Anti-bullying campaign’s great form continues with Pollok United Soccer Academy

Players Ahmed Baig (left) Liedson Vicente.
Players Ahmed Baig (left) Liedson Vicente.

The transfer window may have slammed shut more than a month ago but that didn’t stop Scotland’s anti-bullying campaign respectme from unveiling their latest signing.

Respectme is delighted to add Pollok United Soccer Academy, one of Glasgow’s biggest football schools, to its ever growing list of backers as it continue to dial up its campaign to get Scotland’s youngsters engaged with the #ChooseRespect message.

The charity’s service director, Katie Ferguson, visited Pollok United Soccer Academy to attend the first anti-bullying workshop as it was delivered to the 2006 and 2007 age groups, as the football group commits to integrating regular anti-bullying sessions into its training programme.

Pollok United Soccer Academy is affiliated with iconic Glasgow club Pollok FC, which has plied its trade in the city’s Southside for over a century.

The club works with hundreds of children aged four onwards from across Glasgow through its boys and girls football teams.

Pollok United Soccer Academy’s Andy Elliott spoke about why they were so keen to get involved with the campaign saying: “It is a great opportunity for the academy to engage with our members and ensure this anti-bullying campaign reaches as many young folk in our community as possible. Pollok United Soccer Academy are delighted to be able to engage with Respectme through football and hope that other community based clubs sign up for this campaign.”

The workshops form part of the #ChooseRespect campaign which is currently in its second stage, ‘Celebrating Difference’.

The sessions ask young people to explore their attitudes to difference as well as thinking about what they can do contribute towards a culture of respect and inclusion in their communities.

Service Director at respectme, Katie Ferguson said that she was delighted to have the support of the footballing community and hoped Pollok’s involvement would be the catalyst for more sports teams getting involved.

She continued: “Learning about celebrating difference and respect from influential figures such as coaches and players is hugely powerful and very impactful for young people, which is why we’re really grateful to have a club like Pollok United Soccer Academy on board.

“Behaviours such as teamwork and respect are well established in community focused clubs where to the focus is on nurturing good people as well as good players, so we are delighted to have them on board.”

The quick and engaging sessions can be delivered by anyone working with children from school teacher and youth workers to football coaches and Scout leaders using the range of free resources available.

With two stages of the campaign, ‘Building Empathy’ and ‘Positive Relationships’ still to come before the end of the school year and football season, there is still plenty of time for others to get involved.

The materials for all stages of the campaign are suitable for young people of primary and secondary age and are all free to download from chooserespect.scot