All posts in SSF News

Join SSF as a Youth Director

We are looking for a young trustee (aged 18 – 25) to join our board of directors. Youth Director Role SSF 2019

We are proud of being a youth led charity and are especially proud and delighted to be advertising this role during volunteer week 2019.

At SSF, our mission is A world where young people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and we very much look forward to having a young person joining our amazing trustees to set and guide our strategic direction. 

We use the power of sport and physical activity to engage with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in Scotland and empower them be confident, healthy and happy.

We do this using our proven and recognised Sport for Change model and its range of person-centred, youth-led programmes that provide positive experiences, inspiring role models, engaging social education, training, and youth volunteering opportunities. As a result, we seek to encourage a positive change in young people’s attitudes and behaviour that enables them to recognise and fulfil their potential, and to make a valuable contribution to their peers and their community.

To apply please send a CV and covering letter to our CEO by Friday 14th June. 

Mental Health Initiative Tackles Cyber Bullying

By Alan Hendry, Jump2it Schools Education and Development Coordinator


For the last year Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) have developed a young person led Mental Health Steering Group. This steering group which is led by Scottish Sports Futures’ Wellbeing Ambassadors is focused on developing peer to peer training around raising awareness and sharing knowledge on a variety of mental health issues facing young people from various communities across Scotland. The main aims of the SSF Wellbeing Steering Group has been to improve knowledge and understanding of mental health, tackle the stigmas attached, improve young people’s confidence and promote the positive benefits which being physically active can have on mental wellbeing.

In the coming three months the Jump2it programme will be working with SSF’s Wellbeing ambassadors to develop educational content for primary school children focused around raising awareness of mental health issues and changing young people’s preconceptions and stigmas surrounding mental health.

Following on from consultation with teachers and pupils from various schools participating in the Jump2it programme this year, educational content around mental health seems to be placed very highly on the school’s agendas and is considered to be very much relevant to their pupils. This subject has also been closely tied to social media and the use of online platforms. In addition, there has been a need identified by teaching professionals around raising awareness of online safety within young people.

Through consultation with teachers and young people alike, it has become evident that these two subjects go hand in hand, with the rise of social media use clearly impacting upon the mental health of young people. Social media has increased the prevalence of cyber bullying ten-fold and with young people’s social lives increasingly moving online, this can lead to many damaging effects around mental health.

Never before has the use of social media and online platforms been so ingrained into the lives of young people in today’s society. Only now, 15 years after the launch of social media platforms back in 2004 are we beginning to see how the use of this technology is negatively impacting on the mental wellbeing of young people within our communities. It is now time to take action and raise awareness of this issue with young people within schools and wider communities.

Through the Jump2it programme our aim is to use positive sporting role models to communicate to young people the negative impacts and risks associated with the use of social media and online platforms. Alongside this educational material developed by SSF’s Wellbeing Ambassadors will also be used to enable the Glasgow Rocks players to confidently speak to children about mental health, what this is, the stigmas attached to it and how we can best support each other to look after our mental wellbeing.


For more information on our Jump2it Schools Programme contact Alan Hendry – 

ETC Tutor Training 2019

1st & 2nd July 2019

10am – 5pm both days


Who is the training for?

Experienced tutors and trainers who use sport as a tool to engage young people and deliver training as part of their role. Active Schools, Sports Development, Youth Services, governing bodies, etc.


What will participants be able to deliver?

Following completion of the tutor training, participants will be able to deliver ETC courses to fellow staff, volunteers, and young leaders who deliver sport and physical activity to young people. The 6 ETC modules you will be able to deliver are SCQF-accredited at levels 4 and 5, and the tutor training will cover all aspects of SCQF delivery. The content of the 6 modules is designed to be flexible, and those completing the tutor training are free to adapt content to suit the needs of the groups they will deliver to. The six modules you will be able to deliver are:

  • Working with Young People in Sport – an introduction to understanding young people and the role of the coach
  • The Human Connection – developing awareness of the importance of building relationships and the ‘human connection’ as part of effective coaching
  • Planning Effective Physical Activity Programmes – utilising Kolb’s learning cycle to explore the benefits that can be delivered through sport and physical activity
  • Communication – building understanding around the use of communication in sport and its applications beyond
  • Goal Setting – building understanding around the process of setting goals in sports and how these skills can be transferred into everyday life
  • Conflict Resolution – providing coaches with practical tools for dealing with conflict, aggression and challenging behaviour in a sports setting

We are also able to offer follow up training for those that wish to deliver Dynamic Youth Awards in a sports setting, or our Standard Life – Step Up in Life employability and CV writing focussed module.

For more information on SCQF accredited modules click HERE


Course Costs

The cost of the Tutor Training is £300, to cover two full days of training, plus aftercare and support from Scottish Sports Futures.

Subsequently, when participants deliver an ETC module, there will be a cost of £10 per learner, to cover the cost of resources and SCQF-accreditation. Fee waivers and subsidies are available for some learners, including those who are experiencing disadvantage or living in areas of deprivation. This is subject to availability, and determined by our funders; please discuss with the ETC team for more information.


Download your application form HERE

For more information contact Martyn Horsfield, ETC Programme Manager –


Education Through CashBack (ETC) is a national programme which develops the knowledge and skills of our volunteers, sports coaches and youth workers through sporting activity.



SSF Wellbeing Ambassadors on Body Image

SSF Wellbeing Ambassadors talk about Body Image for Mental Health Awareness Week

Everyone has a body image. Everyone has mental health. Having body image concerns is a very common thing but it doesn’t necessarily mean our mental health will be affected by it. So, what can we do when it does affect our mental health?

Our Wellbeing Ambassadors told us what they thought were the key issues that cause body image concerns

  • “Social Media. We see pictures of girls and boys with amazing bodies and with that comes pressure. Pressure to look the same and it’s just not real. We need to stop comparing ourselves to who we see on Instagram and on TV, it kinda makes us forget what normal is.”
  • “Trying to fit in and not be seen is very hard. Some people think that everyone is staring at them and judging them because of the way they look when actually it doesn’t matter what they think”
  • “Some people might have health conditions which affect their body shape”

What can we do?

More needs to be done on promoting a positive body image and supporting good mental health and wellbeing in relation to our bodies.

  • Filter or ‘clean up’ our social media content (unfollow pages which encourage us to compare)
  • Be more aware of how to take care of ourselves in relation to body image.
  • Find joy in exercise/movement. It’s proven that physical activity can make you feel better!
  • Educate other young people on eating disorders and offer support
  • I don’t think people fully understand, especially younger people what body image is and how it affects your mental health. There should be more conversations around it in school/youth clubs to make sure everyone fully understands the affects it can have. (Providing mental health support in communities across Scotland)

An Ambassador’s Mental Health Journey

 By Declan Macdougall, Shell Twilight Basketball Ambassador, SSF Wellbeing Ambassador


Tell us a bit about your mental health journey…

I suffer from anxiety and random panic attacks that vary in severity. When I started Twilight, I suffered quite badly from these but didn’t really make it known and I bottled it up and this resulted in me not being able to control my emotions very well. I would show up to Twilight with my headphones on and not really try to connect or interact with people, I would take fouls personal and I tended to storm out a lot. The Twilight staff realised this was becoming a bit of an issue. They worked with me and spoke about different ways of being able to control my emotions better which helped a little but not much on a personal level. Then the ambassador program was brought up and I was instantly up for it, the idea of being able to spread my knowledge and love for basketball but I did have my doubts because I’m not very good at communicating with people I don’t know. Coming up to the ambassador residential I worked closer with the Twilight staff and managed to distill my fears and anxieties about the residential. I was a bit nervous as first but as the first night went by and everyone laughing and enjoying themselves I slowly came out my shell and the ambassador weekend opened me up, I didn’t feel scared or not included. From then on, I Have been able to be more out going and confident in my actions, to the point that I even got myself a college placement. I still suffer from anxiety and my panic attacks but now I am able to control them better and slow things down.


What impact do you think physical activity has on improving mental health and well-being and why?

I Think sport has a huge impact on mental health, even just the interaction between athlete and coach can be amazing for them. Some may only get out the house very often and going out to play a sport may be the only social interaction they get that day. I know from experience from many times I haven’t wanted to speak to anyone that even just interaction with teammates and coaches can make a world of difference. In that regard I feel that physical activity can do wonders for your mental health and well-being.


What do you think are the key factors facing young people relating to mental health and wellbeing?

Being aware that everyone’s issues are different. A method you use to help someone might not help others and it’s important to try to help the young person in the way they feel most comfortable.  It requires patience, there isn’t a quick fix when it comes to mental health, people are going to have good days and going to have bad days and you need to support them.


What are the things that you do that help improve your mental health and well-being?

When I am having an off day and I really don’t want to communicate with people I usually turn to basketball because everything about it is natural and makes me feel at home. If I’m having issues I sometimes will put headphones on and listen to music and write in a journal I have, sometimes I write about my problems and sometimes I write stories. I spend time with family or friends and try enjoy their company as much as possible. I spend time self reflecting and thinking about how I can slow down for when I am overthinking


What would you say has had the biggest influence on your mental health and well-being?

Basketball being one of the biggest influences in most aspects of my life has affected my mental health and well being. It has always been my escape from a bad day or if my anxiety has been bad lately, I can always find a safe place in a basketball court. There’s something about the pound of the ball against the hardwood that is oddly calming. Going to college has had a huge impact. I’ve had to learn how to do a lot of things for myself and travelling five hours a day gives me a lot of time to self reflect.


What more do you think can be done to highlight the benefit of sport and physical activity to mental health and well-being?

Do more workshops on emphasising talking about your mental health, like making it a more common thing to do and reduce the stigma around talking about mental health. Get more young people to do the workshops to show that these things aren’t just an adult thing. I feel like it’s something that needs to be talked about in schools more so that people have more opportunities to speak to someone or to recognise where they may need help with things. I feel that we really need to do everything we can to reduce the stigma of talking about our mental health.


For more information on either of our ambassador programmes contact Ross Hutton –

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

How ETC is Changing Lives Through Sport

We’ve spent the past month talking about changing lives through sport, and our Education Through Cashback (ETC) programme, combining youth work and sport to enhance knowledge of the ‘Sport for Change’ approach, is a way you can get involved and use sport to change lives. 

The practical, interactive modules develop an understanding of working with young people and encourage personal development through sport. Training is flexible and adapted to suit the needs of the group. The modules are SCQF accredited, giving participants a tangible qualification recognising their work. 

ETC is suitable for:
Experienced youth workers, coaches, volunteers and other practitioners looking to increase their knowledge of delivering sport for change programmes and understanding of the developmental value of sport and physical activity. 

Young leaders who are newer to coaching and looking to develop their skills and confidence in delivering activities effectively to a range of young people.

Young people experiencing a challenge, eg at risk of exclusion, low-attainment, who wish to develop skills that can be transferred into everyday life, through participation in practical sessions adapted to their needs. 


Victoria Clark, one of our lead tutor team, talks about her year with ETC.

I’ve loved learning from all of the young people I’ve worked with through my 2018-19 ETC journey. I am one of the Lead Tutor team with the ETC programme and facilitate a range of workshops with clients. 

Working in partnership with the young people. enabling them to explore, to find their own answers, to apply and problem solve through practical sessions has been key.  I take an individual approach to each workshop while ensuring the young people  meet the outcomes required of the qualification. It has to be this way, to truly put the young people at the centre of what we do, and to engage them on their personal journeys.  This requires a flexible and creative approach over time that is built upon trust.  This can come with challenges, trusting in the young people and the process enables success. You can see the ongoing development of each person. Sometimes this means a young person has the confidence to speak in front of their peers for the first time , they make friends with someone they’ve not met before, others led warm ups, full sessions, join clubs, gain places in college or university, or volunteer for hours every week to give back. 

Travelling throughout Scotland to offer local opportunities, courses have been delivered as far as Dingwall, Elgin, and Stranraer and many places in between. I love the opportunity to explore Scotland. 


I’ve shared some of  the projects I’ve been involved with throughout 2018-19 below. I’ve been one person working, amongst many within each project, empowering young people through sport and physical activity.


Chance 2 Be 

Arriving at an Active East workshop one evening, one of the participants headed over to meet me, she had been part of a previous Chance 2 Be programme.  Opening the door and grabbing my bags she walked me up to the workshop room.  She chatted the whole way up the stairs telling me stories of the volunteering she is now involved with (every night of the week, some of which includes 2 buses just to get there), and her successful college application. This has been one of my highlights of the year. Seeing the journey of this girl from day 1 of the Chance 2 Be programme to where she is now.  It’s also been great to see some of participants from Chance 2 Be 1 now coming along to support the delivery of the 4th project. Throughout Chance 2 Be, the participants were given the opportunity to participate in a range of ETC workshops. 


Scottish Disability Sport Young Start Apprentices. 

I’m one of a team of mentors at Scottish Disability Sport empowering young people with learning, sensory and physical disabilities to achieve their coaching and leadership goals. Bringing both programmes together enabled some of the young people involved in this programme to gain SCQF accredited ETC qualifications. It was great to see everyone supporting one another as they delivered their sessions as part of the communication workshop. Learning balloon modelling and some sign language were definite highlights from the weekend that we are still talking about. 


Glasgow Fever Basketball Club

Glasgow Fever: Where People Make the Game. The club took a group of U16 Girls on a residential experience. The girls focused on developing their basketball and personal skills. The ETC Planning and Goal Setting workshops were integrated throughout the weekend. The course content was broken down over the weekend, enabling messaging to be built upon at key moments.  The team work shown by the girls helping one another to achieve was excellent. They all left having achieved a range of  qualifications through sport. 


Scottish Swimming Young Event Co-ordinators 

The buzz at the Royal Commonwealth Pool on the morning of the session really drew you in. It was great to be working with the newly recruited Young Event Co-ordinators right at the heart of the event. The meeting room where the ETC Planning Sport and Physical Activity programme workshop was being held looked directly onto the pool where all the action was taking place. I’m looking forward to seeing how these young people develop through this pilot programme. 


SFA Volunteer Inspire Project and Shell Twilight Basketball 

A Fort William girl, I love working in the Highlands so I grabbed the opportunity to work in Inverness, Dingwall and Nairn (a favourite spot from my childhood). These projects also took me to Elgin, Dundee, Stranraer and Cumbernauld. These Friday night projects offered young people to chance to gain ETC SCQF qualifications through the sport they love. 


ETC: Changing Lives Through Sport. Bring on 19/20!


For more information or to book a course contact Martyn on 0141 218 4640 or email

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!

Jump2it Use Education to Change Lives Through Sport


By Alan Hendry, Jump2it Schools and Education Development Coordinator


As a charity, Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) has a long-standing history of utilising the power of sport and physical activity to create innovative initiatives in which sport and youth work elements are intentionally used to bring about positive benefits for at-risk individuals and communities across Scotland. The impact of these programmes go well beyond simply improving participation in sport, towards developing areas such as community integration, physical and mental well-being and self-efficacy. At SSF we are aware that sport has a specific ability to transcend cultural and social barriers, providing a tool for engagement which is unparalleled in its ability to reach the most difficult to reach and at-risk groups.

For 19 years SSF have combined elements of sport and youth work in an attempt to create impactful programmes to support young people to reach their full potential, make positive lifestyle decisions and change their own lives for the better. During this time, SSF has built on the collaborative work with many regional and national partners with the main focus of using sport to provide opportunities to educate, and equip young people with the relevant knowledge, skills, experience and confidence to reach their own positive destinations. The collaborative work around this specific focus has brought SSF into the space which is now nationally recognised as ‘SportForChange’.

Within the Jump2it programme, we work very closely with the Radisson Red Glasgow Rocks to deliver educational content within primary schools across various local authority areas. The Glasgow Rocks players are used as professional sporting role models in an attempt to engage with children in a way in which cannot be achieved by a teacher or education professional. Using the power of sport and professional sporting athletes as the ‘hook’ to engage with children has proven to be particularly effective in delivering key educational messages. This has also proven to be effective in terms of information retention and attitudinal/behavioural change within young people which the programme is targeted towards.

Many young people have highlighted the influence of the Glasgow Rocks players on their own lifestyle changes, with many young people reporting that their behaviours are changing towards a healthier and more active lifestyle as a direct result of the input from the Glasgow Rocks players. One participant has stated:

The Rocks taught us about knife crime, alcohol, getting sleep and health and well-being. I eat healthier now. I eat a lot of fruit, more than five a day now”.

Another participant added:

I like basketball a lot more now since the Rocks players came and spoke to us. I am a lot more active than I was before.

In addition, with the well-established network of SSF programmes and partner organisations, we are also able to offer young people various pathways into continued and sustained positive physical activity long after the conclusion of the Jump2it programme.

The power of sport simply cannot be underestimated. With the ability to change the lives of young people and entire communities in a way in which very few activities can, sport should be considered as a key tool for community engagement.




Shining a Light on Mental Health

 By Shell Twilight Basketball staff and participants

Amanda Hiddleston is 1 of 20 Scottish Sports Futures’ Wellbeing Ambassadors who helped to plan and deliver a mental health and wellbeing themed basketball tournament at Oriam in Edinburgh on Sunday 7th April.

The event saw over 250 young people come together from Shell Twilight Basketball sessions across Scotland as far afield as Dingwall and Stranraer.

Amanda tells us about her thoughts from the event:

The tournament on Sunday was a great opportunity to let other young people know how much sport and physical activity can play a massive role in helping improve mental health and wellbeing.

In my role as a Wellbeing Ambassador and as a member of the steering group for the event I was excited to be part of the planning process and see things develop from our initial meetings and from our residential in March where along with 20 other Wellbeing Ambassadors we developed mental health and wellbeing workshops and ideas for the event.

It was amazing to see our plans come to life! On the day I delivered workshops on the topics of stress, pressure and social connection which all allowed young people to come and have fun in an interactive workshop whilst learning about the topics and taking away the message that sport can have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.

The tournament was just an amazing fun filled day which challenged me to grow in confidence and step outside my own comfort zone. It was so rewarding and encouraging to see the young people who attended grasping the theme of the event, having fun and taking away the message that sport and physical activity can have positively impact mental health and wellbeing.


The Shining a Light on Mental Health tournament was made possible through funding from The National Lottery Heritage fund as part of Year of Young People 2018, The Changing Lives Through Sport (read more about it here) and Physical Activity Fund as well the Scottish Governments Cashback for Communities fund.