Strathclyde Fire & Rescue has received widespread praise and recognition for its work with young people. A range of projects develop skills, confidence and self-respect, reducing the risk of anti-social behaviour against firefighters.

Today SFR launched a new youth initiative in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Football Development involving 10 firefighters who will spend part of their off-duty time as football coaches in one of their 36 primary schools. The firefighters include Ally McMurdo, based at Bishopbriggs Community Fire Station, who is pictured with his son Lewis, Sophie Sweeney and Andrew Cook.

The project is being run in partnership with the East Dunbartonshire Council Partnership, which provided £11,850 in funding, and the Scottish Football Association

The firefighters have volunteered to receive Scottish FA Coach Education at Levels 1 and 2. They will then use this qualification to carry out three ten-week blocks of football training with pupils with training taking place during school hours. The programme will culminate in a football tournament and festival at the end of the 30 week period.

Group Commander Danny Doherty, Head of Community Safety in SFR's East & West Dunbartonshire area, said: "The key aim of the initiative is to familiarise young people with ourselves in the Fire Service."

"Firefighters are excellent role models and mentors for young people. Our volunteer football coaches will present a friendly face to primary school pupils right across East Dunbartonshire and demonstrate that we are here to help them."

The launch took place at Wester Cleddens School in Bishopbriggs and was attended by Councillor Amanda Stewart, Gordon Currie, Head of Education for East Dunbartonshire Council, and the school's Head Teacher, Paul Meehan.

Councillor Stewart: "I'd like to congratulate the ten firefighter volunteers and thank them for their commitment to the children who will benefit greatly from their contact with fire officers."

The other volunteer coaches are Watch Commander Raymond Stewart, Crew Commander Stephen Elmslie and Firefighters Alan Canning, William Johnston and Alexander Lochhead, all based at Bishopbriggs Community Fire Station; Firefighter Alan Scott, based at Kirkintilloch Community Fire Station; Firefighter Glen McCreadie, based at Milngavie Community Fire Station; and Firefighters Ian Quinn and Scott Carson based at Clydebank Community Fire Station.