Centre Forward - A partnership course between Forth Valley College and the Falkirk Football Community Foundation (FFCF) - has got off to a great start.
The 21 students - young people (aged between 16-24) with learning disabilities – have been flourishing experiencing work placements and attaining Scottish FA coaching qualifications and undergoing Scottish Athletics Volunteers Assistants training so they can become volunteers at up-and-coming Scottish Disability Sport and Forth Valley Disability Sport events for the next 14 months.
They also plan to help to install disability shelters at the Falkirk Stadium through organising a charity football event involving former players.
Lynne Frail, FVC Business and Communities, Workplace Coordinator, said: “Connections were made between myself and Cheryl Lappin at Scottish Disability Sport to discuss opportunities for Centre Forward students to become more involved in sport within the Forth Valley area – this has led to Scottish Athletics delivering a Volunteers Assistant Course at Grangemouth Stadium free of charge, which is brilliant.
“David Stewart from the Falkirk Football Community Foundation and I met also Cheryl and Lisa Male from the Falkirk Community Trust and we’ve established opportunities for students to become volunteers at up-and-coming Scottish Disability Sport and Forth Valley Disability Sport events for the next 14 months. This is a fantastic opportunity for our young students. The Falkirk Community Trust also agreed to offer students work placement experience which then allows students to gain Saltire Awards.”
David Stewart, Community Manager, Falkirk Football Community Foundation, said: “Falkirk Foundation is delighted to be working with Forth Valley College and all of the funding partners on this extremely worthwhile programme. As the community arm of Falkirk Football Club, we use the power of football, sport, professional role-models and a modern sports stadium as catalysts to create life changing opportunities for people of all ages by removing barriers, promoting participation, improving health and enhancing learning experiences.
“We believe that sport can inspire people to make changes to their own lives, to raise aspirations and ambitions and to open their minds to new possibilities. We are excited to be working with young people with learning disabilities and to creating a mutually beneficial learning environment where participants and employers can educate each other on the particular barriers they face and strengths they possess, in order to improve future opportunities.”
Cheryl Lappin, Regional Development Manager: Central Scotland, Scottish Disability Sport, said: “We at Scottish Disability Sport and Forth Valley Disability Sport are delighted to have created partnership links with Forth Valley College’s Centre Forward programme. In turn we hope to engage and train students to become volunteers via our events programme (local, regional & national), as well as work collaboratively with Scottish governing bodies and Falkirk Community Trust to provide ongoing voluntary opportunities at weekly disability sessions. We are excited for the year ahead and our newly established partnership working.”
Centre Forward – Making Your Next Move, was awarded £51,600 from the Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity programme, to help roll out a two year long initiative designed to help the young people to achieve their aspirations, develop existing skills and improve confidence through using sport and physical activity to deliver positive life changes.
FVC’s Department of Business and Communities – who have extensive expertise in this area – have teamed up with FFCF who will use the ‘Development through Sport’ model to help accelerate learning and development as well as promote self-esteem and confidence.
Combined with certificated SQA units, the project will offer a comprehensive suite of skills that will enable each young person taking part to overcome their individual barriers to progression. All of the classroom based workshops are coupled with practical sport/physical activity sessions to enhance skills-for-work, decision-making, problem-solving and team work, whilst enhancing feelings of belonging, contribution and achievement.
In addition, young people taking part will be enrolled as FVC students and will therefore benefit from the range of student resources available, including the Learning Resource Centre, Student Services and on-campus gym.
Anyone looking to find out more or apply online should visit: https://www.forthvalley.ac.uk/courses/supported-learning/centre-forward-programme
The Changing Lives Through Physical Activity grant programme is supported by The Robertson Trust, The Scottish Government, sportscotland and Spirit of 2012. Launched in April 2018, the £1million fund will benefit a total of 17 projects nationally, with each receiving between £42,151 and £69,985 over a period of two years. Each of the projects will intentionally use the power of sport to effect positive change in local communities.