Young people from Greater Pollok who deliver sport and physical activity sessions to people in their community are flourishing as young leaders – with the help of a partnership between Youth Scotland and SAPC Community Sports Hub SCIO.
A group of 15 youngsters who volunteer as coaches at the sports hub in Darnley took part in Youth Scotland’s leadership programme, iLead, to develop their leadership knowledge, skills and experience, helping them gain more confidence in delivering sessions with other young people.
As well as gaining a better understanding of how to lead, the young people taking part also earn an SCQF Level 2, SQA credit rated qualification.
The programme between Youth Scotland and SAPC Community Sports Hub SCIO is among 17 projects to benefit from the Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity programme which is jointly funded by sportscotland, The Robertson Trust, Spirit of 2012 and Scottish Government with the aim of changing lives and creating a more inclusive and healthier nation.
This is first time the two organisations have come together to deliver the one-day entry stage iLead workshop and for two teenagers, the course has boosted their confidence to lead others.
Kieran Smith, a 14-year-old sports coach volunteer, says the iLead programme has given him more belief in himself as a leader. The St Paul’s High School pupil said: “I never saw myself as a leader but getting involved in sports coaching and doing the iLead leadership programme has changed that. I would tell anyone who isn’t sure if they could be a leader to go for it: you get the chance to get involved in different sports, travel and develop your skills. There’s nothing like doing a drill and seeing the kids enjoying it, it really puts a smile on my face and makes me feel like I’ve done something good.
“I’m a volunteer football coach with SAPC Community Sports Hub SCIO in Darnley and for my school team and it’s really important to me that young people have the chance to lead and coach. Starting something like this at a young age means I can keep getting better and gain more qualifications as I go, which will lead to more opportunities as I get older.”
Andrew Buik, 15, has volunteered at the community sports hub for five years and coaches a range of sports including badminton and table tennis, as well as competing and training as part of the Glasgow Sport Badminton Talent Squad.
Member of Scottish Youth Parliament for Greater Pollok, Andrew feels the iLead session will be invaluable to his improvement as a coach. He said: “I first started volunteering with the hub in Darnley doing football coaching and discovered lots of other sports. The iLead workshop sounded like a great opportunity to learn teamwork skills and new techniques that will help me lead sessions and improve as a coach.
“I think it’s important that young people are able to help people of a similar age improve in their sport. It can be more comfortable for some people if they’re being coached by someone of their own age. Taking part in this workshop means I can also boost my SQA points, so I get to improve my own, as well as other people’s skills, which is really rewarding.”
Along with the other volunteers who completed the iLead programme, Kieran and Andrew will now help support more than 50 volunteers over the next 12 months to help lead coaching sessions with more confidence than ever before.
sportscotland chief executive Stewart Harris said: “The Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity programme is an important vehicle to improve participation, as well as health and wellbeing, and widen opportunities for all.
“The young role models taking part in this programme are delivering positive change and new opportunities for people in their community to get involved in sport. By developing these young leaders, they can have a significant impact on the physical activity that is delivered in their local area, while also giving them access to greater opportunities.”
The funding will also allow the young people to undertake the next stage of the iLead programme in the coming months, with the aim of gaining a Youth Scotland Dynamic Youth Award and Youth Achievement Award qualifications.