The Gladiator Programme – North East Glasgow Pathfinder

The Gladiator Programme

Local Service in Easterhouse


Where it all started

The Gladiator Programme was born out of the Easterhouse Amateur Weightlifting Club, a club that has produced over 300 Scottish, British,  European & World level athletes. In 1986 the club was born in a coal bunker in Kildermorie Path, Kildermorie, Easterhouse. A young athlete would put himself through a rigorous workout in the stairwell landing, training for the Scottish Championships, British Championships, European  Championships & World Championships, local youths would curiously make their way to the close wondering what the racket was. There they found Alex Richardson, the young athlete whom had won variuos titles by this time & went on to be ranked 6th in the world twice. This gives little insight into the poverty faced by the people of Easterhouse at this time, with the country stuck in the midst of economic recession, nowhere was suffering more than Easterhouse.

Quickly realising the need to offer an alternative to drugs, territoriality & crime, Alex started offering weight training in the satirwell landing to the local youths. 12 years later in 1998 the Easterhouse Amateur Weightlifting Club won the British League. The team competing were all from the Greater Easterhouse area of Glasgow. To put into perspective this achievement could be likened to Partick Thistle winning the Champions League. This sort of success was unheard of, especially from a group of youths living in an area that had a reputation of being one of the toughest schemes in Britain.

Soon after in 1999 Alex Richardson retired from competition to concentrate on growing his hugely popular Gladiator to Weightlifter Programme. It is from here The Gladiator Programme broke into full flourish. Delivering an outreach programme in the local communities throughout Greater Easterhouse, the need grew to providing after school care & holiday programmes. We acquired our first property, this being our main sports base in Auchinlea. This business continued to grow at a huge pace, the Gladiator Programme now deliver over 350 Gala events each calendar year, we deliver services in over 2,200 venues per year & still true to our roots, we deliver our local after schools & night time play halls free from charge for all children. We have a service level agreement with NHSGGC & through this we acquired another building, this being our Outreach Services Centre based in Garrowhill, again a stones throw from our original roots.

The business has continued to grow year on year & work is now underway on our largest project to date. The Fun Factory, once again this is being built in Easterhouse, creating jobs in the local communities. You can find out more in our Fun Factory section of the website

The Play Programme

We developed the Play Programme for level one of the Sport Pyramid, the physical level. Specially devised games and relays teach children a repetitive skills base in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

This means that when they progress to level two of the Sport Pyramid, the technical level, they are better prepared to learn the sporting techniques they would need to compete at competition standard. This approach respects the demands sport can make on growing bodies and minimises associated risks such as join problems and other injuries.

Originally, we ran this process specifically in a weightlifting context, but now the Play Programme supports children into a wide range of sports, including football, hockey and basketball.

Our Community section has more information about these sports.

The Stairway to Success

The Stairway to Success highlights the Easterhouse Amateur Weightlifting Club’s success for all the competition titles won during its first ten years, the many records broken along the way, and the creation of The Gladiator Programme.

We set up the programme to support the weightlifting club. It has provided a development programme in a fun atmosphere to help children learn a repetitive skills base they can use later when they move on to the sporting levels of the programme.

Investor in People

The Gladiator Programme has also attracted the Investor in People award. This is because we run our organisation in a way that supports our staff and have a professional approach to our day to day business.

Additional Details

  • Pre-school, Primary School, Secondary School, 18-25 years, 26-50 years, 50-65 years, 66 years and over
  • Easterhouse