Coalfields Regeneration Trust launches ‘Game On’ sport for change initiative in Scotland
-Programme aims to address inequality issues in mining communities through sport and activity-
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) is to launch its ‘Game On’ sport for change initiative in former mining communities across Scotland, with the aim of improving lives by addressing such issues as health and employment through sport and physical activity.
A development manager, Sean Laird, who has several years of experience in sport and coaching, has been appointed by CRT to lead ‘Game On’ in Scotland. Laird graduated in sports studies from the University of Stirling and his experience includes regional club development officer with Scottish Golf, a role as an Active Schools co-ordinator and football/sports coaching.
CRT helps mining communities recover from the devastating effects of pit closures by supporting a range of local initiatives. Part of its role, through direct delivery of sport-based activity, is to play a major part in addressing the growing health, skills and employment inequalities for boys and girls within coalfield communities across the country. CRT’s vision is to encourage healthy lifestyles and support young people and their families to be more active, more often.
‘Game On’ has number of core offerings to encourage participation within the local communities and support local clubs. Its offer will include:
- Football 5ives – free evening turn up and play football activity sessions
- ‘Game On’ Girls, which will help bridge the gap between grassroots and other parts of the game
- ‘Game on Gear Grant’, which aims to get more young people from Scottish coalfield communities playing sport and reducing any potential barriers
- CRT’s annual tournament, the Coalfields Community Cup, will continue.
It is hoped that ‘Game On’ will address the findings of the ‘The Scottish Coalfields in 2020’ report which examined socio-economic conditions in former coalmining communities. The report found:
- Continuing deprivation with 31 per cent of coalfield neighbourhoods now in the most deprived 20 per cent
- Coalfields communities have higher rates of 16 to 19-year olds not in education, employment or training. Educational disadvantage is perhaps the main challenge for many areas
- There is significantly less employment in the coalfields (287 jobs per 1,000 people) compared to Scotland as a whole (467 per 1,000) and increasing dependence on income-related benefits.
- Rates of child poverty are higher, with just over a fifth of children living in low-income families in mining communities
‘Game On’ development manager, Sean Laird, said: “I’m really pleased to be bringing my sports experience to CRT’s ‘Game On’ initiative. I’ll be working in partnership with others, including local authorities, the Scottish Football Association and Police Scotland, to develop regionally specific programmes. We’ll be researching what is already available to avoid duplicating what is being done.
“We hope ’Game On’ will help address issues in coalfields communities identified in the report published this year, including those around health and wellbeing and the participation gap in sport.”
CRT is currently researching what is currently on offer in coalfields communities before rolling-out ‘Game On’ to meet specific local needs.
To follow on Twitter: @gameonscotland
Notes to editors
Link to images of Sean Laird; a previous year’s CRT Coalfields Community Cup (2019) and the Game On logo: https://bit.ly/3mv6gye