Active Schools investment set to continue in East Ayrshire

East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet has agreed to continue to invest in the Active Schools programme due to its ongoing success in East Ayrshire. It has also agreed to re-enter into a partnership agreement with sportscotland who have confirmed that they would want to continue their investment in both the Active Schools and the Community Sports Hubs programmes for another year and potentially up until 2027.

Active Schools Co-ordinators have been working within East Ayrshire Council since 2005 with the aim of offering children and young people the opportunities and motivation to adopt active, healthy lifestyles, now and into adulthood. Active Schools work also involves important early intervention and prevention work throughout East Ayrshire, both within an education and community setting. In addition, the Active Schools Leadership programme is designed to support young people to develop their skills and experience through sports coaching and enhance their skills for life and work.

The success of Active Schools in East Ayrshire has been recognised by sportscotland at a national level. At a time where sportscotland are reviewing their local authority investment, the excellent work in East Ayrshire has been commended, with a mutual desire to continue the work that their investment has driven.

Particular highlights include delivering over 1,000 female only sessions to young females throughout various education groups; the organisation of the inaugural Shankly Football Tournament in 2022; the co-ordination of Easter and summer holiday programmes which include a free healthy lunch at every session; vital support for young people and communities throughout the pandemic and subsequent return to sport; extremely high attendance levels by young people at structured sport and physical activity sessions; and the successful recruitment of two full time Active Schools Co-ordinators, who were previously young leaders and Young Ambassadors whilst they were attending school. 

Through the current sportscotland investment, the Council has also supported eight Community Sport Hubs, which bring together sport clubs and key local partners who want to develop the sports offered in the community. The Hubs are centred around major sporting and leisure infrastructures and cover the localities surrounding Grange Campus, New Farm Loch, Galston, Doon Valley, Stewarton, Cumnock, Auchinleck and Ayrshire College. The Council is also in the process of establishing a further Community Sports Hub at the Galleon Leisure Centre.

The continuation of the Active Schools programme will see further opportunities provided in terms of sport and physical opportunities, leadership and awards, volunteering, community club opportunities, active participation and citizenship and the further development of youth voice in our sporting landscape.

The Council has also proposed that the new partnership agreement enhances opportunities for children and families, with greater emphasis on participation rates of care experienced children and young people; girls and young females; and children and young people with an additional support need. It also aims to offer Active Schools for pre-5 establishments as part of the transition to primary school; further develop school to club links; and develop the participation of schools within School Sports Awards, which are being relaunched nationally following a pause during the pandemic.

Councillor Jim McMahon, Cabinet Spokesperson for Housing, Welfare and Poverty, Social Care and Mental Wellbeing, said: “The success of the Active Schools Co-ordinators is evident from all of their significant achievements and the incredible opportunities that they are able to create daily for our children and young people.

“There are so many benefits to taking part in Active Schools activities apart from the health and wellbeing aspects. It can also be an important stepping-stone for many into further education and employment. A specific and targeted approach over the next year and beyond will see further opportunities being created for some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, and the early intervention opportunities that Active Schools provide are so important for many of our young people.

“I look forward to seeing the many positive outcomes that the continued investment in our Active Schools programme and Community Sports Hubs will provide for our young people and communities over the coming few years.”