Renfrewshire’s award-winning diversionary programme, Street Stuff, is celebrating ten years of making a difference to the lives of young people in the community.
Since its inception in 2009, the programme has seen more than 200,000 young people come through its doors, each having the opportunity to take part in sport, make new friends and engage in social activities.
Providing activities such as football, dance and gaming six days a week, the Street Stuff team aim to offer young people, often in disadvantaged areas, with the opportunity to access exercise and social activities which they may otherwise not have the chance to take part in.
The programme hosts four holiday camps throughout the year to ensure that young people have an outlet during the school holidays and a healthy meal is provided to each young person who attends – with more than 26,000 healthy meals provided in the last four years.
The project runs in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, St Mirren Football Club, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Engage Renfrewshire.
St Mirren FC Chairman Gordon Scott said: “Street Stuff is a great conduit to enable the club to foster stronger links with the community and the young people within it.
“The programme has massive health and social benefits and, as the programme hits the ten-year milestone, I think the number of both local and national awards it has received speaks for itself, in terms of both its success and the efforts of those who take part and run it.”
Malcolm Gillies is the longest-serving Street Stuff coach having been part of the programme for more than 10 years and he considers joining the programme as one of the best decisions he ever made.
Malcolm said: “Street Stuff brings young people into a safe environment, gives them a sense of responsibility and plays a big part in their childhood.
“It’s a place where they can get advice, talk about anything and provides an environment where they are not judged and can be themselves completely.
“There are many examples of kids enjoying the programme, getting to do some tasks and then becoming members of staff, and it’s an honour being part of such an amazing programme.”
The programme encourages and supports young people who attend to become volunteers and coaches and almost 80% of volunteers are former participants of the programme.
Stephen Gallacher, Street Stuff Manager, said: “The volunteers and staff take immense pride in the success of the programme and the difference being made to the lives of young people in Renfrewshire.
“We are actively working to engage with young people, ensure they have positive activities to take part in and aim to guide them into positive destinations which they may otherwise not be able to achieve.
“I’m delighted to see the number of attendees who go from taking part in the activities to helping to deliver them to the next generation of young people and we’ll continue to give young people the skills and experience they need for the future.”
The programme has been a firm feature in Renfrewshire for a decade and has contributed to the delivery of a sustained 65% reduction in reported youth disorder and anti-social behaviour.
Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We’re extremely proud of our Street Stuff programme and the success it has achieved since it was introduced in 2009.
“The sustained reduction in anti-social behaviour makes a real, tangible difference to our communities and we are seeing young people actively seeking out the activities Street Stuff provides.
“The success of the programme is down to the fantastic staff who run it, the wonderful coaches and volunteers who give their time every week, but also to the young people who have embraced it.
“Street Stuff gives young people access to facilities and experiences within local communities they may otherwise not be able to access and we’re committed providing opportunities for everyone within Renfrewshire, regardless of their background.”
The success of the programme was recognised with more than 20 awards, including three high-profile awards in 2017 at the COSLA Excellence Awards, ROCCO Business Awards and Scottish Public Sector Awards.
For more information on Street Stuff and how to get involved, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/streetstuff or follow the team on Twitter @SMFCStreetStuff.