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West Lothian Youth Foundation

West Lothian Youth Foundation’s key purpose is to use football as an activity to promote the educational and health development of members of the West Lothian Community with particular emphasis on targeting those who are typically less engaged with these activities and may be failing to achieve their full potential.

In addition, the Foundation encourage access to a healthy sporting activity at a level suitable for the participant with the opportunity to progress in a systematic manner, whether this be rediscovering the fun in active play, helping to develop stronger boys and girl’s teams across the County or building a stronger professional football club in West Lothian.

West Lothian Youth Foundation (WLYF) is a charitable organisation and we are registered with The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) along with being a Company Limited by Guarantee registered with Companies House.

West Lothian Youth Foundation along with our key founding partners, West Lothian Council, Scottish FA, Xcite West Lothian Leisure, Livingston FC and West Lothian College work towards set objectives which allow the organisations shared common goals to be achieved.

The Formation of the Foundation

In 2011 a Football Development Partners Meeting was called to discuss and create a shared vision for Football in West Lothian.

The partners in question were the Scottish FA, West Lothian Council, Livingston FC and West Lothian Leisure. All four partners wanted to achieve a number of key objectives including:

  • Mass Participation
  • Successful team in the SPL – entertaining football creating more local fans
  • Better facilities in West Lothian
  • Better players in West Lothian
  • Strong Grassroots Clubs
  • More Funding
  • Joint Partnership working
  • Maximising existing resources
  • Structure to support Development
  • More educated coaches

Each partner detailed exactly what contribution they were making to the development of football in West Lothian. This produced a combination of staffing resources, footballing activities ranging from curriculum and extra curriculum initiatives, coach education courses, elite performance and facility management.

The report highlighted the progression that had been made in West Lothian in regards to a “joined up” approach on delivery and development.

football dev diagram

The last section of the diagram clearly highlights that there was desire to have a collaborative and joined up approach to the development of football in West Lothian, however there was still some uncertainty linked to whether this was happening or could be achieved.

The report was completed with this final question:

Is it possible to integrate the programme (not inc. WLL) under the Foundation and streamline the staffing structures to create a dynamic and sustainable Grassroots Football Programme in West Lothian?

The question became reality as in January 2012 a charitable organisation called Livingston Youth Foundation was formed. The organisation became a collaboration of West Lothian Council, Livingston Football Club, Scottish FA and Xcite (West Lothian Leisure). An additional founding partner in West Lothian College completed the five key bodies to form the Foundation.

In addition to the five key partners, West Lothian Association of Youth Football Clubs (WLAYFC) and West Lothian Soccer Development Association (WLSDA) were invited to join the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Collectively, all seven partners would guide the direction of and have ultimate responsibility for the organisation. The seven partners shared the following common goal:

“To use football as an activity to promote the educational and health development of members of the West Lothian Community who are typically less engaged with these activities and may be failing to achieve their full potential. In addition, the partnership aims to encourage access to healthy sporting activity at a level suitable for the participant with the opportunity to progress in a systematic manner. Whether it’s the early desire to play the game, learn about the game, develop as a player, prepare for competition and finally prepare to win, the Foundation will be there to guide them through it all.”

Livingston Youth Foundation would become the umbrella organisation that would deliver youth football activities within West Lothian. To allow this to happen three of the seven bodies in the programme would become the main delivery partners. They would work towards set objectives which would allow the shared common goal to be achieved.

These shared common goals directly feed into the key aims of the Foundation:

  • Engaging Communities
  • Supporting Grassroots Football
  • Developing Elite Performers
  • Undertaking Charitable Activities

Engaging Communities

Objective: To promote the health benefits of sport, particularly football by setting up and maintaining Community Football Centres to provide safe, fun and stimulating activities accessible to boys and girls from age 3 and upwards, irrespective of ability.

Supporting Grassroots Football

Objective: To increase the number of boys and girls playing football by supporting the existing Community Football Clubs established in the West Lothian Communities and strengthen those links with Livingston Football Club, West Lothian Soccer Development Association (WLSDA) and West Lothian Association of Youth Football Clubs (WLAFC)

Developing the Elite Player

Objective: To develop boys and girl’s elite football through support to the development of the existing four Livingston FC Youth Teams and building relationships and mutual opportunities for talented young footballers with the other local teams in West Lothian

Charitable Activities

Objective: To undertake and promote Fundraising initiatives which will enable investment in the activities of the Foundation and contribute to selected local charities.

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Moving Forward

The Foundation have made great strides since the initial proposition and conception of the organisation which has provided a strong foothold for the organisation.

It was essential that the Foundation continued to work towards the founding partner’s common goals to ensure the longevity of the organisation but also increase the meaningful impact the organisation had on the community of West Lothian.

To galvanise this meaningful impact, the organisation decided to change its name from Livingston Youth Foundation to West Lothian Youth Foundation (WLYF).

There were a number of reasons for the name change; the Foundation operates right across the county delivering a vast number of programmes from our Primary School Futsal Programme, our very successful reminiscence initiative plus many more, therefore it made sense to change from just Livingston to West Lothian.  It allows the organisation to progress as a charity, expand across the county, attract new participants and roll out new programmes without being limited to one town.

The new name also allowed the organisation to continue and increase our support of clubs and grass roots football right across West Lothian and create more opportunities to engage with various parts of the community.

The structure of the charity remained the same, all current board members, management and coaching staff continued as normal.

The common goals that have been intrinsic to the Foundation since its formation in 2012 remain the same however the way they are achieved is slightly different.

The Foundations key aims combined with the ‘Football for Development’ plan.

The Foundation along with its key partners created a ‘Football for Development Plan’ which strengthens the overall provision of football activities throughout the county, demonstrates how the Foundation and its key partners will ensure the delivery programmes are co-ordinated, continue to complement each other and obtain the same level of quality.

The five key delivery pillars which are strongly linked to the national governing bodies (Scottish FA) ‘A Vibrant Game for All’:

  • Participation – A Game for All
  • Education – A Skilled Coaching and Volunteer Workforce
  • Stronger Clubs – Vibrant, Sustainable Clubs
  • Attractive Game – Culture, Pathway & Facilities
  • Football for Development – Community Engagement

Within each pillar, the delivery partners will have different roles and responsibilities which combine together to achieve the Foundation and partner’s common goals.

More information about each of the ‘Football for Development’ plans pillars can be found on the main menu.