Features & Blogs (122)
The GoFitba project went in to its final week and the focus this time was on the Kilwinning Sports Club in Ayrshire as the children were presented with medals and certificates to commemorate their time working on the project.
The twelve week programme has focused on showing children from disadvantaged areas the benefits of healthy eating and exercise and it has been running successfully in the Kilwinning Community Sports Centre.
Kilwinning community sports club was opened in 2000 and is a voluntary organisation and registered charity. It aims to give local people the chance to engage in a healthier lifestyle and is able to promote these aims to young people through projects such as GoFitba.
Kilwinning coach Colin Hunter believes the Project has achieved these aims. “From the results of the quiz that the GoFitba project set out, the findings are very detailed. It is clear to see that they have taken the messages on board about being more active and staying healthy through diet and nutrition“.
The last week saw the children hit the books first to do the final piece of their learning journal “The Football Hour”. The children then headed outside to the five a side parks to take part in some drills and small sided games.
Shannon, who took part in the GoFitba Project in Kilwinning loved her time on the course. “I loved having the chance to learn new skills that I didn’t already know before. “My favourite part of the course was the opportunity to make new friends, seeing how it is to play with them and work together as a team.”
After the five a side games, the children were greeted by family members as they received their medals for their involvement on the project. Parents clearly see the benefits of their children taking part in the project also.
Debbie, whose son Jay took part in the GoFitba Project has seen benefits from the course at home. “Before he joined he wasn’t that interested in football and keeping fit but I think him coming along here has really helped his confidence”.
“He has always eaten healthily but this has really encouraged him to try new things and new foods he wouldn’t have tried before at home.” Hopefully it will help him make some better food choices in the long term.”
Colin Hunter is very happy with the progress the children have made. “They have really bought into it and have done what we have asked, playing football with a smile on their face. It’s been twelve weeks of fun”.
The GoFitba project has clearly had a positive impact in Kilwinning and has been a huge hit with parents and children alike. The GoFitba project may now have come to a close but from Kilwinning to Motherwell, it is clear to see that the project has made a positive impact on many young people’s lives up and down the country.
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PE at school and athletics club at night
Badminton with a parent
PE at school
Outdoor playing/activities with friends
GoFitba continued it's successful start in Paisley with another fun-packed day for the kids of Glencoats Primary School last Friday.
The project, which is being delivered by the Scottish Football Partnership Trust in association with community football clubs across the nation, was in its fourth week at the sunny venue of St Mirren Park.
St Mirren in the Community were the hosts, with several coaches delivering a two-hour session to the kids of Glencoats that promoted nutritional health values, as well as giving the kids their hour of activity in the club's stunning football dome.
The day was wrapped up with another healthy meal for the kids, which was scoffed down by all as there wasn't a crumb to be found!
Stephen Gallacher, one of the coaches involved with the St Mirren in the Community group, stressed the importance that the kids bonded with each other and have nutritional values educated into them.
"A lot of the kids can be stuck in the house all day within some of the communities where they live, so when you're getting them out and getting them to build friendships and eating together, then that community friendship and community spirit can be very important to them.
"If you look at the numbers of the kids coming along - we've had a full house every day - you can see the kids are enjoying it and obviously the parents are happy that they're coming along and seeing that they're getting involved in active activities.
"The programme is all about giving the young people an opportunity to be healthy, and then to provide them with a healthy meal at the end of it.
"The training session today was more to do with working in their team games - teams of two and groups of fours - and taking that into the game at the end. Obviously, we're hoping that they can then work as a team at the end and get some goals"
And get some goals they did. The kids, whose smiles couldn't be wiped off their faces, spent their hour in the dome practising dribbling, shooting, and control drills in small groups. The coaches tried to emphasise the need for concentration on the ball, and this was taken on board by the Glencoats pupils, who loved every minute of it.
This was transferred to their short games at the end, where the two groups had individual games against each other, with some lovely team-goals being scored and an appreciation from the kids about sharing possession of the football.
Stuart McCaffrey, whose leading the project across all member clubs, spoke about the importance of the kids getting involved in the football side of things to help boost activity levels.
"The ultimate goal is happier, healthier, more engaged children.
"Football is a very powerful tool and can be used to help lives for the better, and I think that projects like this have a real chance to engage with children at the right age where we can try and give them some positive messages. They can take these on throughout their life and can stay active and give themselves the best chance in life.
"I think it's been a fantastic start (for the project). It's been very well received with the children, which is the most important thing. Teachers have received it well too in terms of supporting that key element of one hour of activity to get the kids active.
"The project takes the kids on a 12-week educational journey, and it helps to make small changes so that their lives can be better and more active. There's a lot of team-building and other skills that are developed throughout the project.
"I'm obviously very excited with how it's started, and there's obviously a number of weeks still to run in this initial block."
There can be no denying that Stuart wasn't the only one excited with the project, as the kids of Glencoats showed real enthusiasm for football and a keen desire to learn throughout their hour of football inside the dome.
However, as well as the activity, GoFitba puts a high emphasis on nutritional values and educating children about the positives of a healthy, balanced diet.
This took us to hour two of the day, where the kids went out to the main stand for a quick picture in the St Mirren dugout, before heading up inside the stand to start the educational section of the day.
Week four is all about educating kids on how food is your body's fuel, and they certainly needed no reminder of that when they wolfed down their lasagne and garlic bread for dinner!
McCaffrey felt that the kids responded tremendously well to the health tips and nutritional education laid out to them, and described how GoFitba gets this message across to the young footballers of tomorrow.
"We spent a bit of time and researched how best to put that to them, so we created a 12-week interactive learning journal for them. Each week it's a colourful page they look at, and we try and make the learning creative and interesting for them.
"We try and relate it to football, and the nice thing is that the journey then goes home with them after week 12 - it's something they can share with their parents, brothers and sisters, and it's a chance to extend that learning.
"We try to make it as fun as possible in a football context, but also to use the learning journal to try and emphasise these positive messages."
GoFitba continues to express a message that positive, engaged children that live on a balanced diet can have greater performance in both school work and sport development.
McCaffrey confirmed that the project will culminate with a "showpiece event" in week 12, where the families of the kids involved can come along and see what their young ones have been learning over the block.
But what did the kids make of their fourth day at GoFitba?
YFS spoke to Mazy, Ryan, and Aaron who all spoke of their enjoyment at the project and how they couldn't wait to go back this Friday.
All three kids learned something new about nutrition and football from the day - ranging from Ryan's tip of drinking more water on a daily basis to Aaron's newfound ability to pass with the inside of his foot.
St Mirren in the Community's Gallacher believes that the project emphasises what community clubs like St Mirren are all about.
"I think it's in part showing that we're giving that hand back to the wider community. Being a community club, it's good to get the badge into wider places and to see that we're involved in not only the football part, but also the healthy choices.
"There's other programmes that St Mirren in the Community do during the day, during the holidays and after school - there's quite a few. It's to do with looking after the community and not just about playing football all the time - there's other parts St Mirren do and they have the community at heart first and foremost."
McCaffrey seconded those words about community from Gallacher, and stated that he hopes the project can only grow in the future.
"I think the coaches that involve themselves in clubs like St Mirren and other community clubs are so enthusiastic and want to make a difference to young people - they want to give them an opportunity to take part. I think that opportunity is the key thing - we're really giving people a chance and perhaps get the inactive active. Some kids maybe don't get the chance to play at clubs and maybe don't have the confidence to get involved.
"But the coaches we work with are there to improve their confidence and improve their skills, and hopefully give them a taster of what it would be like to play football more regularly and sport in general. This project gives that opportunity, and the coaches are key to it because they deliver the positive messages, the sessions, the educational resource - they're the catalyst for success.
"I think it can grow. It's something that we want to expand on, but the resource has been created and the project is up and running and straightforward to deliver. We've taken care of sessions on and off the park with the educational journey, right down to what the kids eat on a weekly-basis.
"We feel it's something that can be replicated, whether that's in the schools directly or by our delivery partners.
"And of course, the sport could easily be changed and it could be branded as something else, because the principles between the project and what it's trying to achieve can be transferable and can certainly be replicated.
"People need an opportunity to take part, and I think when people do take part and have that chance then they tend to stay in the game."
Whether the kids of Glencoats Primary stay in the game or not, there is an overwhelming desire from them to stay with GoFitba and continue what has been a tremendously fun journey for them.
It's been a strong few weeks for the project so far, but in the grand scheme of things, GoFitba is only just getting started.
- Physical advantage – some children are bigger, stronger and quicker and they will always dominate at a younger age.
- Emotional maturity – some children are emotionally more mature, can listen to coaches more effectively, deal with competition better and cope with situations in a far better way than some other children.
- Time spent – a child who has spent double the time on a chosen sport or a skill generally as a rule should have a significant advantage over the other. At a young age this can be even more pronounced but that does not mean that it cannot be caught up but it will need time.
- Skills – can be developed and they are not based on physical characteristics
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.”