SPONSORED: Dundee football creating a force for good

Two Dundonians have told of the common ingredient supporting their positive lifestyles – football.

DFC In The Community Trust and Dundee United Community Trust, both projects that have been supported by The National Lottery, have given a timely reminder of football’s ability to have a meaningful impact on the lives of locals.

Owen McCartney, 15, is a beneficiary of the work of DFC In The Community Trust, the charitable trust connected to Dundee Football Club.

One of 22 school-age participants in the trust’s Dees Without Frontiers personal development programme, Owen has made huge strides in his home and school life since joining the project, progress noted by his family and friends as well as the club and trust.

Owen said: “It’s really good being involved with Dees Without Frontiers because you’ve got people there to support you and help you through stuff and if you feel down you can speak to them.

“During the course, we did things like making our own CV which helps you get a job and get into college. It’s given me a better idea of what I want to do. My aim is to try to get an A or a B in PE, go to college and do sport and recreation or sports coaching. I now know you need to work hard and be determined to achieve your goals.

“I want to volunteer in sport or just around the community. I’d say to people if you ever get the chance to become involved with the community trust you should as it will help you.”

At the same time, just 100 yards along the road, 60-year-old Derek Brough has rediscovered his zest for playing football after joining Dundee United Community Trust’s Walking Football sessions, part of a wider Walking Sports Club with 40 participants across football and netball.

He said: “I always thought I was fit but when I went to walking football I realised just how out of shape I was. I was quite shocked. But the more you play, the fitter you get – it’s been good fun.

“It’s good to see people from different backgrounds, age groups and sexes all getting involved. Our sessions are mixed and we’re quite happy to see anybody come along and be involved – as long as they get enjoyment from it and helps them lead a healthier lifestyle then it’s great.

“For us, the main thing about the community trust is people going along and having a positive impact on the game of football and if we’ve helped promote that through the trust then it’s good for everybody.”

The Dees Without Frontiers project benefitted from £8,815 of National Lottery funding in June 2018, enabling the trust to equip young people with clothing for exercise, equipment for e-learning and host teambuilding days across the city.

Lewis Melee, Community Trust Manager for DFC In The Community Trust, said: “We’re really pleased that Owen put himself forward for the course, he has made huge strides with his confidence and in his school life.

“One profound memory was during the end of a group session when we asked everyone to take turns to say what they’d got out of it. One participant, who struggled to engage at all at the start of it, came forward and told us that it was the first time he’d been part of a group and that he loved us all. It was incredibly powerful, it makes all the work worthwhile.”

At Dundee United Community Trust, £6,700 of National Lottery funding was awarded to allow the trust to raise awareness of the opportunities on offer through the provision of free taster sessions for men and women over 50 years of age.

Jamie Kirk, Head of Operations at Dundee United Community Trust, said: “Everyone at the trust and club is delighted that Derek and more than 40 others are enjoying such positive experiences through our regular walking football and walking netball sessions.

“The funding received was instrumental in helping us launch this activity and enabling so many members of the community to enjoy significant health benefits as a result.”

To find out more about National Lottery Good Causes visit the Good Causes website or follow #ThanksTayYou on social media.

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