Street League Renfrewshire recently received a visit from local MP Gavin Newlands.

The Scottish National Party MP was on hand to answer questions and gain an insight into how the unique sport for employability charity changes the lives of unemployed young people in the area and throughout the UK.

Current and former Street League participants, along with Riverside Show presenter Colin Stone, took part in a bubble football event at On-X Sports Centre in Linwood. With local businesses watching on too, including Vision Outsourcing, the hope is to secure more employment opportunities for Street League participants in the area.

Organiser and youth and community coach Scott Black said: "We have a local employer coming along from Vision Outsourcing, who are taking on a young person on a work placement - if they do well they might be kept on."

With young people in Linwood in need of some guidance and support, Scott feels Street League is the perfect organisation to help give them that. He said: "Street League base themselves in deprived areas - Linwood is socially deprived with high youth unemployment rates. We find these areas, find what the issues are and decide what we can do."

He continued: "You see young people growing from when they come down on the first day not knowing anyone, to the end of the programme when they really apply themselves. It's like night and day. I'm a massive believer that football is more than just a sport." 

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Alongside achieving SQA qualifications and leadership awards, the Renfrewshire Academy work closely with other organisations like anti-sectarian charity Nil By Mouth and Medics Against Violence, among others. Scott feels youngsters need to be educated on issues that occur all around them. He said: "We're opening the eyes of young people to social issues across the board. While I haven't seen it in my time here, gangs can be a big issue. One of the big barriers is that young people in need don't know who to speak to."

With plans in motion to expand Street League across Scotland, Operations Manager Chris Caldwell sees the sport for employability charity as a much needed chance for the unemployed youth across the UK. He said: "A lot of young people are lacking experience and the opportunity to find work and sometimes don't have any qualifications. So, without Street League, they wouldn't have anything else."

Chris added: "They might not be ready for work but we help them build confidence, give them the skills, qualifications and experience with the help of employers. Obviously we want to try and help every young person we can. In the next year we'd like to get 100 or more young people engaged in an apprenticeship and through our partners get as many young people into employment as possible."