Renfrewshire Council

Allan McManus, St Mirren Academy Director and former Street Stuff coach

Allan McManus - St Mirren Academy Director How did you get involved in Street Stuff?

"Approximately 10 years ago, my contract had ended at my then football team and I hadn't agreed to go to another club.

"Technically I was out of work and wanted to keep earning whilst doing something that would interest me, so when I was given the opportunity to come on board at Street Stuff I was delighted as it involved some football coaching whilst engaging with some of the local young community in some of the toughest parts of Renfrewshire. I worked for about 6 to 8 weeks, 6 nights a week, in various locations across Renfrewshire."

How important is the programme for young people?

"Street stuff is vitally important in the community. Engaging with young people from many backgrounds and giving them access to various sports and leisure facilities that they may not otherwise get access to, whilst also educating them on social issues such as drink drugs, gang fighting knife crime, can make such a difference to their lives."

What makes the Street Stuff so successful?

"The programme helped me realise the importance that sport can play in developing young people.

"Personally, it was great to learn the importance of helping young people develop and grow as young human beings and helping them to understand that wherever you are in life there is a big world out there and you can achieve anything you want with hard work and resilience."

How important is sport and exercise for young people?

"Every young person should be given access to sport and, in my opinion, every school should place a greater importance in this area within the education system.

"It gives young people an opportunity to develop many different social skills, interact with new people, improving their fitness levels and self-confidence.

"It makes young people more confident in themselves, gives them a sense of achievement, opportunity to improve and compete at something should they really enjoy it. It gives focus, discipline and a purpose."

What your favourite part of the programme?

"A very simple question to answer for me. Watching young people develop and thrive as young human beings, watching peoples outlook in life change and watch their confidence grow and realise that they can achieve what they want. "

How has Street Stuff helped you?

"Realising that you can actually make a difference to some of the young people that you engage with that is something that always stays with you.

"Working with some of the coaches at that time was fantastic, a really enjoyable experience, and some of them have since went on to achieve a lot and work in different walks of life since then."

You've gone on to become St Mirren's Academy Director, what would you say to young coaches in Street Stuff at the moment?

"I would say the same to any person at any stage in their life. There is nothing you cannot achieve in life if you work hard, deal with setbacks on the way and get back up every time you get knocked down."

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