A group of young people from some of the poorest communities in Scotland who are at risk of or have been involved in gang violence fly out to South Africa tomorrow (May 28) after a church-led initiative helped them turn their lives around.
And now they want to use their experience to help prevent other young people falling into a life of trouble and crime.
The nine-strong team will be accompanied by youth workers from the Church of Scotland on their 3-week trip to the World Cup of Friendship thanks to a joint initiative between the church’s Priority Areas Team and Strathclyde Police Community Initiative to Violence Project.
All of the team members who are aged between 16 and 21-years-old have turned their lives around and now want to be role models to other young people by encouraging them to show a red card to crime.
Priority Areas Team leader Neil Young who will be with the team in South Africa for the Youth World Cup of Friendship said the youths will be working with a team from Germany alongside young people from Cape Town in youth leadership activities.
The Youth World Cup of Friendship relates directly to two of the Priority Area Team’s main strategic points, to take its work to the margins and developing leaders. The experience of the Priority Area Team over the last decade highlights that is particularly important to develop positive young male leaders in environments where peer pressure often pulls young men in the opposite direction.
Neil Young said: “Inevitably any event in South Africa in the summer is going to involve football but while there is time to play in matches this event is much more than football. It is about bringing together almost 40 young men who are demonstrating a clear potential to be positive community leaders and role models from the poorest communities in Scotland, Germany and South Africa. It is about working with them to nurture and develop that potential. At a local level, we are aiming to develop the work we do in partnership with the Violence Reduction Unit at Strathclyde Police which the Priority Areas Committee and Ministries Council has an increasingly strong record.”
The hope behind the Youth World Cup of Friendship is that it can be developed as an ongoing programme for youth development and leadership. Informal talks have already happened to host a similar event next year in Germany and Scotland in 2014 as part of the Commonwealth Games.
Notes to News Desks:
The Youth World Cup of Friendship will be based at the Chrysalis Academy, one of the leading youth leadership organisations in South Africa. Activities will focus on overcoming violence and conflict, family values and promoting team work as well as playing mixed-national football matches and a visit to Lavender Hill, one of the largest coloured townships on the outskirts of Cape Town, in an event that is intended to be a life transforming experience for those involved.
For further information please contact Neil Young, Priority Areas Youth Worker on 07748 808 488 or Rev Martin Johnstone at the Priority Areas Team, Glasgow, on 0141 248 2905.
Contact: Neil Young, Priority Areas Youth Worker on 07748 808 488 or Rev Martin Johnstone at the Priority Areas Team, Glasgow, on 0141 248 2905.
Phone: 0131 240 2268