Livingston Youth Foundation’s key purpose is to use football as an activity to promote the educational and health development of members of the West Lothian Community with particular emphasis on targeting those who are typically less engaged with these activities and may be failing to achieve their full potential. In addition it aims to encourage access to a healthy sporting activity at a level suitable for the participant with the opportunity to progress in a systematic manner.
The Foundation along with our key partners, West Lothian Council, Xcite – West Lothian Leisure, Livingston Football Club, Scottish FA and West Lothian College, has established a number of high quality football development programmes for children and young people which has increased participation levels and improved playing and coaching standards across West Lothian.
The Foundation also has a number of successful partnerships and programmes in place delivering wider positive social impact for disadvantaged people.
One of our key programmes is: School of Football – Inveralmond Community High School
The ‘Cashback’ School of Football funded by the Scottish Governments ‘Cashback for Communities’ initiative is a social & academic S1-S3 schools programme for schools located in areas of social deprivation, the aim of which is to mould better citizens through the vehicle of football.
As part of the programme, pupils follow an enhanced school timetable which includes a period of football activity (practical & theory) every day. This is used as a tool to motivate the pupils, enhance their social skills such as communication, listening and behavior, with the programme’s success being evaluated through factors such as school attendance and academic attainment.
The School of Football is delivered at Inveralmond Community High School and is a partnership between Livingston Youth Foundation, Scottish FA and West Lothian Council. The programme has successfully received additional funding from The Scottish Football Partnership (Community Initiative) and The Moffat Charitable Trust which safeguards the activity until 2017.
The programme is delivered at the High School by our Head Coach, Andy Kirk (former professional footballer with Heart of Midlothian, Dunfermline and capped at International level with Northern Ireland). The programme runs for a total of 38 weeks and involves approximately 30 students. The Head Coach works on behalf of the Livingston Youth Foundation and in partnership with the Scottish FA.
The SOF programme is nationally considered as a well-established diversionary project designed to develop young boys’ and girls’ social and academic skills using daily football coaching activities. It is this vehicle that encourages the attributes needed in order to be a confident, respectful and well-rounded individual in and outwith school. Since it started in 2008, the programme has grown from initially being active in 6 secondary schools to now being delivered at 28 schools across the country with 934 young people benefiting this year alone. In the main this has been thanks to ‘Cashback’ funding from the Scottish Government. Now into our third contract with ‘Cashback’ they have contributed project funding amounting to £8million across the whole game.
Evidence thus far has demonstrated a significant number of positive outcomes for the school children from improved abilities in social circumstances, decrease in any existing tendencies towards anti-social behavior to improved attitudes to sport, health, education and society. The programme is also strongly aligned to the Scottish Government Strategic Framework Outcomes and aims to support on areas such as increasing the proportion of schools receiving positive inspection reports, increased proportion of graduates in positive destinations and increases in the proportion of healthy weight children.
The delivery framework is varied according to local needs and resources with a number being delivered fully by Scottish FA staff whilst in other schools delivery is based around existing local partner’s involvement such as Livingston Youth Foundation. All staff involved in practical sessions are Scottish FA Licensed coaches.
Stuart McCaffrey, Chief Operating Officer at The Scottish Football Partnership states: “The Scottish Football Partnership, through our Community Initiative, is excited to be working alongside The Livingston Youth Foundation in the delivery of the School of Football Programme at Inveralmond Community High School. We hope our support enables the project to continue to flourish over the next two years and the young people involved continue their personal development through sport”.
Scott Millar, Development Manager at Livingston Youth Foundation states: “The School of Football provides an excellent opportunity to the pupils at Inveralmond Community High School to allow sport to not only build a healthier lifestyle but engage and enhance the educational pathway of the students involved. We are delighted for the support that the Scottish Football Partnership and Moffat Charitable Trust have provided to this rewarding and key initiative”
The Scottish FA has stated: “The School of Football is one of our leading development programmes however the social impact it has is far greater than the impact on the pupils as young football players. Our philosophy has always been ‘person first, player second’ as that is the aim of our programme. That’s why the added funding from the Scottish Football Partnership and the Moffat Charitable Trust is crucial to help guarantee the programme runs until 2017”
Inveralmond Community High School has stated: “At Inveralmond Community High School we aim to work together to inspire learners and shape successful futures. We have been delighted with the impact that the school of football has had on our pupils, not only on the football pitch but across all areas of their learning. We have been very fortunate to have the support of the Scottish Football Partnership, Livingston Youth Foundation, Moffat Charitable Trust and staff from our own Physical Education department. I would like to thank them very much for their support in all areas of the programme and for ensuring that this successful programme will continue to develop over the next two years.”