Pupils take the lead in youth initiative

Charline Joiner with some of the young people who took part.
Charline Joiner with some of the young people who took part.

SCHOOL pupils and students from across Fife, Perthshire and Tayside gathered at St Andrews University to take part in the innovative LEAD 2014 youth leadership and volunteering campaign as part of the build-up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The initiative was designed to inspire the 100 young people from 17 secondary schools and students from the town’s university to use sport as the springboard to hone and develop their leadership skills, and to provide an opportunity for young people across the region to engage with the Games.

The programme - a partnership between sportscotland, Youth Sport Trust and Glasgow 2014 – will be rolled out across three other Scottish universities over the coming weeks.

The secondary youngsters were mentored by university student volunteers in how to plan, organise and manage a Commonwealth Games themed sports festival with the aim that they will take their new skills and knowledge back to their communities to organise a sports festival for local primary schools.

A special guest at St Andrews was Commonwealth silver medal winning cyclist and Glasgow 2014 hopeful, Dunfermline-born Charline Joiner.

She participated in the opening ceremony and spoke to the future young leaders about her experiences competing in the Commonwealth Games and winning cycling silver in the Team Sprint at Delhi 2010, and also got involved in several of the group activities through the day.

Louise Martin, chair of sportscotland, said: ”It has never been so crucial to engage young people in sport with major home Games on the horizon, and Lead 2014 can create a legacy of young people from across Fife, Perthshire and Tayside enthused about volunteering and the benefits it can bring to their lives.”

Gary Brankin, sports development manager at St Andrews University, added: ”Lead 2014 is a fantastic opportunity, not only for the school children who attend, but also the university students who deliver the conference.

‘‘The schoolchildren benefit by being taught by university students of a similar age and the students get to learn and develop transferrable skills that they can use throughout university and in later life.”