A special event was held at Broadwood recently to mark the conclusion of Clyde’s successful Get Onside project.
This programme is open to adults with severe and enduring mental health issues, as well as those with learning difficulties, who have a love of football.
Delivered in partnership with Heartfelt Ltd and Ceartas and supported through the funding of the Scottish Football Partnership and the Scottish Government’s Right to Transition Fund, the project gives the participants a chance to meet up with other football fans and socialise in a friendly environment.
A typical session consists of classroom style talks about valuable skills such as decision making and on-the-pitch action where the coaches deliver interactive drills which allow learning in a more practical situation.
David Douglas, chief executive of both Clyde FC and Heartfelt Ltd, said: “We ran our first Get Onside course between a year and a half and two years ago. As well as Clyde we’ve also run it with Kilmarnock, Airdrie, Hibernian and Falkirk.
“We’ve also developed Get Onside rugby with the Scottish Rugby Union - we do that at Murrayfield - and we’ve developed Get Onside cricket which we do with Stenhousemuir Cricket Club.”
He said the project would continue to be organised with clubs across Scotland with organisers looking at how the project can add value at the end of the course for those involved.
He continued: “The other exciting thing we’re going to be doing is with Kilmarnock who are going to host a football tournament where it’s going to involve all of the Get Onside teams playing against one another.
“We’ll use that to promote good messages about the social care services and hopefully those involved enjoy themselves.”
One of the young people involved with the programme is Craig, whose mum said: “Craig found out about the project through his speech and language therapist and it was one of the best things he’s ever really got involved in.
“We were told at the end that it was being done here and we couldn’t wait for April to come so we could get involved in this.”
Clyde boss Barry Ferguson and assistant Bob Malcolm also went along to lend their support and present certificates to those involved, much to the appreciation of the participants in the seven-week block of sessions.
One regular participant, William, said: “I’ve been involved with projects like these for a couple of years now, I’ve been to a number of different ones.
“The fact that Barry Ferguson and Bob Malcolm are involved was a big catch. The football is also a big benefit as it gets people out and about and we get the chance to play on the Broadwood pitch.”
For more information about the Get Onside programme visit www.ceartas.org.uk.