Children in three Glasgow primary schools gave a new playpark a good work out on Monday. The outdoor gym at Dover Street in Charing Cross, was formally opened by Alistair Campbell, 10, from Anderston Primary; Shileas Nicgriogair, 8, from the Glasgow Gaelic School and Elisha Lal, 5, from St Patrick’s RC school who, together, cut the ribbon.
They and their class mates were the first to try out the new multi-purpose games court and play area which has been in informal use for several weeks.
Equipment enables users to do sit ups, leg and chest presses and play football, hockey, basketball and netball on the synthetic games surface.
This is the 57th play area to be built since 2005 as part of the Play Area Improvement Programme run by Glasgow City Council in partnership with Glasgow Housing Association (GHA). Additional funding for this project was provided by the Central and West Community Planning Partnership.
GHA’s West Area Director, Jacqueline Norwood, said: “Our partnership with the Council to build play parks has brought a real boost to dozens of communities over the past six years. Children can play safely and keep fit at the same time. The play areas are also a great way for the youngsters and parents from different backgrounds and cultures to mix.”
Local Councillor Philip Braat, who instigated this project, said: “I fought long and hard to get this play area up and running. I am absolutely delighted with what we have here now. It is a wonderful illustration of how a community, working together, can secure significant improvements and create a community space which is tailored to their needs. Everyone involved should be very proud of what they have achieved in making Dover Street/Kent Road greenspace what it is today – a fantastic resource for the community to enjoy for many years to come.”
The children were entertained by Bubbles the clown and a football session put on by A&M Training, a project part funded by GHA which tackles youth disorder, racism and gang violence through football and dance classes.
A youth programme which helps reduce anti-social behaviour in the North and West of Glasgow has been hailed as a success by former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson.
The former Scotland International captain was among special guests at the annual awards and dance shows run by A&M Training – a programme which is part funded by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).
Run by ex-Dundee United winger Andy McLaren, the A&M Training scheme tackles youth disorder, racism and gang violence. Founded on his own hard experiences, the scheme encourages youngsters to keep fit through football and dance classes.
Around 2000 youngsters have already signed up for Operation Reclaim in the North of the city and also the West End Diversionary Project.
Birmingham City star Barry Ferguson presented trophies at the Operation Reclaim awards night at the Mitchell Theatre recently.
Barry said: “I’m delighted to support A&M Training which delivers top-quality diversionary coaching activities across Glasgow. Each week around 2000 young people benefit from these services – and they are free.
“I attended the dance and awards show and was blown away by the numbers involved, the talent on show and the quality of the coaching.”
GHA and the Scottish Government fund the West End Diversionary Project, which covers areas including Drumchapel, Yoker, Scotstoun and Anderston. Operation Reclaim is funded by GHA and North Glasgow Community Planning Partnership and runs in areas including Sighthill, Springburn, Milton and Royston.
GHA’s Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire, said: “Projects such as Operation Reclaim and the West End Diversionary Project are making a real difference to young people in the North and West of the city.
Former Scotland footballers Robbie Winters, Charlie Miller and Gary McSwegan are also lending their support to programme.
Andy McLaren, founder of A&M Training, said: “We’re the only sports coaching charity in Scotland providing free coaching services delivered by professional footballers and dancers.
“The programme has had a tremendous benefit in reducing youth crime and disorder and improving the health and well-being of large numbers of young people.”
Speaking at the launch of the 2010 SRTRC creative competition launch, which was part of The Learning and Teaching Scotland festival at the SECC, the ex-Scots boss told of the footballers enthusiasm for the campaign.
He said; ‘It’s amazing just how involved all the players want to be with this charity and the young people in the schools respond well to the modern day heroes.
‘This is best way to get the nation united and educated against racism. Eventually I hope it will not be necessary to have SRTRC, but for now the pressure needs to stay on.’
He was joined by former Partick Thistle and Dundee player Jim Duffy, and 15-year-old Sylvie Clark, who won the 2009 creative competition.
Jim Duffy, a long time volunteer for SRTRC, said; ‘I go into the schools and do workshops with the young people. It really is great fun and everyone enjoys it – the kids love it and their response to the footballers is fantastic.
‘Football opens up a door and that might not be otherwise there. The kids understand what a red card means; it means you’ve done something bad and let yourself and your team mates down.’
Also at the opening was last year’s winner, Sylvie Clark, 15, a pupil from Banchory Academy in Aberdeenshire. Sylvie told LOCAL NEWS about her experience at the National Stadium earlier in the year, when she found out she was the overall winner.
She said; ‘It was great to win the schools category and then coming to Hampden to win the overall prize was just amazing.’
Sylvie is now nearly an adult, but was only 13 when she created the iconic image of hands uniting across Scotland. She said; ‘I’m really glad I put forward my entry, the whole experience has been very beneficial for me.’