The Denis Law Legacy Trust, established in 2012, received their third grant from the David Doig Foundation in December 2020. The Denis Law Legacy Trust works with young people aged 8-25 across Aberdeen to enable them to develop skills and qualities that will allow them to be confident, capable, independent, responsible, and healthy citizens.
The grant was made to support the expansion of their Street Sport programme in response to the pandemic. The programme was started in 2006 and has been very successful, running 5 nights a week across 30 locations across Aberdeen prior to the pandemic. Each session lasts for a two-hour period and includes activities such as tennis, dance, multi-sport and games. The sessions run in all weathers. As a direct result of the work, levels of youth-related annoyance, complaints, youth crime, anti-social behavior and arson are at an all-time low, having reduced by 75%, according to Police Scotland figures. The programme also aims to tackle local issues of poverty and disadvantage - parts of Aberdeen feature in the top 20% of disadvantaged communities in Scotland, so the organisation aims to tackle the impact of poverty on local families. They do this by providing free activities for young people to learn new skills, supporting their personal and social development, developing positive nurturing relationships with trusted adults, and encouraging older participants of the Street Sport programme to become young volunteers, developing leadership skills and supporting their employability.
The grant enabled the Trust to employ a new member of staff on the programme to offer 2 additional sessions a week in disadvantaged areas of Aberdeen, supporting around 100 additional young people through 2021. During 2020, many young people have been spending increased amounts of time indoors and inactive. Expanding the existing Street Sport programme is a great opportunity for the Denis Law Legacy Trust to engage these increasingly isolated young people to promote the benefits of exercise, team sports, and being outdoors. At the end of 2020, they were able to run four sessions per week, and were attracting around 300 young people aged 8-18 years to take part, with an average of 70-80 per session. The most popular sessions were in the Northfield, one of the most disadvantaged communities in Aberdeen, which saw some 120 young people, attend every week, supported by at least six members of staff and six volunteers. They have identified high levels of need and a lack of other options for young people, so are keen to expand this work in this area and across the city.