FEEDBACK from a scheme which was aimed at giving the unemployed a way back into work has been welcomed by a local MLA.
Lagan Valley DUP representative, Mrs Brenda Hale, has said the positive comments from participants in the ‘Football Lifeline’ pilot scheme were heartening.
The scheme was held in conjunction with Banbridge District Council and People First and has been running for the past eight weeks at Banbridge Leisure Centre.
This initiative was developed by ex-Chelsea footballer, Billy Sinclair, with the aim of supporting unemployed and disadvantaged young people through an informal coaching course.
Mr Sinclair first approached Mrs Brenda Hale six months ago, seeking help and advice. Mrs Hale was able to assist Billy in getting over a number of hurdles, with UnLtd awarding Billy’s proposed scheme the necessary funding.
People First provided a pool of unemployed young people, for the pilot scheme and the council’s Health and Inequalities Officer, who assisted throughout, is to present a report before Council on the outcomes and findings.
Mrs Hale commented, “I am absolutely delighted that Billy’s project has proved a success with positive feedback from all involved.
“The young people who took part have shown tremendous enthusiasm and Billy and his fellow coaches have enjoyed the past eight weeks, finding the experience extremely rewarding.
“Prior to every coaching session the young people were also given life-skill advice with themes such as alcohol and drugs being addressed.
“It is hoped that this pilot scheme can be built upon and expanded and I would support any proposals to this end. Opportunities such as the coaching offered by Billy and his team of ex-professional footballers/managers, is a fantastic way to help and challenge the issues facing young people in todays recession hit society.
“Billy and his fellow coaches must be commended for giving up of their time voluntarily, to help make a positive impact in these young peoples lives.”