At the launch of Smoke-free Highland and the Smoke-free Sports pledge where we were joined by players of all ages, from primary age; who form part of Inverness under 12’s league, and also players from Inverness Street League and Inverness Youth league.
We are proud to be the main sponsors for all three leagues in Inverness and to have been able to sponsor the strips for the select teams for Inverness street league and also the Inverness under 12’s select team.
The purple and blue strips worn here were the strips the select teams wore at the 2013 Keele International cup.
Over 125 football coaches that coach 70 local teams in the Inverness area all signed the smokefree pledge at the launch in Inverness Caledonian stadium. The pledge is not about stigmatising those that smoke but is an initiative where the players and coaches try to encourage an environment that is smoke-free when at training and at matches. We ask that parents and members of the public that spectate at training sessions or matches refrain from smoking around the players.
Peter Corbett helped to launch the smoke-free initiative and was one of our speakers on the day. Peter is head coach for the Merkinch football academy and has also for many years given his time to coach teenagers and adults with special needs.
Peter himself has had a very successful career as a footballer and in his time played with Inverness Caledonian, Inverness Clachnacuddin, Inverness Thistle and also Ross County. Peter has also managed both Clachnacuddin and Caley.
Peter also represents the Merkinch area of Inverness as the local councillor. He was also recently presented with a Grassroots Award which is promoted by the SFA and McDonalds. The award was presented to Peter by scottish football legend Kenny Dalglish at a ceremony in Hampden.
As well as Peter, Kenny Grant who is secretary for Inverness Street League and Margaret Somerville, Director of Public Health at NHS Highland spoke at the launch.
Susan Birse, Senior Health promotion specialist at NHS Highland was also present at the launch. Susan is the driving force behind both Smokefree Highland and Smokefree sport and is the main point of contact for the initiative.
Kenny Grant who is the secretary of Inverness street league was accompanied on the day by Inverness Street League Chairman, Donnie Weir. Donnie has been involved in youth football at all levels for the last 25 years.
Donnie Weir said:
“Everyone knows that your body is more likely to develop health problems if you smoke.”
“Smoking cuts down on fitness and young athletes who smoke suffer from shortness of breath almost three times as often as those who dont. You wont be able to keep up with your team mates let alone your opponents. As coaches, we always try to give all our players the chance to perform to their best but sometimes life choice can get in the way of that.”
On the day of the launch, here with Peter Corbett are Susan Birse, Senior Health promotion specialist who is behind the initiative. Also in attendance on the day was Cathy Steer, who is the Health Promotion Manager for NHS Highland and on the right is Margaret Somerville, NHS Highland’s Director of Public Health. All were on hand on the day to give expert advice.
Susan Birse said:
“Nearly two thirds of smokers start before they are 18 so it’s vitally important we support young people to make positive choices about their health.”