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Active Champs Mingle for Mental Health

 

By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator

 

Mental health problems in Scotland is an ever-growing issue and recent reports show an increase in numbers of young people suffering from mental health problems and decreased mental wellbeing. This is in addition to an increase in referrals to specialist mental health services. Sport has been proven to positively affect mental wellbeing and at Scottish Sports Futures we use sport as our tool to engage with young people all across Scotland.

At Active East we hold a Monthly Mingle for Active Champions to attend where they can catch-up, chat about their volunteering and hear about new upcoming opportunities. Each mingle is themed around the Sport Scotland monthly themes and this month is Mental Health. Mingles are hosted by Mentors who design the content of the evening.

This month we have Chanelle and Precious hosting. The pair were in the office with us this week to design the Mental Health Mingle, which will allow the Active Champions to speak freely about mental health, discuss how they can support other people to improve their mental health, and also how they can take care of their own mental health. Chanelle and Precious are both part of our SSF Wellbeing Ambassador programme which is run in partnership with SAMH.

Allowing young people to talk about mental health and be open about how they are feeling is very important to us. We always encourage anyone who might be feeling anxious or depressed, or even just having a bad to speak about it to someone they trust and can confide in.

Mentors Chanelle and Precious plan the Mental Health Mingle in the SSF office

Mentors Chanelle and Precious in the SSF office

Active East Gives Young People the Chance to Change Lives

 

By Demi Mitchell, Active East Youth Worker

 

The Active East programme within SSF works with over 40 youth and sport organisations within the East End of Glasgow encouraging and supporting partnership working. Active East aims to provide young people with volunteering opportunities, mentoring, qualifications and personal development through sport, physical activity and youth work.

Chance:2:Be is our personal development programme which aims to help young people who have an interest in sport and physical activity and want to gain more qualifications, building confidence and gain support to help them reach a positive destination. Throughout this programme it has been changing young peoples lives through sport since last April. This week we seen our most recent Chance:2:Be participants complete the 12 week programme and celebrated all their hard work and achievements at our celebration event where each young person received their certificates of the qualifications they gained during the course of the 12 weeks!

   

Throughout the 12 weeks it has been a privilege to see these young people develop into more confident individuals, and at the celebration event the young people were able to stand up in front of a crowd and chat about their journey with Active East. The young people have now gained seven extra qualifications that they have all worked hard for and we use sport and physical activity as our hook to ensure they achieve this. One of the participants during first aid training was doing CPR and expressed

“If you told me at the start of this programme I would be doing CPR I would never have believed you”

The programme has helped young people gain experience, move onto college courses, gain jobs and learn how to believe in their ability all through sport and physical activity proving that all the work that SSF to is truly changing lives through sport!

Active East’s Highland Hostelling Adventure

 By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator

At Active East we are incredibly lucky to have amazing funders and partners who support and believe in the work we are doing and help us give the best experiences for the young people we work with!

One recent example of this is through funding we recently received from the Hostelling Scotland Explorer Fund. This allowed us to take a group of young volunteers to Oban for the weekend. Active East work in partnership with lots of youth and sport organisations throughout the East End of Glasgow and support young people to volunteer, gain training, accreditation for their volunteering and help at local and large scale events.

Receiving funding from our various funders, partners and sponsors allows us to take young people away, gain new experiences and learning new skills. This Residential was a great opportunity to do just that!

We stayed in Oban Youth Hostel from Friday 22nd March – Sunday 24th March, giving many of our young people the chance to experience staying in a hostel for the first time, as well as visiting a new part of Scotland. The hostel provided our meals for the weekend and also a great space to do team building activities, planning for 2019, and for our young people to get to know each other better in a relaxed atmosphere surrounded by friends.

On the Saturday we were able to explore Oban and see the sights! We had a roller disco and went bouldering at Atlantis Sports centre, and saw the amazing view from the top of McCraigs Tower. The afternoon was topped off by watching a game of Shinty! We then returned to the hostel for dinner after a walk through Oban’s town centre.

We then spent another night doing more games and hearing the Active Champions’ ideas for 2019 before heading home on the Sunday.

This funding gave us a great opportunity to take away a group of young people away and give them time to relax, bond, experience a new place and plan what they want their volunteering to look like in 2019.

One Active Champion said “The weekend was amazing! I really enjoyed walking around Oban and being able to just chill as a team. My highlight was going to McCaigs Tower and playing games together, the walk was really funny”.

 

We couldn’t provide any of these amazing experiences without the help of our partners, funders, and sponsors. So if you want to work in partnership with SSF, or help us fundraise so we can continue our work, contact our development manager Emma Reid on 0141 218 4640 or emma@ssf.org.uk

Active East Recognises Volunteers’ Achievements

 By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator

 

It is so important that the amazing work that our young people do gets recognised, not only by the organisations they are working in, but nationally by governing bodies and the Scottish Government.

 

So far this year the Active Champions have given 8,739 hours, volunteering at their weekly sessions and at external events such as the European Championships. Without their positive attitude, effort, and commitment to providing young people with safe, fun spaces to play, relax, and make friends, many young people’s lives would not be the same.

 

The young people we have the pleasure of working with are inspirational role models for all people, young and old, and they prove this over and over again with the fantastic work they do. From designing sessions, deciding on the best way to deliver, planning and delivering residentials, to assisting in policy decisions, the young people we work with really take the lead on deciding their future, and the future of the organisations they work and volunteer in.

 

With this year being the Year of Young People it has shone a light on all the amazing things the young people of Scotland do, and has given them a voice that is being heard throughout all sectors. This is so important to ensure young people know their opinions do matter, and that they can make a difference to their own lives and the lives of those around them. The year has also brought new opportunities for the young people of Scotland including funding projects led by young people and awards signed by the First Minister that recognise their achievement.

 

At Active East and Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) we hold an annual awards night to recognise just how proud and inspired we are by the young people we work with. This gives all the young people from each of SSF’s programmes the chance to come together and share in a whole night dedicated to them. This recognition is so important to us as workers, and also to all the volunteers as it shows just how good a job the people we work with do and lets us celebrate this on a massive stage.

Active East participants at the Scottish Sports Futures Year of Young People Awards 2018

Thoughts on Girl’s Participation

 Demi Mitchell, Active East Youth Worker

Female participation in sport and physical activity for me is very important.

There are so many benefits I gain from being physically active such as keeping myself fit, feeling good about myself, and having time to clear my head. Sport has always been such a huge part of my life and over the years I have seen the number of females participating in sport increase, which is AMAZING!

I think its important females have role models to look up to in sport: whether that is their sporting hero, a family member, or a coach who has a positive influence in their physical activity levels. Girls encouraging other girls in sport is the most powerful attitude to have! 

Active East Explores Alternative Education Methods

 By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator 

Education is so important for all of the young people that we work with across every Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) programme. Within the Active East programme we work with young people from the East End of Glasgow aged 12-25.

 

Across the 4 strands of Active East every young person is educated in different ways. Whether that be through gaining volunteer experience in their chosen placement, gaining coaching qualifications from national governing bodies, taking part in educational workshops, or completing modules from SSF’s Education Through Cashback (ETC) programme. In addition to this, the young people get the chance to meet people from different background, cultures, nationalities and beliefs, gain new experiences, visit new places, and learn how to work in their stretch zone; all of which increases these young people’s understanding of the world and is so important to their development and a major part of growing up.

A group of young people from the East End of Glasgow take part in our Chance:2:Be programme.

Our Chance:2:Be programme offers young people alternative ways to gain qualifications and work experience.

We aim to ensure that the qualifications chosen by the young people are all going to be used within their volunteering, and support them through college, university and work. For example we had 20 young people complete Ultimate Frisbee Dodgeball training which was then used to deliver taster sessions to our partner organisations around the East End of Glasgow, reaching 100 young people. This could also be used at volunteering sessions where they deliver different activities to young people.

The aim is not to tick boxes when young people complete qualifications, but to really work to ensure they are used to develop the young people’s skills and will be beneficial to them in the future.

One strand of the Active East programme is Chance:2:Be. This strand works with young people aged 16-25 for 12 weeks where they will complete 7 qualifications. These will including First Aid and ETC: Working With Young People in Sport. Each of these qualifications will assist the young person when they come to start their volunteer placements in a partner organisation of their choice. In addition to this, these qualifications will be beneficial when they are looking for college, university or apprenticeship placements, or for work as they have been practising what they have previously learned.

 

Using a youth work approach to education ensures that everyone we work with is gaining an education in the way that they learn best. We give the young people the choice of what qualifications they want to gain and how they want to use it. We aim to make sure that what is learnt is being retained and used to benefit each person we are working with.

Active East Volunteers Give Over 40,000 Hours

 By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator

Volunteering is a massive part of Active East. 40,000 volunteer hours have been given by the Active Champions aged 12-24 in the East End of Glasgow to provide local young people with fun, safe, encouraging and happy places to take part in sport, physical activity and youth clubs.

Active East has 4 strands where young people are able to volunteer – Chance:2:Be, Active Champions, Ready Steady Leaders and Mini Mentors. Each of these strands has their own role when it comes to volunteering and are involved in different ways from assisting, leading to mentoring.

Active East volunteers enjoying team building activities

Active East volunteers enjoying team building activities

Volunteers on each of these strands are given the opportunity to design their own volunteer journey – this include picking training, volunteer placement, volunteer role, events they attend and the days they are able to volunteer.

For the young people we work with volunteering is crucial to them and can become a massive part of their life. Volunteering is a place where they develop their skills, meet new people, grow in confidence, receive training, and learn what they would like to do in the future as well as having a huge impact on the lives of so many other people. One Ready Steady Leader has said “I love any aspect of volunteering. Working with Older or Younger people it’s just so fun,” and that “I get to volunteer at large events but also get to help out my community.”

The commitment the young volunteers we work with have for helping in their community and getting involved with every opportunity they can is amazing to see. With the European Championships being in Glasgow this month the Active Champions gave 500 hours the assisting and leading activity at Go Live at the Green, attending events and supporting the games.

 

Active Champions tackle Race for Life

On Sunday 20th May 2018, a group of young volunteers from Active East‘s Active Champion programme will be taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Glasgow.

The Active Champions will be walking and running the 5K course around Glasgow City Centre as part of #AngelasArmy, in support of SSF’s Finance Manager Angela, who was sadly diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. 

Joining our Active Champions will be Active East Programme Manager Rohanna Irvine, Active East Youth Worker Demi Mitchell, and SSF’s Head of Operations Kirsty McNab. 

Active East Manager Rohanna with some of the Active Champs taking part in Sunday's Race for Life.

Active East Manager Rohanna with some of the Active Champs taking part in Sunday’s Race for Life.

 

To get involved or to donate and support our Active Champs and staff, please click here

The Glasgow Race for Life takes place on Sunday 20th May, setting off from Glasgow Green towards Saltmarket at 9.30AM. Come along and cheer on everyone taking part! 
More course information is available on the Race for Life website