A football-loving West Lothian student is aiming for results after organizing a match to help people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Michelle Black (37) from Livingston is a former prison officer and now a HNC Working with Communities student at Forth Valley College.
She recently started a course placement with Forth Valley Recovery and realized she wanted to take on a new approach to her graded unit project.
Having had great experience of working with vulnerable people and realizing many of them had a similar love of football, she decided that developing a football training and match day would be the ideal way to improve confidence and inspire people in recovery and raise awareness of two great organizations at the same time.
Michelle proposed that a team of people involved with Forth Valley Recovery could take on a team from Forth Valley College’s and the Falkirk Foundation’s Center Forward program – which is designed to help young people (aged between 16-24) with learning disabilities achieve their aspirations, develop existing skills and improve confidence through using sport and physical activity to deliver positive life changes – for a collaborative training day and game at the Falkirk FC Stadium.
Michelle, who has coached girls’ football since 2015, said she has always wanted to make a difference in the communities she lives and works in.
She said: “I quickly realized that the people I am working with on placement all have a love of football and I thought it would be good to incorporate this into an event which could improve their confidence and activity levels and help their physical and mental wellbeing. at the same time.
“I found out about the excellent Center Forward project through the college and thought it would be great if we could organize a mixed football training and game day at the stadium and I set about organizing it with the help of my lecturers Ruth Davis and Stewart Ritchie and FVC Workplace Coordinator Charlene Bissett – so a big thank you to them.
“I also want to thank Kendall McGuigan for introducing me to the course and Grant Ferguson from Falkirk Foundation for agreeing to support me and helping with the event.
“It has been a great experience to get this up and running and it has grown arms and legs since the idea was proposed to help address some of the issues that are real problems in society with drugs and alcohol. It is great that we have now managed to organize a proper football training session with Falkirk players getting involved and then a mixed game at the end with Forth Valley Recovery and Center Forward interns. I am so delighted with how it has all come about and am sure it has been of some benefit to all involved.
“I am also hoping that the event could become an annual event to host before Easter and World Health and Well-being day.”
Business and Communities Lecturer Ruth Davis, said: “Michelle has worked hard organizing this event, hopefully it will help to dispel some of the stigma attached to both addictions and disabilities and it has been a valuable opportunity for inter-generational communication and collaboration through sport and fun.”
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