Active journeys to positive destinations

A report available on Commonwealth Day, Monday 14th March, states that 80% of participants involved with a Scottish Sports Futures programme are from 20% of the most deprived areas in Glasgow. Award winning Active East is a youth work and sport project working with young people in the east end of Glasgow which used the 2014 Commonwealth Games as a catalyst to address significant issues relating to young people’s lack of participation in sport and physical activity.

The legacy programme aims to increase activity levels amongst young people and encourage community participation and leadership through volunteering. The economic contribution of these young volunteers, Active Champions, over a 20 month period is estimated to be in excess of £60,000. Through the small grant element of the programme 70% of participants stated that they were more active at the end of the project than they had been at the beginning.

Joshua Juanatas, Active Champion said recently: “Active East is where I started and you can never forget where you came from they have been there for me since day one so massive thank you At a young age I have always looked up to people and have my own role models! Being a part of all these programs I’ve been the role model and young people look up to me! 100% awesome feeling! I can write a book here! So thank you for all the experience and awesome memories but also more to come.”

Fellow Active Champion Precious James Miene, who has recently been shortlisted in the 2016 Street Games UK coach of the year awards says simply: “”Volunteering has literally change my life it’s given me a purpose and a drive to make an impact in people’s life for the better would not change it for the world and I can never thank them enough for the chance of put a smile on someone’s face.”

 Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: “Active East is a project that absolutely embodies the spirit of Commonwealth Games legacy. This report shows that the programme was very successful in bringing young people together and getting them involved in physical activity. I’m also pleased to see that Active East was so successful in engaging with young people in some of Glasgow’s more deprived communities. I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved, particularly the Active Champions, who devoted so much of their own time to make the project a success.”

 The initial programme ran from 2011 to 2014 and on Legacy day 2016 findings and learning from an external evaluation commissioned by one of the programme funders, The Robertson Trust, conducted by University of Stirling are being shared. This evaluation looked at not only what was achieved through the programme, but what the specific elements of the programme were that were particularly helpful in leading to successful outcomes for participants. Building relationships through a youth work approach has been the key; putting young people’s perspectives at the heart of the programme to address their needs, ambitions and any barriers that they may have to engaging in physical activity.

Linda Macdonald Senior Development at the Robertson Trust said: “We know that sport can be a powerful tool to support young people transform their lives.  What the Active East approach has demonstrated is some of the key factors, such as being focussed on the needs and aspirations of individual young people, which can ensure that sport does make a difference.”

The evaluation determined that Active East has demonstrated positive impacts on developing young leaders and creating opportunities for young people to engage in physical activities and sport. This is through the Active Champion programme made up of young volunteers aged 14-25 living or willing to volunteer in the East End of Glasgow.

Kirsty Partridge, Head of Operations of Scottish Sports Futures said: “Active East is one of the most special and truly inspiring pieces of work I have ever had the pleasure of working on. Not only are the Active Champions entirely dedicated to not only grasping every opportunity they can but they also genuinely want to make a difference in the communities in which they live. The Commonwealth Games provided such a once in a lifetime platform to motivate and create change and we remain excited about our work in the East End and with all our partners, sharing our learning and taking a youth work approach to engaging through sport”.

To get your copy of the report and read more about the impact of Active East directly from young people see here –