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

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