A new partnership between the Scottish FA and the Scottish Government is harnessing the Power of Football to help to provide invaluable after school and holiday activity clubs for primary school aged children.
The Scottish FA Extra Time programme sees investment of £1.8 million from the Scottish Government divided across the 25 participating football clubs and trusts across the country including St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation.
Through wider engagement with local support services, schools and local authorities the programme aims to tackle poverty by designing a system of accessible and affordable school age childcare for children from low-income families, while also reducing barriers to a range of activities around the school day.
In addition to offering increased accessibility to organised children’s activity for targeted families, the programme provides wider impacts to families and communities by allowing parents and carers to sustain and/or increase their working hours, improve employment circumstances, take up training or studying, and facilitate respite opportunities.
Additionally, through comprehensive monitoring and evaluation, the programme has developed a better understanding into the role that organised children’s activities can play in tackling food insecurities, as well as indicators to measure improved mental health for families and wider outcomes.
The Scottish FA Extra Time Programme involves clubs across the nation, from as far north as Aberdeen FC Community Trust, to Queen of the South Community Trust near the border.
Paul McNeill, Head of Football Development at the Scottish FA: “The Scottish FA Extra Time Programme is a prime example of the power that football wields to positively impact communities throughout the nation.
“Most families know only too well how difficult it is to balance childcare with the pressures of modern-day life and this partnership with the Scottish Government helps to provide families with invaluable flexibility that can benefit them in a variety of areas.
“Equally importantly, the programme engages primary school aged children in football, exposing them to the well-documented myriad physical and mental wellbeing benefits that football participation brings.
Jordan Allison, Head of Charity at the Killie Community: “This programme is already providing local young people with a unique chance to engage and learn every week with their footballing role models.
“In Kilmarnock and Ayrshire, we have some of the most deprived areas in Scotland, which sadly results in fewer opportunities for young people and their families to live an active, healthy lifestyle.
“The power of this programme means we can use football to provide much-needed, regular intervention such as healthy nutrition and exercise, while working in partnership with our school communities to improve young people’s social and emotional development.”