New scheme helps teenagers find the back of the net

A group of teenagers have kicked off a new initiative that will help them reach their superstar potential.

Published: Tuesday, 30th April 2019

For the past six months, Swindon Borough Council’s Public Health team have been working with the Swindon Town FC Community Foundation to develop a new programme to help teenagers overcome some of life’s difficulties.

The Onsite Football Project kicked off with a special pilot session on Monday night (29 April) as 16 young people between the ages of 11 and 15 met at the County Ground to put their football skills to the test.

The 10-week programme uses football to help vulnerable teenagers with their personal development. It focuses on building their confidence and improving their team working skills as well as teaching them how to communicate with each other and the importance of personal responsibility and respect for others.

The scheme has already been trialled by various football clubs across the country and Swindon Town have been working with the Council to bring it to the County Ground for youngsters who need it.

Sue Wald, Swindon Borough Council’s Corporate Director for Adult Social Services, said: “Sport is a fantastic way of helping young people to develop as individuals and this programme will allow the participants to have fun, make new friends and learn a whole host of valuable skills.

“For the next 10 weeks, we will be working closely with the Swindon Town Football Foundation to ensure that the participants get as much out of the scheme as they possibly can, and from what we saw on Monday night, we are confident it can be a huge success.”

Phil Doble, Swindon Town FC Community Foundation’s Senior Community Officer, said: “In football there are lots of lessons that can be learnt that reflect everyday life. Awareness, control, respect and teamwork can all be practiced and developed through having fun playing football.

“We are hugely excited to be delivering this project for such a great group of young people”.

Monday’s pilot session saw the teenagers officially sign on in the club’s press room, take a ground tour of the stadium and meet the club’s coaches.

The programme will start properly on 13 May and will run for 10 weeks. Each participant will be closely mentored throughout and will receive a detailed evaluation at the end.

The teenagers taking part were all selected by local health and care partners such as Young Carers and STEP (Swindon Ten to Eighteen Project), as they were deemed to be people who would benefit from it the most.

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