A FORTHCOMING Ayr United Football Academy (AUFA) scheme that aims to encourage vulnerable adults to participate in football has been given considerable backing after being awarded funding from The Scottish Community Foundation (SCF).
The ‘Active in Sport with AUFA’ programme, which will comprise of two 10 week blocks , will bring together diverse groups of people and provide the stimulating and organised arena that is essential for anyone who is looking to get involved in sport.
The programme is being delivered by the Academy in partnership with Turning Point Scotland’s Viewpoint service, Hansel and South Ayrshire Access to Sport and all are looking forward to it kicking off in October.
Viewpoint opened in 2001 to provide support and help to people with learning disabilities who are interested in finding friendship in Ayr.
Although this is a football-based endeavour, there will also be a great deal of emphasis placed on creating a setting that assists attendees in forming positive relationships with others, and in turn, improve their own confidence and morale. This element is particularly vital because the scheme is devised for adults who may not be routinely exposed to the type of social situations and interactions in their daily lives that would allow them to do so.
The sessions are to be overseen by the Academy’s Head of Sports Science, Tony Bryson (pictured), and will take place on a weekly basis within the Pro-Soccer Complex situated in Ayr. The use of such facilities will enable vibrant and fun engagement for all concerned.
It is anticipated that, throughout this first series of dates that are due to last until December, staff will see between 16 and 20 participants attending on each occasion. Ensuring that the number of attendees remains stable and within this range is one of the main objectives of the programme overall.
Coached and mentored by Academy coaches for the duration of the three blocks, as well as being given the opportunity to compete in a range of games and challenges related to football, those who sign up to be a part of the project will also be supported in improving their fitness through a variety of associated tasks.
In an attempt to cement their interest in the sport further and help to build increased links with the Club, each member of the cohort will be given tickets to Ayr United fixtures throughout the current season.
Tony Bryson, who was instrumental in securing the crucial funding from SCF, will not only take charge of practical activity, he has also been assigned the task of communicating with other organisations involved and informing them of progress that is being made.
the participants during each of the sessions to make sure that they get as much out of them as possible.”
It is clear that this, the latest in the Academy’s community-based undertakings, is something that Tony is evidently relishing and pleased to be a part of. Commenting on why he thinks it is so important, and describing how he thinks the work will benefit many people in various and differing ways, he stated: “I firmly believe that the project will be a positive and inclusive programme for adults with mental and physical impairments. We, as a team, are working hard to create a safe and nurturing environment that will allow for increased participation in physical activity.”
Report by Cheri Burns.