An innovative new sport coaching academy was the focus this week for the launch of an ambitious tackling poverty blueprint from Renfrewshire Council.
Meeting the first batch of academy trainees, Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan also outlined a two-year action plan to tackle the predicted national rise in child poverty levels.
Eight young people aged 16 – 21 will undergo a ten-month training programme preparing them for a job in the leisure industry as part of the academy – funded by £90,000 from the council’s £6m tackling poverty fund.
The new Tackling Poverty in Renfrewshire Strategy 2015-2017 will focus on six priority areas: income and employment; managing money; health; attainment; neighbourhoods; and how organisations should work.
Councillor Macmillan said: “This sport coaching academy is a great example of the holistic approach we’re taking in Renfrewshire to tackling poverty. It will provide vocational training helping these young people in the job market and it’s crucial that the wider strategy does this – making sure young people are not denied access to the opportunities that will help them achieve their potential.
“Since Renfrewshire’s Tackling Poverty Commission reported its recommendations in March 2015, we’ve committed £6m of funding and developed a blueprint for a local partnership approach responding to the challenges outlined by the commission. This builds on the excellent work being done by the existing Families First, Street Stuff and Invest in Renfrewshire programmes. It also, crucially, forges links with other major investment programmes such as the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal and our ambitious plans to transform Paisley using its heritage and cultural assets.
“It’s appropriate that we launch the strategy during national Challenge Poverty Week and at a time when statistics show that one-in-five children in Renfrewshire live in poverty. This is unacceptable and, while many of the key causes of poverty are out of the council’s direct control, we are committed to strong leadership around tackling poverty, both for our local partners and on the national stage.”
Councillor Jim Harte, Chair of the Renfrewshire Leisure board, said: “The sport coaching academy will deliver for Renfrewshire in a number of different ways.
“These young trainees will become part of the skilled workforce as professional sports coaches – but they will also act as motivators for other young people in their communities. They will deliver almost 7,000 hours of coaching, support local voluntary groups and help with Families First sports camps.
“The programme will also mean 20 new community sports sessions in Renfrewshire with 5,000 young people being introduced to sport and encouraged to lead healthier lifestyles.”
You can read the Tackling Poverty in Renfrewshire Strategy 2015 – 2017 online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/tacklingpoverty