Life-Changing Effects Of Sports Participation In Western Isles

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 48,000 visits made to Active Schools sessions in the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area – a rise of 39% over the last two years – underlining the significant impact the programme is having on children and young people.   

According to the Active Scotland 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."

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.

Councillor Angus McCormack, Chairman of Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee, said:

"Working with sportscotland and other agencies has helped the Comhairle to develop its service to communities and the introduction of Community Sports Hub Officer posts in recent years has provided our communities with the valuable additional support needed to increase levels of activity locally. The Comhairle has invested hugely in facilities over the past 15 years with Active Schools providing opportunities for young people to try a wide range of sports and activities. We are very pleased to see the increase in participation levels across the Western Isles and the Comhairle also remains committed to supporting our talented athletes through sportscotland supported Performance Development Programme and The Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA)."

Visit for full details of the research report.