so I work in health and fitness which I do in two ways so the fitness side which is Pilates and Burlexercise, I teach classes. Then I do something called energy alignment method mentoring, which I’m aiming towards confidence mentoring especially for women – body confidence, feeling good, feeling like your true self without having to hide who you are from the world.”
“The energy alignment method is mentoring. You use kinesthesiology so you’re getting answers from the subconscious rather than the conscious mind.” Ceza goes on to explain how energy alignment, and a change in perspective can be beneficial to your health and wellbeing:
“So with fitness goals you can identify what’s stopping you, because you might set yourself a goal but you keep failing. So it might be that in the back of your mind you keep telling yourself that you’ll never be fit, so if that’s going around in your subconscious you’re never going to achieve your fitness goal because you’re gonna sabotage it somehow.”
Ceza’s work also includes a focus on empowering women and improving their confidence. “The confidence thing is, well I went to an all-girls school, so you grow up with every girl feeling crappy about her body, and a lot of my friends were either on diets or we weren’t happy. We were teenagers we shouldn’t be giving a crap, so there’s that aspect.
When I’m teaching Pilates because I used to teach a men’s only class and usually the classes are mostly women, you just see the different dynamic of the way they think. With women there’s a lot of ‘oh I can’t do that’ or ‘I’m not sure I can kind of thing’ even though they can do it. Whereas with the men they moan they don’t wanna do it because it’s hard but there’s never that ‘oh I can’t do it’ kind of mentality so that’s part of the confidence thing.
I guess in the world we live in at the moment as women we’re growing up being told how our bodies need to look and how we need to behave and you know what’s right, what’s wrong. There’s a lot of contradictory information, and I basically would like to help get rid of that. Obviously I can’t help the whole world but I want women to feel good in their body no matter what stage their at, because if you don’t accept it for what it is, it’s not gonna change.”
Her fitness journey has taken Ceza many places and lead her to take on many different challenges, including a 2.5KM swim-a-thon. But now Ceza is taking on an even bigger challenge: 5.8KM open water swim along Loch Lubnaig.
“I wanted to do the 5K because it’s a bigger challenge and then I thought well I’m in Scotland, there’s lots of lochs around, and so I thought about doing an open water swim. Then I met, at a networking event, someone whose company ran open water swims, and I thought this is clearly a sign from the universe that’s what I should do.”
After signing up came the difficult decision of picking a charity to fundraise for, and that’s where Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) came in:
“Once I signed up I was like okay let me find a charity. I met Emma (SSF Development Manager) and Angela (SSF Finance Manager) and 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.”
She also explains what she’s doing to prepare for the challenge:
“Basically I’m swimming and doing other exercises to improve my core, I have a shoulder injury from when I used to do aerial hoop so it felt like it over stretched so I’m just strengthening it. And because I teach Burlexercise I do a lot of cardio exercise as well, oh and then I’m eating properly as well, otherwise I feel dead!”
To support Ceza in her first ever open water swim, head over to her Just Giving page
For more information on Ceza’s work check out her website ceza.co.uk
On Sunday 20th May, several members of SSF staff, and a group of Active Champions from our Active East programme, took part in Cancer Research UK’s 5K Race for Life in Glasgow. The group were all running as part of “Angela’s Army” in support of our Finance Manager Angela, who was sadly diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.
Despite only signing up for the event a week in advance, the group managed to raise an incredible £702.50 for Cancer Research UK.
SSF staff and young people will be taking part in a number of events across Scotland throughout the year, raising money for cancer charities in support of Angela.
Angela’s mother Renee wrote the poem The Runner on a Wild, Wet Day, in honour of her daughter and her fight against cancer.
You can still donate on the SSF 5K Race for Life fundraising page by clicking here
Hi. It’s mental health awareness week, and I just wanted to come and tell you my mental health journey so far.
But, I want to start by saying I really dread to think where I would be if it wasn’t for the positive outlook sport allowed me to have, or the support I got from friends and family.
So, my mental health became a huge problem in my life when I started studying at university just over a year ago. I was struggling to cope with all the new changes in life, and different things going on in life like family issues. This left me feeling anxious, overwhelmed and trapped, which I couldn’t see any way out of this. I was having horrendous panic attacks, and struggling to find the motivation to eat and to get out of bed in the morning as all I wanted was just wanted to be left alone. It took me a while to get used to the idea that I had anxiety before I reached out for help I needed, but this was when I really discovered the true impact and power sport has on my life. Despite my anxiety I still had a burning passion for sport.
I have always been involved in sport as I was a very active child, and I just fell in love with it. I only really settled into one specific sport after I got involved in a programme called Shell Twilight Basketball which I have been a part of for many years now. I’ve been through their Ambassador Programme which allowed me to develop as a person in many different ways, but it also built up valuable relationships so when life got rough and tough I had people I could talk to. I felt completely safe as it was like a second family.
Also, being able to take part in basketball was a massive advantage as it truly allowed me to escape from all my thoughts, it gave me different focus point but it also allowed me the space to have fun and enjoy myself. To this day, I truly believe sport was one of the biggest helpers during this time, and it continues to be today as it gave me the motivation to have a positive outlook on life.
However, my mental health is a battle in my life that I am still continuing flight through. I still have the same ambitions in life as I have always had, but the difference is I know now that I don’t need to face it alone. I will always have a place in sport with Twilight Basketball no matter what. Just knowing I can go and shoot a basketball when I’m struggling and everything can feel so much better for a few moments is an unreal feeling.