Dundee FC launch new academy to tackle sport inequality

The new social enterprise aims to break down barriers for children and young people with football potential.

Dundee Football Club have launched a new academy to help tackle inequality in the sport.

Dundee FC have launched The Dundee Academy CIC, a new social enterprise aiming to break down barriers for children and young people with football potential to enter the Football Pathway and progress to their highest level.

The main difference between people who play sport in Scotland in the 21st century and those who don’t lies in levels of deprivation, according to new research commissioned by the Observatory of Sport in Scotland (OSS).

Desire, attitude, levels of commitment or even social media and technology are not the main reasons for sport declining in many parts of Scotland – family income is.

That is among the stark conclusions in the report ‘Sport and Social Inequality’, highlighting clear links between falling numbers of sport across the ages in Scotland and levels of deprivation and education.

Jamie McBrearty the Academy Director said: “It’s a really exciting opportunity for our city because we use the principle of sports development to help young people to gain a range of transferable skills and football is one vehicle way of doing that.

“That could be to become a professional sports person but the transferable skills to create a business to move to other destinations, could be a scholarship in America could be further and higher education, but we want to equip our young people to have the best start in life.”

The 2020 Social Index of Multiple Deprivation reported that 10,506 children (aged 0-15 years) live within the 20% most deprived data zones, this accounts for 43.8% of children in that age group in Dundee City overall.

Recent Active Schools research also highlights that only 20% of children and young people coming from SIMD 1 & 2 meet the recommended levels of physical activity, and less than 10% are involved in performance sport.

The Dundee Academy CIC will deliver the following programmes:

1. Delivery of a World Class Player Development Programme

2. Delivery of a World Class Coach Education, Leadership & Development Programme

3. The Academy Corporate Training and Consultancy Programme

4. Delivery of Community-Based Performance Programmes targeting children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds

5. Research and Development

The launch was formally opened by Lord Provost Bill Campbell and Tony Docherty, Dundee FC Manager, Kirsty Thompson, CEO of The Circle, Academy Director, Jamie McBrearty addressed the audience.

Former academy player Josh Mulligan, who now plays for the first team said: “Dundee wasn’t as privileged I’d say as other academies, but I think the people and the coaches were really good. They have made – not just me, but other boys who are in the first team now – they have really brought them on.

“They’re making not just good players but good people as well.”

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