Dundee Football Club’s charity arm is giving young adults the opportunity to gain qualifications which will set them up for future employment through football.
The Dundee FC Community Trust is running a 16-week programme at Dens Park which aims to take young adults who may have low level offending or are struggling with anti-social behaviour and help them build relationships with the community and emergency services.
The programme will begin next week and there are still places for 16-24 year old’s to apply here, applications close Friday June 4.
Our Off the Bench programme will deliver its first cohort in Spring 2021.
We can’t wait to see the impact it will have on #TacklingInequalities within our community. Interested? We’re welcoming applications from organisations working with young people aged 18-24.@SPFLTrust pic.twitter.com/3IGrl19964
— Dundee FC Community Trust (@DundeeFCCT) April 21, 2021
The programme, Cash Back Off the Bench by Dundee FC Community Trust, is one of five being delivered by Scottish Professional Football League Club Trusts within their local communities across Scotland.
During the programme, DFC Community Trust will be working closely alongside the criminal justice system where they will have a plain clothed police officer present each week building relationships with the young people.
Giving back to the community
Participants will achieve three certified SQA awards during the programme, along with working amongst qualified SFA (Scottish Football Association) coaches to gain SFA badges and will undertake a community project of their choice to give something back to the region.
The campaign was originally set up as a criminal justice programme targeting young people with low level offending and anti-social behaviour but it was decided to broaden the opportunity to people within the community with a passion for football to gain essential employability skills and qualifications.
Criminal Justice worker, Yvonne Sneddon, who is delivering the Off the Bench programme said: “Rather than a punitive approach, it’s more about building relationships within the community which I think is essential in order to break down anti-social behaviour.”
Along with Police Scotland, the programme will bring in a variety of different partners each week for the 16-24 year old’s to learn from, including: Hillcrest Futures, SFA, Fire and Rescue, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), Skills Development Scotland, Show Racism the Red Card and Dundee and Angus College.
Yvonne said: “There’s very much a restorative justice focus on it so it’s about allowing people to see their actions and how that can affect other people.
“It’s just going to be about providing them with the knowledge of the repercussions of what anti-social behaviour entails.”
Helping with mental health
The programme is designed for young people who would like to get into football, giving them the opportunity to train within the stadium and learn from Scottish referees, with the aim to create a positive link between mental and physical health.
Yvonne said: “A lot of the focus is about mental health and there is a huge link between physical activity and mental health so it’s about promoting a positive relationship between fitness, mental health and physical activity.
“Dundee FC is held in quite high esteem so it’s about having that relationship to be able to link young people in the community and have that positive relationship bounce back and forth and having the Dundee Football Club badge allows us to do that.”
Greg Fenton, DFC Community Trust manager, said he’s hoping to create a better career path for young people through the programme. He said: “It will be improved life chances for the individuals.
“We’re hoping that they’ll hopefully have a better career path in front of them and if they were on that wrong path, there’s hope that they’ll be taken off that path onto a correct one so that they can make their own informed choices and make positive decisions in the future.”
Dundee FC Community Trust are also currently running a programme called the Gift of Learning, where they have taken charitable donations and funding from the SCVO (Scottish Charitable Voluntary Organisation) to give iPads and Tablet devices to those less fortunate during lockdown.