03 February 2023

Funding ensures further four years of Active Schools programme in Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire Council has secured a further four years of investment from sportscotland to continue delivery of the Active Schools programme.

The programme offers free sport and physical activity sessions for children and young people. 

In addition, funding will also allow Aberdeenshire Council to continue support for community sports hubs through their two community sport hub officers

The scheme was first introduced in 2005 with the aim to support people to lead longer and healthier lives by encouraging young people to take part in sport, develop leadership skills and support a healthier lifestyle.

At a meeting of the Education and Children’s Services Committee on Thursday (February 2) members were presented with a report showing participation in 2021/22 saw more than 167,000 young people take part in different sessions.

Councillors approved the partnership with sportscotland which is committed to continuing to work in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council, providing £2.9 million in funding over the next four years.

Despite the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic brought, Active Schools teams have been central to the delivery of leadership programmes that support the development of pupils and provide opportunities for volunteering, gaining experience that supports pathways into employment. 

Chair of the ECS committee Cllr Gillian Owen said: “The Active Schools team has a crucial role to play in developing the links between community and school sports. 

“I'm really pleased to see that sportscotland is offering a four-year extension of their programs and investment in Aberdeenshire, which will be extremely valuable in supporting the health and well-being of communities and young people across Aberdeenshire.

“This is a programme I expect to see go from strength to strength over the next four years at a time when health and well-being has never been so important.”

Most recently 36 pupils from South Aberdeenshire took part in the subsidised ‘I can lead programme’, developing the skills and confidence to be able to deliver coaching sessions in future. There are plans for more young people to take part in the coming months.

The Active Schools team has also worked with Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust to participate in their community programme, with 35 primary school teams from Aberdeenshire competing weekly against others from Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire.

The development of Sport Kit for All initiatives is one of the prominent examples of how the Community Sports Hub Team support communities, removing barriers for those who may struggle to access sport and physical activity as well as encouraging recycling.

Since the project launched in Peterhead at the start of 2022, a further four schemes have launched in Turriff, Inverurie, Stonehaven and Banchory with more planned for future. 

ECS vice-chair Anne Simpson said: “This is a fantastic programme that offers increased opportunities to our communities to participate in sport and physical activity, tackle inequalities and embed inclusion and I’m delighted to see it will continue into the future for even more children and young people to take part.”