Active Schools report reveals life-changing effects of sports participation in Edinburgh

A new research report into the work of sportscotland has found that participation programmes supported by the national agency for sport are having a life-changing effect on those who are taking part.

The independent research, published by sportscotland in the weeks after it was confirmed participation levels on national programmes in Scotland are at record high, praised several programmes including Active Schools for making children and young people feel healthier (98%) and more confident (92%).

During the last academic year (2016-2017) there were 482,500 visits made to Active Schools sessions in the City of Edinburgh Council area – a rise of 9% – underlining the significant impact the programme is having on young people.   

According to the Active Schools Outcomes Framework (ASOF): Schools and Education and Clubs and Communities Environments report, compiled by Research Scotland, the work of sportscotland is encouraging people to lead more active lifestyles with 85% of club members now meeting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines for physical activity.

The report, which considered survey responses from 3,000 sport club members and 15,000 school pupils also highlights the positive effect participation programmes are having in terms of tackling inactivity with significant drops in this area thanks to Active Schools and support for clubs. Over the course of the research period there were 770,000 playing members of Scottish Governing Bodies (SGB) of sport.

Key Active Schools findings include:

  • 98% of participants feel healthier
  • 92% of participants feel more confident
  • 87% of participants have made new friends
  • 76% of secondary school participants said sport and physical activity is helping them achieve their goals

Key Club findings include:

  • 85% of club members meet the Chief Medical Officer physical activity guidelines (only 54% met the guidelines before joining a club)
  • 91% of adult and secondary school age club members said sport and physical activity is helping them achieve their goals. 
  • 76% of club members feel more involved with their community
  • 78% of club members feel more relaxed as a result of participation

Councillor Ian Perry, Education Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We have one of the most popular and successful Active Schools programmes in Scotland with over 17,500 pupils taking part in nearly 500,000 participant sessions which is testament to the outstanding effort of our co-ordinators. Our increases are really encouraging and show how much effort the team are putting into increasing opportunities for young people to get physically fit and interested in taking up sports outside of school.

"The annual Games @ The Hub event goes from strength to strength and this year we will have record numbers with 72 schools and 1,800 pupils taking part in numerous different sporting activities. Keeping our young people fit and healthy is really important and thanks must also go to our partners in sportscotland, the many schools and clubs plus all our unheralded volunteers who help make Active Schools such a success.”

Welcoming the findings, Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: “In recent years we have seen a significant increase in sports participation thanks to national programmes across the country including Active Schools and our support for local clubs and community sport hubs. Our work in these areas is changing lives as can be seen from the findings of this research. We are creating more and better opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to take part in sport thanks to these programmes and along with our partners, including local authorities, leisure trusts, Scottish Governing Bodies, clubs and schools, we are determined to build on that.”

Sport Minister Aileen Campbell said: “The success of Scotland's athletes at the Commonwealth Games and the findings of this research show clear evidence that Scottish sport is growing in strength and depth, with sportscotland and Scottish governing bodies developing talent and creating opportunities at all levels. Through sustained investment and commitment in our whole sporting system we are enabling people of all ages and backgrounds to regularly take part in physical activity across Scotland, from the grassroots right through to performance level."

The report also contains detailed findings on equalities, with findings showing that Active School participation in areas of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) were similar regardless of levels of deprivation. It also highlighted £4million of investment in 30 projects across the country through sportscotland’s Sports Facilities Fund.

Visit www.sportscotland.org.uk for full details of the research report.  

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