William Credits CashBack Programme With Getting Him On The Right Path
Thu 27th April 2023
William Gilchrist is the latest Rangers Charity Foundation CashBack for Communities – Towards New Futures success story. William, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), struggled to learn and focus in a conventional environment but thanks to the Foundation’s CashBack intensive eight week programme, he now has a new focus and more positive outlook on his future.
The Foundation’s programme aims to re-engage young people with current or past convictions and help them move towards positive destinations including working, volunteering or further education.
The programme is free and delivered within Ibrox Stadium and works in partnership with four Scottish prisons and Govan Thriving Place (as well as other referral routes) to target and support a variety of young people aged 16 – 24 from the local area and beyond.
Before starting the programme, William became disengaged at school, but he credits the CashBack programme with giving him a clearer understanding of himself.
Speaking about how he was feeling prior to starting the programme William said: “I felt like I was bored all the time and just sitting in the house playing video games. I didn’t go to school very much because I felt like I had enough qualifications and I just decided that it wasn’t for me, and after that I declined an offer at college too.”
Despite becoming disengaged William immediately found the Ibrox Study Centre to be a better place for him to learn. He said: “My school referred me to the Foundation and then I decided to go to the first CashBack session.
“I thought it was so good that I decided to keep coming along and it’s given me an opportunity to understand myself better.”
“It seemed like it would be a good environment to learn in and it’s at Ibrox which is great because I support Rangers, so it’s been really good to be able to come here so often and be in the stadium.”
William quickly settled into the course and hasn’t looked back since. He went on to say: “It was brilliant when I started coming here. The people are great, and I see a huge difference in myself and my behavior now. I’m definitely not as disruptive now after going through CashBack.”
It’s not just William who has noticed the changes, his gran, Kay, also saw a remarkable difference in him. Kay watched on as William captained the CashBack team to a victory over the Police Scotland team. Something which he was very proud of.
She said: “This course has changed William completely. Derek and the other coaches treated him as an individual and have listened to him and thought about his needs. That’s sometimes all you need with someone who has ADHD.
“I had tried to get him involved in different courses or programmes before but there was always a barrier. From day one, he has been welcomed by the Foundation staff, listened to, encouraged and has looked forward to coming.”
The Foundation’s CashBack Coordinator, Derek Rhoddan, runs the programme with assistance from Community Executive, Andy Gordon.
Speaking about the difference he can see in William, Derek said: “He has gained some valuable qualifications while working with us but he has also grown into a more mature person too which is equally important. The difference that we see in William from when he first arrived to now is night and day. His communication skills have improved massively which will help him a lot in the future.
“William feels like he has a purpose in life now which is exactly what we want give our CashBack participants.”
Williams also speaks very highly of the course delivery and Foundation staff. He said: “I really enjoyed going through it with Derek and Andy and they helped me a lot.
“What I like about the staff is that they know how to have a laugh with you but if you take it too far or are acting up then they let you know, and I really respect that. They are a lot more chilled out and down to earth which works for me.”
CashBack participants improve their physical and mental health by taking part in accredited fitness and coaching sessions and a mental health first aid course. The initiative includes a variety of formal and industry recognised vocational work experience and the development of core skills which will greatly enhance their employment prospects and CVs.
William also gained some new qualifications thanks to the CashBack programme. He said: “I’d one hundred percent recommend the course to anyone that’s thinking about joining. It gives you an opportunity to understand things and learn more about yourself, but you get qualifications out of it at the same time, which is always good. Because of that I’ve got a first aid qualification from here as well as a mental health qualification.
“CashBack will get you on the right path and it can be really helpful in terms of developing your personal skills too. You’ll meet new people and develop new relationships. This is a place where you can turn your life around so don’t waste the opportunity.”
William is currently weighing up his next steps after completing the course. He said: “I think the next part of the process for me is maybe looking at going to college. I don’t think I’m quite ready for work just yet but college can help me get there.”
While William looks ahead to his future, he credits CashBack with the significant turnaround in his behavior. He said: “I think my Gran would say the biggest improvement is the way I talk to her and interact with her. I always used to argue and shout at her but now I’m not doing that as much and I think I’ve calmed down a lot and matured quite a bit too.
“She would probably say that she’s proud of me and that she likes where I’m going with my life now. I’ve heard her say that once or twice before, but I know I need to earn that.”
CashBack for Communities is a unique Scottish Government programme which takes funds recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and invests them into community programmes, facilities and activities largely aimed at diverting young people at risk away from potentially criminal or anti-social behavior.
For more information and to get in touch about signing up for the next eight-week course click here.