On Friday the 13th of April 28 young people from across Scotland arrived at Kilgraston School to kick off this year’s Shell Twilight Basketball Ambassador programme. This induction residential training weekend marks the first step of a year-long programme that motivates and supports young people to take on leadership roles, become positive role models to their peers, and volunteer in their local communities. Ambassadors completed training in positive role modelling, goal setting, behaviour management, and child protection. They also completed their ‘Make it Happen’ Basketball Coaching award, delivered by Basketball Scotland. Training was also facilitated by Education Through Cashback, and SEE Consultants. Ambassadors were recruited from Scottish Sports Futures’ Shell Twilight Basketball groups from Highlands, Fife, Stirling, Glasgow, North Ayrshire and Stranraer. Over the next year, ambassadors will be supported by local mentors, who will support them with their individual journeys of personal development, as they work towards their goals and grow as positive role models within their Shell Twilight sessions and their wider communities. They will also complete Community Achievement Awards, administered by Glasgow’s Kelvin College, which allow Ambassadors to receive SCQF accredited recognition for their hard work.
The Shell Twilight Basketball programme itself is designed to be an open, inclusive and positive environment for young people where personal development is supported through structured sports activity, educational inputs, role modelling, and peer rapport. The setting and programme of activity provide young people with the opportunity to develop skills, confidence and a sense of acceptance that they may struggle to find in more traditional settings. Twilight has a long track record of attracting excluded young people and supporting them into positive destinations. The Ambassador programme builds on this experience and provides a further level of support and direction with enhanced development opportunities for a focused group of young people. Through this process, the selected group makes significant progress in their personal development journeys while becoming influential positive role models within their Twilight session and local community.
This is the third year that the Ambassador programme has run nationally since it was piloted in Glasgow in 2015. Kilgraston School in Perth have hosted the induction residential for the past three years, where fantastic facilities and friendly staff have aided the success of the weekend. The FREE programme is supported by BBC Children in Need and the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities. It runs alongside Shell Twilight’s diversionary Friday night basketball sessions and aims to support young people to identify and work towards personal goals, including getting into volunteering, education and employment.
BBC Children in Need’s National Officer for Scotland, Paul Liddell commented on the initiative, “I am delighted to see that a further 31 young ambassadors have joined the programme. Since receiving funding for the programme from BBC Children in Need, the project has grown and developed and this is a fine example of how it is progressing.”
Speaking of the new grants, Florence Burke, National Head of BBC Children in Need in Scotland, said: “BBC Children in Need is funding a number of projects across every local authority in Scotland – all of which are working to make a real and tangible difference to the lives of those children and young people who need it most. We are delighted to include Shell Twilight Basketball among them, and are pleased to see that a further 31 young ambassadors will benefit from the training and life skills development to reach their full potential. Best of all, they will have the chance to make new friends, and receive support from positive adult role models.”
Ambassador Duncan, 17 reflected on the weekend, “I got to meet lots of new people and make lots of new friends, and it’s nice to see everyone’s different types of background and coaching styles.”
Amanda, 18 added, “I enjoyed getting to know the other ambassadors and getting to learn more basketball drills to bring back to the sessions and coach. I’m excited to see what opportunities [the programme] leads to; it will let us grow as individuals as well as team players.”
Duncan and Amanda, along with the other 29 young people attending the weekend, join a further 25 Ambassadors recruited in the first year of the programme. Building on the success of this first year, Shell Twilight Basketball plan to grow the programme, inducting a further 30 Ambassadors this year, maximising the benefit for young people and communities across Scotland.
Shell Twilight Basketball runs mainly on Friday nights across Scotland. It is FREE to attend and open to all young people aged 11-21 years old. Please see www.ssf.org.uk for more information or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Children in Need
BBC Children in Need’s vision is that every child in the UK has a safe, happy and secure childhood and the chance to reach their potential. The charity will realise this vision by supporting, promoting and publicising work that addresses the challenges that children and young people face and work that builds their skills and resilience.
BBC Children in Need is currently providing grants to 300 projects across every local authority in Scotland and 2,600 projects across the UK that are helping children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma.
More information about BBC Children in Need can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/Pudsey
CashBack for Communities
The Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme uses the ill-gotten gains of crime, recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and invests them back into communities across Scotland.
More information can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk/cashback