Young people in Arbroath are being supported to form the next generation of sports leaders, thanks to a programme that connects the Arbroath Community Sport Hub with local cluster schools.
The Young Sports Hub programme was started last year by Scott Nicoll, community sport hubs development officer for ANGUSalive, and Laura Baxter, former Active Schools Coordinator.
The two realised they shared goals of developing young people into sports leaders and giving them opportunities to enjoy the benefits of sport, so they combined forces. Drawing on each other’s strengths and connections gave their programme the structure it needed to run a successful pilot scheme last year.
Laura explained their ethos, "It is really important to provide children and young people with the platform and opportunity to direct development in their local area. This is a concept that allows the Community Sport sector to hear the voice of the child as well as look through the lens of young people. We were keen to provide leadership opportunities for a group of kids who could advocate and influence within their own school environment that ultimately provides more visibility to sporting opportunities in the local community to encourage increased participation. This project hits a number of Active Schools objectives as well as empowering the young people of Arbroath to encourage their peers to become more active."
Now in its second year, the programme is going from strength to strength.
Local schools have been keen to get involved, with five signed up; Muirfield, Inverbrothock, Timmergreens, Ladyloan and Arbirlot Primary Schools.
Primary 6 and 7 pupils from each school are encouraged to apply and gain experience in going through an interview as part of the selection process. Between two and four pupils are chosen from each of the schools.
How it works
Once in place, members of the group comes together twice a month on a Friday afternoon at Muirfield Primary School and discuss all things sport – what kinds of sporting activities are most popular and why, how best to deliver sport in schools and how to ensure as many children as possible are included by brainstorming how to break down any perceived barriers.
They get the chance to enjoy 20 minutes of sporting activity, which is chosen by themselves on week one, and gain experience and tips from local club coaches. These facilitated training sessions enable the Young Sports Hub group to return to their schools and deliver sessions themselves.
This year the focus has been on tennis and athletics, and both have proved very popular with the Young Sports Hub and the school pupils. The local golf club will soon also be feeding into the programme and delivering some coached sessions to the young people.
The young people plan programmes of work for their schools, covering holiday periods and aiming to enhance school to club links. They work through ‘who, what, where, when and why’ brainstorming, to ensure they choose the right sports and activities for the right young people back in their schools.
The aspiration is that the Young Sports Hub group, and the pupils to whom they deliver, will move on to high school as confident leaders of the future.
Scott Nicoll said, “ANGUSalive, Arbroath Community Sports Hub and Active Schools are working in partnership with the Young Sports Hub to increase participation in sport by breaking down barriers such as transport, confidence, timings and funding throughout Arbroath.
"The partnership has been a great success as we have seen the children mature, improve their leadership skills and increase in confidence as the block progressed. We hope that the programme will continue to develop year on year, along with continuing to develop the young people into a future workforce.”
Kelly Moonlight, who worked with Laura in the Active Schools team before Laura moved on and has been a great support in driving the programme on, added: “The Young Sports Council is a great way for pupils to share their ideas and come up with strategies to reduce the barriers to participating in sport. Clubs in Arbroath will really benefit from what the Young Sports Council has to offer."