The Falkirk Foundation spearheading youth wellbeing scheme

The Falkirk Foundation is one of five clubsnationwide spearheading the CashBack Off the Bench scheme, being run in conjunction with the Scottish Professional Football League Trust.

By Ben Kearney
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 8:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 8:51 pm
CEO Derek Allison pictured with Falkirk FC's Jamie Swinney (Picture by Ian Sneddon)
CEO Derek Allison pictured with Falkirk FC's Jamie Swinney (Picture by Ian Sneddon)

The programme, targeting young people aged 18 to 24, started last week with the aim of improving areas such as employability and mental wellbeing for those taking part.

Foundation CEO Derek Allison said of the scheme: “It was a real struggle to recruit people onto the programme, but it was something we were really keen to do.

“Engaging with that age group is really important to us, especially with many young people having left school during the pandemic and not having many opportunities.

“It’s almost like a bit of a lost generation when you think about it.

“We have 17 young people involved in the programme now it is up and running, which is great numbers.

“Young people on it can gain so much out of it and learn new skills.”

The programme takes place within the Falkirk Stadium, and the goal is help young people feel involved within their local club and offer them an insight into a professional environment.

“Interacting with other people is key for going into a working environment and this programme really helps build those communication skills,” Allison explained.

“Being a part of something bigger goes a long way, and having our base at the stadium and being so close to the football club is a big bonus for us.

“The real community feeling of being part of the Falkirk family is a driving force.”

A spokesperson for the SPFL Trust added: “Participants will also improve their football skills, have the chance to take part in an annual football event and complete a meaningful community project.“With support from key partners Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue and the Procurator Fiscal, trained coaches will work to encourage positive behaviour change in areas such as, but not limited to, alcohol and drug consumption, anti-social behaviour, sectarianism and racism.

The 16-week programme will have more than 240 young people taking part.