Scotland Women’s National Team players Lee Alexander and Leanne Crichton were among the guests at Hampden Park this week to celebrate the first year of Girls-only Schools of Football.

There are 12 Girls-Only Schools of Football across Scotland, two in each of the six Scottish FA regions, funded by the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities programme.

Cashback for Communities is funded by the government through the recovered proceeds of crime. It targets people aged between 10 and 24 who are socially disadvantaged from living in areas of deprivation, or being unemployed and not in training or education, being at risk of being involved in antisocial behaviour and offending/re-offending.

The School of Football programme is aimed at developing the social and academic skills of young people during their first two years of high school.

Pupils are offered regular football coaching from an accredited Scottish FA coach in order to develop skills in a football environment that are transferable to school work and social situations.

The event welcomed nearly 100 girls from Schools of Football across Scotland to Hampden Park on Monday, 14 May, where they were treated to a tour of the famous stadium and the Scottish Football Museum and participated in small-sided games of football at Lesser Hampden.

Donald Gillies, Scottish FA Head of Girls’ and Women’s Football: “This project has been ongoing with girls involved in some capacity since 2008, however to now have 12 Girls-only Schools of Football operating across the country working to support young females in developing their love of the game, their self-confidence, attendance at school and many more positive outcomes that will help them in their lives, is wonderful.

“It was particularly great to see the groups interacting with one another and sharing their experience in the project.

Whether they were at clubs or only involved in school football, they all seemed to share the common love of the sport and physical activity and at this key age for girls it was fantastic to see.”

Gary Macdonald, Scottish FA Community Projects Officer: “The first year of this CashBack for Communities project specifically designed to support the development of young girls within the school environment has been a huge success and we’ve seen that in a number of areas.

Most notably, a number of the young players are reporting an increase in their confidence and social skills as part of the programme, which is great. Today has been a celebration of that work and another great experience for the girls – to come to the national stadium and experience it first-hand will hopefully leave a lifelong impression on these girls.”