The Firhill Youth Project and Community Sports Hub is a rowing and water sports activity hub that aims to positively impact lives in the North Glasgow community. We are based in one of the most deprived areas of Scotland, where there is limited provision for any sports or physical activity for young people. We understand the necessity for young people to have meaningful opportunities to become active and stay active within their local community, and it is our mission to help break down the barriers that currently hinder their participation.
We operate out of a series of containers at the Firhill Basin, beside the Partick Thistle Football Stadium, where we provide local young people aged 11-25 with free, accessible, and sustainable opportunities to become active and stay active in their local community through rowing. Since our inception in June 2019, we have helped over 175 local young people to enjoy, access, and utilise their local waterway, the Forth and Clyde Canal, and surrounding green spaces including the Hamiltonhill Claypits Local Nature Reserve. Utilising rowing as a catalyst, our approach, which is based on a Positive Youth Development Framework, is geared towards the provision of positive sport experiences. These experiences are integral for promoting and sustaining youths’ participation in sport and physical activity. By adopting this approach, we aim to contribute towards better physical and mental health, increased self-confidence, connectedness, and positive skill development. This enables our participants to feel better equipped to positively progress in life and in a way that is meaningful and relevant to them.
We currently have 8 stable single sculls, and 5 Concept2 rowing machines which we use to offer free activity to local young people and currently run 8 free Rowing sessions per week with 6 local young people participating each time. Furthermore, the hub has fostered excellent working partnerships with over 20 local organisations, including local schools and youth groups, who are provided with free and progressive opportunities for their young people to row throughout the full year (e.g., Let’s Row our 6-week free Rowing course). Following completion of these outreach sessions, local young people are provided with the opportunity to transition into the hubs ‘core’ participant group to help sustain their ongoing engagement in Rowing.
The hubs success is based on a strong foundation of volunteer support and community capacity building. Since our formation in June 2019, we have been able to train and upskill over 12 local volunteer coaches, who have been instrumental in helping us provide local young people with free and meaningful rowing activity within their local community. Our volunteer team are an inspiring, talented, and diverse group of individuals, who have so far, been able to develop a vast range of different competencies, skills, and experience. Looking towards the future, we envision a stronger community, in which people feel safe, connected, and are afforded with the best possible life chances. We aim to contribute towards this by supporting other local individuals to prosper both hub volunteers, and in other aspects of their lives.
Our project is currently supported by Scottish Rowing, Glasgow Life (the local authority), Partick Thistle Football Club, and Glasgow Kayak Club, who provide additional opportunities for local young people to participate in canoeing and kayaking activity. Furthermore, the hub has attracted a wide range of support and funding from external partners including the National Lottery Community Fund, the Rowing Foundation, Made by Sport, and most recently, the Gemini Boat Race Bursary Fund, which has enabled our project to double the amount of free activity we can offer for local young people up until the 31st of March 2022. This funding will be vital in helping us work towards a more sustainable future in which more local young people are afforded with free opportunities to row. We are already aware of the valuable impact we have had in our local community, and we will continue to inspire through the provision of positive sport experiences.
If you would like to find out more or express an interest to become a hub volunteer and support the project please contact our Project Coordinator Amiee Williams | firstname.lastname@example.org