Features & Blogs (101)
GoFitba is an exciting football-based health and wellbeing project for primary school kids presented by The Scottish Football Partnership Trust in association with various community football clubs across Scotland.
The project lasts 12 weeks and offers the kids a chance at the end of the school day to take part in enjoyable, physical activity. The weekly sessions provide a fun-filled and informative experience for the youngsters to discover ways in which they can stay active and improve their lifestyle through healthy food and nutrition.
One of the clubs involved with GoFitba is Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust. Kilmarnock are working alongside local school, Shortlees Primary, to deliver this new exciting initiative. Kilmarnock Community coach Mark Miller spoke highly of the project.
“We give these kids a chance to come in and train at Rugby Park which wouldn’t normally happen so the project is a great opportunity for them to do that”
The kids started off their day with an action packed training session. Here they took part in a variety of passing and shooting drills which help them build teamwork and communication skills, as well as learning different ways to complete vital skills in football.
They ended the football side of things with a penalty shootout in front of the Moffatt stand, an experience that the kids enjoyed massively.
Depute head teacher at Shortlees Heather Sabatini shared her thoughts on the positive reaction the school have had from the parents of the kids on the project.
“They were very enthusiastic, very interested in the kids taking part in it. The letters came back very quickly for the children to come to this event”
The youngsters then headed for the second part of their session, healthy eating. On the menu for them was tomato pasta and a glass of water with a selection of fruit. This is done to help with one of the key aspects of the project which is to promote healthy eating at home and steer the children away from junk foods.
Depute head Sabatini is already seeing the positive effects this is bringing, “One of the kids on the programme is already going home talking about the food they had here and the parents are starting to cook the meals we had here last week so already the parents are engaging with programme.”
An educational lesson on the ‘eat well’ plate brought an end to the day for the Shortlees youngsters. Mark Miller enthusiastically led a lesson on what they had been eating and the different food groups. He also recapped with the children what they had done during the course of the day and how this will help them throughout the rest of the course.
We all know that football can be a catalyst for social good and there’s now a new project proving just that. GoFitba is an initiative set up by the Scottish Football Partnership (SFP) Trust which focuses on getting youngsters out of the house to play football, but crucially, also underlines the importance of nutrition and diet in living a healthy lifestyle.
The scheme has already been trialed in parts of Scotland and now features 12 clubs taking part all across the country. Kids can turn up once a week for two hours at a time – half of this is spent getting trained by club coaches, with the other half reserved for engaging lessons on how to live healthier. Sessions are rounded off with kids being fed a healthy hot meal.
Each project takes 12 weeks to run and youngsters will learn a variety of skills over that time. On the football side of things, primary school children will have the opportunity to have coaching sessions with a different focus every couple of weeks – one week it’ll be passing, the next session will be on ball control, and so on.
Stuart McCaffrey is the chief operating officer of the SFP Trust and believes the projects offer far more than a simple exercise regimes.
“The main aim of the project is working with young people and giving them opportunities to take part in regular fun football activity and to helped them to understand the importance of living a healthy life through exercise ,diet and nutrition . We’ve put together 12 structured and engaging coaching and education sessions which help the participants with their own personal development”.
“During the second hour, kids will learn about the importance of hydration, the different food groups , and the benefits they provide and personal hygiene, amongst other things such as the dangers of too much sugar in our diet. There’s also a learning journal for those involved to reflect back on their experiences and take note of what really stood out for them which they can share with their brothers and sisters and parents. This really extends the scope of what this project can achieve beyond the youngsters involved”.
Stuart continued: “It’s not just about children being more active – it’s also about trying to develop their confidence, team-building skills and working together.
“We don’t want the kids to just come for 12 weeks and then stop. By doing it at these clubs, it almost becomes a showcase into what the clubs can offer them.”
On top of the coaching sessions and nutrition lessons, Stuart also feels it is important that the children see the practical effects of these classes.
He said: “The nice part is that we’re able to reaffirm these positive messages by giving the kids a healthy cooked meal.”
GoFitba received a 50,000 Euro grant from The UEFA Foundation for children after being nominated by the Scottish FA and a further £18,000 from the Kilpatrick Fraser Charitable Trust. The initiative has recently drawn admiration from Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Sport and public health.
She said: “The GoFitba project is a great opportunity for children to learn about the importance of health, nutrition and physical activity while having fun at the same time. It is great to see so many children and football clubs involved. The Scottish Government is committed to helping communities across Scotland to have healthy lifestyles and get more active. Projects like this demonstrate the power of football and other sports to help achieve this”.
For more information about the GoFitba project, click here.
- Ensure your child works as hard as possible at all times – There is a danger that if the child is winning games easily or dominating training sessions that they do not feel that they need to try as hard as their physical capabilities will take care of it.
- Focus on skill development and technique – Base all success criteria on work rate, acquiring skill and improved decision making as opposed to outcomes such as number of goals scored, or matches won.
- Put them in a position to fail – then help them in dealing with it. As they get older, there will be much less success and they need to be able to deal with it and see failure as a valuable learning opportunity.
- Focus on their problem solving ability and understanding – they will need to rely on this later on and many smaller less dominant children automatically get good at this as they cannot rely on their physical attributes.
- Try not to allow your child to become complacent – always try to move them onto the next challenge quickly.
- Don’t describe them as talented – they may start to believe you and become complacent.
- Over hype their achievements – later on they may struggle to live up to heightened expectations.
- Focus on performance outcomes – goals scored, winning etc.
- Allow them to over exploit their physical ability – others will catch up in the end.
Drumchapel United are a community football club based in the west of Glasgow. Drumchapel are a relatively young club, having been founded in the summer of 2005. The club are a huge, volunteer-run organisation with 23 playing squads and over 400 players registered to their squads.
Most of the squads play in red and black stripes with black shorts, giving the kit a similar look to English Premier League outfit Bournemouth. United don’t have their own ground yet, though this remains a long-term objective at the club. Currently, Drumchapel play their games at council-run facilities.
Their local rivals are Drumchapel Amateurs, who count Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes amongst their alumni.
The SFA awarded Drumchapel United Legacy Club status, making them just one of five clubs in the West of Scotland region to receive the accolade.
Last year United won the SFA's Best Community Club award, becoming the first side in the region to do so. They claimed the award based on the massive amount of work that the club does with the local community.
And with good reason too. In 2017 alone, Drumchapel United organised four food banks; set up a toy collection for impoverished children at Christmas; taught children in schools about the benefits of nutrition and health; ran Easter, Summer and October camps for their players; collected litter and volunteered at old folk’s homes. Put simply; if the club were in a position to help, they did.
That’s what separates Drumchapel United from other clubs – there is a strong focus in everything that they do in giving back to the community. As club secretary Scott Bland puts it: “For us, it’s really about celebrating what the club does in the community.”
The club prioritise their efforts on community work but remain competitive in competitions. Most of their squads are there-or-thereabouts in their respective divisions, although no major trophies have been lifted in recent years.
Amongst Drumchapel’s 23 squads are six squads for girls – if demand increases, there could be even more in the future. United even received a small amount of funding for their work in recruiting inactive girls to play for them and take part in a healthy lifestyle.
It’s not just the players who are given a chance to develop though. Drumchapel United have 98 coaches (training their respective squads at least once a week) registered to the club, with around a fifth of them aged between 16 and 20. The young coaches gain invaluable experience of the day-to-day realities of coaching, whilst learning new skills and working in a real-world environment.
The club are run almost entirely on fees, with the odd small but significant grant from governing bodies. Bland estimated that around 90% of the club’s economic model relied on fees – with no member of staff taking a wage. Everyone involved at Drumchapel United is there simply due to their love of the club, donating their spare time with no financial reward.
Looking forward, Bland says that the club must target having their own stadium and training facilities, so as not to have to worry about finding pitches available for hire from the council. The added stability of a permanent home could really help the club to flourish in the future.
Drumchapel itself has had problems with crime in the past, and Scott hopes that the work that Drumchapel United do will help portray the area in a better light.
He said: “The team has been a really positive message for Drumchapel, rather than as a dodgy statistic on the news. It’s great to help our community and show that the area isn’t what people think it is.”
“The GoFitba project is a fantastic way to showcase what Scottish football clubs and organisations can offer to the young members of their communities. It is projects such as this that positively contribute to changing behaviours and attitudes at an early age and we are delighted to have played a role in funding this initiative.”
The 12 community clubs involved are:
Aberdeen Community Trust
Dundee East Community Sports Club
Glenrothes Strollers FC
Inverness Caledonian Thistle Community
Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust
Kilwinning Sports Club
Motherwell FC Community Trust
Pollock United Soccer Academy
Spartans Community Football Academy
St. Mirren in the Community
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