Two professionals are now assisting the forum and its involvement with a £1m Government initiative to help boost essential life skills for thousands of children and young people in parts of Derby.
Andy Moore is helping the forum one day a week as secretary – the first time th forum has had a paid employee – and Rayan Summut is spending two days a week as project officer with the Essential Life Skills scheme.
Andy Moore is an experienced sports journalist, who is also media director of Derby County Ladies Football Club, and has transformed their profile into the fastest growing in the region.
Outside his journalism Andy is an experienced foster carer working for working for an independent agency and with wife Laura has looked after more than 20 children since 2011, currently looking after four youngsters. They have helped to recruit numerous foster carers into the region.
“I am delighted to join the Forum and look forward to ensuring that it continues to go from strength to strength to strength,” he said.
He will be liaising with Rayan whose work links with the Forum as it is one of the partners in a successful bid led by Derby County Community Trust which also includes Derby Cultural Education Partnership.
The money is being spent in nine wards of the city where the Department for Education thinks the youngsters are lagging behind because of higher deprivation in those areas and also city-wide for youngsters with disabilities.
The idea is to boost their social and communications skills, including teamwork, so that they have better chances of success when they leave school and enter the world of work or higher education.
This is being done through a series of projects involving sport, music, dance, culture and the arts to get them to broaden their horizons. Various bodies, including charities, have come together to use their skills and experience to offer activities which the youngsters will have decide on.
The project has already been launched through a series of roadshows with performers and artists joining activities including sports and art workshops.
Many of the other partners, unlike the forum, have paid staff who can devote time to organising the projects, so in recognition of this funding has been approved for the two part-time officers.
Rayan, who currently works part-time for British Orienteering at Tansley, Matlock, has qualifications from Malta and Hungary as well as a masters degree in sport science from Loughborough University.
She has worked in Malta as well as this country in a number of positions in education and gymnastics involving young people and for five years was England coaching manager for British Canoeing delivering a coaching strategy and managing a programme of events.
She recently returned to the UK after a career break in France where she did voluntary roles connected with sport and is keen to use her various experiences to help develop sport in the community.
Forum chair Ian Cotter said: “We are pleased to have two experienced people helping the forum and the project across the city encouraging youngsters to get involved in sport and boost their essential life skills”