Three important lessons.
Through trial and error we have learnt there are some important considerations when designing a programme to have the biggest impact possible.
1. Intentional Staffing
Playing to an individual’s strengths became an important focus for our staffing. Those with basketball expertise work with the young people on the court, to deliver fun and engaging activity and build relationships with the young people through activity. To compliment this, we employed qualified youth workers to work closely with each individual on matters specific to each young person.
We intentionally focused our recruitment on Glasgow. Our experience has taught us that local professional people relate to local people better, allowing us to make a greater positive impact.
An example of this has been our youth worker Jacqueline Anderson. Jacqueline was brought up in the area, harnessed her youth work skills in Easterhouse and has built a fantastic rapport with the young people she works with. This allows her to support young people to overcome their bespoke challenges.
2. Fruitful Partnerships
This work is different to anything we have undertaken previously, and we readily admit we could not achieve what we do without some amazing partners. Already we have developed strong partnerships with: SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health); SSF (Scottish Sport Futures); TAP (True Athlete Project); charities and partners working in similar initiatives within the schools; and, importantly, with the three school’s where our team are based.
SAMH have been working with our young people to support individuals on key issues which are relevant to them, such as anxiety and mental health awareness. The strong partnerships within the schools include pastoral care and other local charities, such as FARE, and the community police. We worked closely with FARE during the pandemic to visit our young people at home and deliver meals to those who needed.
3. Alternative Venues
The young people we work with are referred to us because they have been deemed ‘at risk.’ This includes being at risk of low attainment and attendance at school. We have learnt that operating in school can be a barrier to our staff building a trusting and meaningful relationship, the key foundation to making a positive impact on the young people. As a result, we have started operating our programme in alternative community spaces. One such local space is the Phoenix Centre in Easterhouse, a pillar in the local community. Our activities in spaces like these have a direct relation to our successful outcomes – our young people have an increased sense of belonging and a desire to positively influence their community.