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 275,000 visits made to Active Schools sessions in the Perth & Kinross Council area – a rise of 31% over the last two years – underlining the significant impact the programme is having on children and 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 be more active, with 85% of club members meeting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines for physical activity.

The report, which considered survey responses from 3,000 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

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."

Cllr Caroline Shiers, Convenor of Lifelong Learning for Perth & Kinross Council, said:
“I’m delighted that Active Schools participation across our area has increased. Building active play and active travel into the school day, as well as sport and recreation, has tremendous health and wellbeing benefits and is key to achieving our aim of giving every child in Perth and Kinross the best start in life. We are lucky to be surrounded by the beautiful outdoor playground of our stunning natural environment, which encourages residents and visitors to get out and get active. And the Council uses its experience of hosting major international sporting events, including the forthcoming Glasgow 2018 European Golf Championships and Solheim Cup, to encourage families, in particular, to get involved in sport.”

Paul Cromwell, Chief Executive Officer of Live Active Leisure, said:
“We are rightly proud of the impact that our Active Schools Team continues to make in our communities. They are a great example of the partner relationship between Live Active Leisure, Perth & Kinross Council and in particular the schools we support as well as contributing to the delivery of sportscotland objectives.”

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.