Posted on: Thursday 26th June 2014
Over half a million pounds of money from criminals is being used to provide football and work skills training for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced a total of £600,000 additional funding to extend the Street Soccer (Scotland) Change programme to even more 16-25 year-olds.
£500,000 from the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities scheme will be used to enhance training opportunities in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee with a further £100,000 of Commonwealth Games Legacy funding being used to extend street soccer activities to Perth and Inverness.
Street Soccer is already helping hundreds of young people who have experienced mental health problems, addictions and homelessness by diverting them away from crime and antisocial behaviour while giving them skills to change their lives.
The Cashback money will fund a programme of weekly street soccer drop-in sessions, personal development, SFA coaching courses and one-to-one support to help young men and women get back on track, access training and get back into employment.
The funds have been recovered by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service using the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), taking money from criminals before the Scottish Government invests it back into the community.
The First Minister unveiled the new funding on Tuesday May 27, 2014 at the Fernhill Community Centre, Rutherglen, ahead of a meeting of Scottish Cabinet and a public referendum Q&A event. He was joined for the announcement by Commonwealth Games Secretary Shona Robison, Scotland under-21 midfielder Kenny McLean and young people who participate in Street Soccer Scotland.
Mr Salmond said:
"I am delighted to announce that funds seized from some of the very worst of society will provide those who have struggled at the start of their lives with fantastic personal and sporting opportunities.
“The Cashback for Communities scheme, introduced by this Government in 2007, has already invested £1.3 million in South Lanarkshire in sporting, employability training and arts projects and is part of a wider investment of over £74 million for projects and initiatives right across the country.
“The total package of funding I am announcing today will enable Street Soccer Scotland to help even more young people even more areas of Scotland.
“To come along and hear about the huge benefit this money will have is incredibly encouraging and I am grateful to Kenny for also taking part and meeting some of the young people benefitting from the scheme, as well as possibly unearthing some future stars for the Scotland football squad!”
Scotland under-21 midfielder Kenny McLean said:
“Street Soccer Scotland is a brilliant scheme which makes a real difference to the lives of some Scotland’s most vulnerable young people, and I am delighted to be able to come along today to lend my support.”
David Duke, founder and chief executive of Street Soccer Scotland said:
“This funding will allow us to reach many more of Scotland’s most vulnerable and excluded young people in four of our major cities. We know that football, and sport in general, plays a big part in improving the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our young people. Involving them in positive activities that divert them away from at risk and anti-social behaviour helps them develop the skills and abilities they need to change their lives and future potential for the better. The funding will also provide pathways into formal education and learning and into employment and volunteering for young people in the heart of our communities, creating a positive legacy for the future.”