East Lothian Clubs take another step to remove barriers in getting involved in sport
East Lothian’s Community Sport Hubs in Partnership with Support from the Start and Care Free Kids have announced the extension of the Support from the Start children’s bursary to all ages of children and include free places in all Community Sport Hub clubs.
Previously limited to the early years (8 years and below) the support shown by the members of the Community Sports Hubs in East Lothian means we are now able to extend the Bursary Scheme to all age groups which will give all young members of our communities access to sport irrelevant of their personal circumstances.
Paul MacGregor, Chair of Tranent and District Community Sports Club said
'I am delighted to endorse the Support from the Bursary scheme and hope all East Lothian clubs will sign up to it. We need to remove barriers to participation wherever we can – participation in sport changes lives for the better.'
The Bursary scheme offers free places in community clubs for those who might be excluded because of poverty to ensure that cost is not a barrier to young people getting fit and active in East Lothian's many sports clubs. A child's early experiences are crucial to their development. This includes the opportunities for varied experiences and challenges out with the family home. Access to cultural, recreational and sporting opportunities help children build the social, emotional and physical skills that support development throughout life.
Bengy Barsanti, Development Officer for East Lothain's Community Sport Hubs said
‘Local East Lothian sports clubs are working hard to support inclusion at all levels including involvement in the East Lothian Equality and Inclusion Charter. Being part of the bursary scheme will build on that offer for their communities. Sadly child poverty is a real issue in our communities and it’s important we all play our part in addressing that where we can. All sports clubs, not all ready signed up, should consider taking up this opportunity to overcome economic barriers to participation for children.’
Steven Wray, Public Health Practitioner giving some more information about the scheme added
‘Any health, social care or education professional can refer a child for a bursary if they feel that the child is missing out as a result of money problems within the family. Sometimes professionals shy away from asking families if they need help because of the stigma around poverty. However, with the number of children classed as living in poverty rising this is something we just need to get better at doing.’
Parents must be in receipt of family tax credits with an annual income below £16,105 and referred by either their Health Visitor, Social Worker, Head teacher or Community Development Officer or a related professional, for consideration.
Paula Edmond, manager of Care Free kids, which administers the Support from the Start bursary scheme, welcomes the support shown by local sports clubs. Paula said
‘The bursary scheme has already being able to help a lot of families in East Lothian, and we look forward to the additional opportunities this will provide to support children’s development. Care Free kids administering the bursary means we can help sports clubs to support individual children in their communities by linking with the professional who are making the referral. Hopefully this will help the clubs as well as the children involved.’
If you think the scheme could help you or a family member please contact your health, social care or educational professional who will be able to refer you directly.