Nil by Mouth have teamed up with St Mirren and Erskine school kids to deliver the message that football is a game for all.
The club brought its ‘Street Stuff’ programme to Bargarran and St John Bosco Primaries as our ongoing United Against Division’ programme in the town. The charity has been working with the schools for the past 18 months on a range of activities aimed at helping pupils better understand religious and cultural differences and celebrate their community.
Over 300 pupils took part in a joint ‘School of Football’ day led by coaches from ‘Street Stuff’ providing an opportunity to practice their skills and play in matches with mixed teams pupils from both schools. As a special bonus St Mirren first team players Kieran Offord and Caolan Boyd-Munce answered questions from pupils about the lives and aspirations of a professional footballer followed by a special autograph session with the players signing t-shirts, football strips, balls and even school bags. The club also donated 16 tickets to each school for last Saturday’s 3-0 winover Livingston at St Mirren Park
Street Stuff provides a range of weekly activities which are free to young people across Renfrewshire and is a partnership between St Mirren, Renfrewshire Council, Police Scotland, Fire & Rescue Scotland and Engage Renfrewshire. Each month, hundreds of young people take part in its multi-sport activities which also run over school holidays. Bargarran Primary and St John Bosco Primary, who share a campus, are now in their second year of working alongside Nil by Mouth. The joint initiative aims to promote tolerance and respect and brings pupils together several times a year to work on writing, art and sporting programmes together.
Nil by Mouth Engagement Officer Emma Alexander said:
‘This was such an amazing and memorable day for all the children and to see over 300 of them get so much out of football was a real treat for everyone involved in arranging the event. We have worked with Street Stuff in the past and always found it one of the most dynamic and engaging youth projects in Scotland with coaches and staff who know how to relate to young people and be able to relay important messages to them about tolerance and respect. Over the last few months we have brought artists and authors along to work with pupils of both schools and along with delivering our own anti-sectarian workshops we know that these young people have an excellent understanding of the issues and a strong sense that the things they share are much more important than things others may try to use to divide them. We hope to continue our partnership with St John Bosco and Bargarran into a third year and are very grateful to St Mirren for supporting us so well and ensuring everyone knows football is a game for everyone.’