Eleven projects that encourage some of Scotland’s least active people to become more active have been awarded grants as part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Games.
The projects, spread throughout Scotland, work with groups who are most at risk of inactivity, and use physical activity to improve health, wellbeing and social cohesion.
The Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Spirit of 2012. Spirit was a partner of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and was chosen by the Scottish Government to create a sustainable physical activity programme to support the objectives of getting the least active people in Scotland more active.
Physical activity improves physical fitness and mental wellbeing, and can help to empower disabled people, connect generations, bring communities together and reduce isolation.
The eleven project, who each received grants up to £70,000, are as follows:
• Dumfries & Galloway Council: training programme for staff and volunteers to help older and/or vulnerable adults get active in all the area’s care homes as well as day care settings.
• North Ayrshire Leisure: supporting people with mental health issues to become more active through condition specific classes such as yoga and tai chi
• NHS Highland: using dance and walking to increase activity levels among the least active in the Highlands, including young people, women, older people, disabled people and those with long-term conditions
• Midlothian Council: bringing together two projects that use intergenerational volunteering to promote wellbeing; younger people coming into care homes to help older people become more active.
• Fife Sports and Leisure Trust: walking and GP referral programme for people with mental health issues and those with dementia
• Leisure & Culture Dundee: bringing ante natal women and their families in Dundee together through swimming to be active, have fun and improve their wellbeing and resilience
• Stirling Council: offering an extended buggy walks programme for parents, as well as, strength and balance classes and jogging for older people. The focus of all these activities is the most disadvantaged communities
• Cairngorms National Park: This project offers health walks in Highlands, Aberdeenshire and Moray, and targets people with long term conditions, women and older people
• Changes Community Health Project: walking, cycling and other healthy recreational activities will benefit people with mental health conditions
• Drumchapel Sport: the new funding will extend their existing highly respected programme of sport used to unite the community and improve wellbeing, working with children and young people, women and girls
• Edinburgh Leisure: support people over the age of 45 d living in areas of multiple deprivation to become more active
Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: “I’d like to congratulate all of these projects on their successful applications to the Legacy 2014 Physical Activity Fund. They are all working to promote physical activity in their communities, concentrating on some of the groups that are most at risk of inactivity, and giving them the confidence to change their lifestyles.
“This fund is one of the ways we are securing the legacy of the Commonwealth Games, encouraging people to live more active lives. Physical inactivity leads to 2,500 premature deaths in Scotland every year. It’s linked to a host of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, dementia and depression. If we can encourage people to make even small changes to their lives we can make a big difference to Scotland’s health.”
Dugald Mackie, Chairman of Spirit of 2012 said: “Our aim is see personal and community wellbeing increase and to see a positive change in the perception of disability. I’m delighted that we’ll be supporting so many projects that work with disabled people (including those suffering from mental ill health). In the current climate it’s vital that public investment delivers results, and so we are committed to collaborating closely with the Scottish Government and the 11 local partners to discover what works and what we could do better."
Debbie Lye, Chief Executive of Spirit said: “Our ultimate ambition is to use the learning from this pioneering Scottish initiative to inform the way we and others tackle the UK wide imperative of increasing levels of physical activity.
"Spirit will host a conference in January 2017 where all partners will bring together research and findings from the projects. This will be a key step in making Scottish physical opportunities more effective, engaging and efficient."