Supported by the UEFA Foundation, a community project in Scotland is providing opportunities for disadvantaged children to access free football training, education and over 5,000 healthy meals.
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As nations across Europe continue to battle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, one UEFA Foundation for Children-supported community project in Scotland is making a major difference for vulnerable children.
GoFitba was one of the UEFA Foundation’s newly funded projects for 2020, its aims to invest in vulnerable primary schoolchildren living in poverty across deprived areas of Scotland, maximising their future prospects for health and well-being by providing free-to-access fun football activities, health education and hot, healthy meals.
The programme was scheduled to run from January until the end of March, but having had to halt activity due to the pandemic, has now been able to restart in some areas and offer a safe, enjoyable environment to learn and play sport for children in need, with the added benefit of a hot, healthy meal at the end of the session.
The project also promotes integration, social inclusion and community development, with parents and carers invited to participate in the final week of the programme.
GoFitba is a 12-week football-based health and well-being project for disadvantaged primary school children across Scotland, organised through partner community clubs.
Of the 15 original programmes, four have restarted in recent weeks to help tackle the on-going problem of child poverty and hunger during school holidays.
Children are taught the benefits of regular physical activity within a football environment, with each session providing an hour of exercise, supplemented by an educational element on healthy lifestyles through diet and nutrition.
The final component of each session sees children served a hot, healthy meal, ensuring they are fed outside school hours, helping to tackle food poverty.
Happier and healthier
So far, GoFitba has provided positive experiences for 400 disadvantaged children across Scotland, with almost 10,000 hours of football activity and health education delivered.
Participating children have also received more than 5,000 hot and healthy meals, helping them become happier, healthier and more engaged.
They have also benefited from the use of an interactive GoFitba learning journal and the confidence that comes from working and playing in groups.
GoFitba is one of 42 new UEFA Foundation projects for 2020.
Since it was established in 2015, the UEFA Foundation has supported 250 projects in 100 countries, helping improve the lives of more than one million children all over the world.
The UEFA Foundation will announce their supported projects for 2021 at the end of November 2020.