Street Soccer’s Street45 programme has been engaging women across Scotland in a number of different ways, we spoke to Kirsteen Marshall of New Rhythms for Glasgow, who has been working in partnership with the programme for the past two years.
Kirsteen was first introduced to Sarah through networking at a local recovery community group and has maintained a strong relationship ever since.
“Sarah and I had got in touch through North West recovery community and I offered to deliver our Recovery Rhythms sessions (a dance-based workout). We had some mutual friends and it made a lot of sense. Street Soccer were able to offer a facility and we could help recruit women who we thought it would benefit.”
New Rhythms have a lot of experience of supporting participants through their recovery journey and Kirsteen knew that the collaboration with Street Soccer was going to be a success, with a majority of the organisations work delivered through a strong partnership model.
“Our programmes are tailored towards benefitting those with mental health issues, people in recovery, those with physical and learning disabilities and people living in poverty, and all of this is done through art, music and dance.
By getting the Street Soccer players in to our programme, we are able to support them in a similar approach to how Street Soccer may, its all about just linking everything together to ensure they are getting the best support they can, networking with places that Street Soccer may not have been aware of and share best practice between ourselves. The ladies that we engage with through Street Soccer can often be fresh out of rehab, and we don’t have that privilege of working alongside women in very early recovery. So, we take great pride in building these positive relationships.”
With their own base in Sighthill in Glasgow, Kirsteen has been across the country with Street Soccer, having lead Recovery Rhythms sessions in Powerleague Glasgow and the Change Centre in Dundee.
Street Soccer’s Street45 programme is structured for 45 minutes of physical exercise and 45 minutes of personal development, so this means that the focus is rarely on just football. Women’s programme coordinator, Sarah Rhind, is an open-book when it comes to weekly activities with boxercise, badminton and other sports seen at sessions, as well as Recovery Rhythms sessions with Kirsteen.
Kirsteen acknowledges that it can be a hard-sell to get many of the players to get up and dance, but has a strong belief in how beneficial it can be for people of all ages.
“It can often be difficult to get everyone involved in dance-based workouts. We know that we have to break through the barrier of our own egos, and we find that once they’re in the door, by week three they are wearing lycra and you can’t get them off the stage!
With dance, you need to let go of your ego. Especially at Street Soccer, when you are in an outdoor environment and in front of men, that can be tough for some. There is that initial reluctance but by leading it together and doing it in a way where you just don’t care what you look like, is really helpful. Our programme helps people live outside their ego and let the women try something that they wouldn’t have dared try before.”
Feedback we receive from the Recovery Rhythms sessions is that it is always a great laugh as well as a tough workout, so by combining the two, the partnership has been one of the key highlights of the Street45 programme.
Kirsteen reflects on her own lived experience and how that helps build positive relationships with Street Soccer players, allowing them to feel more comfortable at sessions.
“Most of the time, when you are in addiction, you worry what people think, you live in so much shame. It definitely manifests in everyday things, some people even struggle to walk down the street because of it. So, having the chance to take part in something where this isn’t an issue can definitely have a positive lasting effect. Using dance as a means to step outside yourself, focusing on the music, focusing on your body – it really helps people break that ego-centric barrier.
I have worked closely with Sarah over the past two years, she’s become one of my closest friends. We speak almost every day and she has helped me on my own recovery journey and I hope I’ve helped her. We’ve got a beautiful relationship, we’ve never had any issues. It makes the partnership so strong and when you are in a programme such as we are then you need to be open and honest and I know I’ll always get that from Sarah.
The main thing that Sarah and I share is a huge passion and desire to help as many women as we can, and that’s at the very core of what we do.”
The beauty of our partnership programmes at Street Soccer is often the transparency of them all, which breed genuine friendships. Kirsteen and Sarah would both like to see more people get involved with Recovery Rhythms in the near future.
“The one thing I’d like to see in the future is possibly getting some of the guys involved. Dance and men are not always synonymous but if we found a way to have some sort of taster session or a merged session to help us get out of our egos together, that would be great. Really highlighting that #SameTeam aspect.
It’s just a good laugh and laughter is such an important thing.”
You can learn more about New Rhythms for Glasgow online.
Interested in becoming part of our Street45 programme? You can get started anytime, its free and doesn’t need prior registration. Contact Sarah Rhind on 07480981819.