All posts in SSF News

Jump2It Promotes Health and Well-being

 By Alan Hendry, Jump2It Education and Development Coordinator

Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) has long used sport and physical activity as a valuable tool to improve different aspects of health and well-being, including various elements of physical and mental well-being. Our ‘Sport for Change’ programmes not only contribute towards mental and physical well-being, but the early intervention programmes also offer young people opportunities to develop essential skills related to resilience, emotional literacy, and communication skills.

At SSF we specialise in promoting positive education through early intervention programmes in an attempt to counter mental and physical health issues within young people. Adopting a practical approach utilising sport as a vehicle to communicate vital health and well-being messages helps young people to overcome a variety of barriers, while at the same time building skills relating to resilience and self-efficacy. This contributes effectively towards both the physical and mental well-being of the young people.

In particular the Jump2it programme utilises sport and professional athletes as positive role models, as a vehicle to raise awareness on health and social issues. The Jump2it programme uses the impact of professional athletes as positive role models to mobilise hard to reach groups that are most likely to be negatively impacted by health and well-being issues. Physical inactivity has been identified as a major contributing risk factor linked with various diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and obesity; highlighting the importance and the need for early intervention initiatives around health and well-being.

The Jump2it programme exploits sport as a didactic tool within a ‘Sport for Change’ environment in order to communicate vital health related information to children within at risk communities across the country. The Glasgow Rocks players have established themselves as positive role models, as well as valuable assets in our aim of providing young people with the necessary knowledge and learning required to make positive lifestyle choices which directly contribute to their health and well-being.

Within the Jump2it programme, heavy focus is paid towards linking with the Curriculum For Excellence (CFE).

The CFE clearly places high importance on nurturing young people to develop their own skills and knowledge required to reach positive mental, social and physical well-being throughout their school lives, within their communities and into their later lives. By aligning the Jump2it programme closely to the health and well-being outcomes of the CFE, the programme allows for learning to take place which directly contributes to the young person’s health and well-being, as well as promoting improved confidence, independent thinking and positive outlooks.

Within SSF we believe that being physically active, and having good general health and well-being is a major cornerstone to personal development for young people. In our opinion it is the responsibility of everyone who works with young people to establish a supportive environment, one which facilitates opportunities for learning and development whilst also promoting and providing opportunities for the development for good health and well-being into later life.

Glasgow fitness instructor to take on 5K swim in aid of SSF

Glasgow-based fitness instructor Ceza Ouzounian explains the importance of health and wellbeing, and how fitness and sport have helped her mental wellbeing.

“I’m a fitness and energy coach,” Ceza explains, “so I work in health and fitness which I do in two ways so the fitness side which is Pilates and Burlexercise, I teach classes. Then I do something called energy alignment method mentoring, which I’m aiming towards confidence mentoring especially for women – body confidence, feeling good, feeling like your true self without having to hide who you are from the world.”

“The energy alignment method is mentoring. You use kinesthesiology so you’re getting answers from the subconscious rather than the conscious mind.” Ceza goes on to explain how energy alignment, and a change in perspective can be beneficial to your health and wellbeing:
“So with fitness goals you can identify what’s stopping you, because you might set yourself a goal but you keep failing. So it might be that in the back of your mind you keep telling yourself that you’ll never be fit, so if that’s going around in your subconscious you’re never going to achieve your fitness goal because you’re gonna sabotage it somehow.”

Fitness instructor Ceza Ouzounian

Fitness instructor Ceza Ouzounian

Ceza’s work also includes a focus on empowering women and improving their confidence. “The confidence thing is, well I went to an all-girls school, so you grow up with every girl feeling crappy about her body, and a lot of my friends were either on diets or we weren’t happy. We were teenagers we shouldn’t be giving a crap, so there’s that aspect.

When I’m teaching Pilates because I used to teach a men’s only class and usually the classes are mostly women, you just see the different dynamic of the way they think. With women there’s a lot of ‘oh I can’t do that’ or ‘I’m not sure I can kind of thing’ even though they can do it. Whereas with the men they moan they don’t wanna do it because it’s hard but there’s never that ‘oh I can’t do it’ kind of mentality so that’s part of the confidence thing.

I guess in the world we live in at the moment as women we’re growing up being told how our bodies need to look and how we need to behave and you know what’s right, what’s wrong. There’s a lot of contradictory information, and I basically would like to help get rid of that. Obviously I can’t help the whole world but I want women to feel good in their body no matter what stage their at, because if you don’t accept it for what it is, it’s not gonna change.”


Her fitness journey has taken Ceza many places and lead her to take on many different challenges, including a 2.5KM swim-a-thon. But now Ceza is taking on an even bigger challenge: 5.8KM open water swim along Loch Lubnaig.
“I wanted to do the 5K because it’s a bigger challenge and then I thought well I’m in Scotland, there’s lots of lochs around, and so I thought about doing an open water swim. Then I met, at a networking event, someone whose company ran open water swims, and I thought this is clearly a sign from the universe that’s what I should do.”

Ceza with former Olympic swimmer Duncan Goodhew at her last sponsored swim-a-thon

Ceza with former Olympic swimmer Duncan Goodhew at her last sponsored swim-a-thon

After signing up came the difficult decision of picking a charity to fundraise for, and that’s where Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) came in:
“Once I signed up I was like okay let me find a charity. I met Emma (SSF Development Manager) and Angela (SSF Finance Manager) and I like the sound of what you guys do because I think sports is so important, especially for kids as they’re growing up, a community of friends, and you know feeling good in your body and getting moving so that’s why I chose SSF.”

She also explains what she’s doing to prepare for the challenge:
“Basically I’m swimming and doing other exercises to improve my core, I have a shoulder injury from when I used to do aerial hoop so it felt like it over stretched so I’m just strengthening it. And because I teach Burlexercise I do a lot of cardio exercise as well, oh and then I’m eating properly as well, otherwise I feel dead!”

“This is my first open water swim, but at least when you’re with other people you’ve got that extra push to keep going.”


To support Ceza in her first ever open water swim, head over to her Just Giving page 

For more information on Ceza’s work check out her website

The Runner on a Wild, Wet Day

On Sunday 20th May, several members of SSF staff, and a group of Active Champions from our Active East programme, took part in Cancer Research UK’s 5K Race for Life in Glasgow. The group were all running as part of “Angela’s Army” in support of our Finance Manager Angela, who was sadly diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. 

Despite only signing up for the event a week in advance, the group managed to raise an incredible £702.50 for Cancer Research UK. 


Head of Operations Kirsty McNab, Youth Worker Demi Mitchell, and Active East Manager Rohanna Irvine along with some of the Active Champions at Glasgow Green.

Head of Operations Kirsty McNab, Youth Worker Demi Mitchell, and Active East Manager Rohanna Irvine along with some of the Active Champions at Glasgow Green.

SSF staff and young people will be taking part in a number of events across Scotland throughout the year, raising money for cancer charities in support of Angela. 

Angela’s mother Renee wrote the poem The Runner on a Wild, Wet Day, in honour of her daughter and her fight against cancer. 


 THE RUNNER ON A WILD, WET DAY a poem by Renee McCart for Angela The wild wind flung his friend, Rain Against the bedroom window pane. He screeched to those inside, you cannot hide Get up and meet THIS Day. The runner stared at wind and rain Hey you, I’ll soon be out There is no doubt You won’t defeat me. Flings back the sheets, Then beats a path from bed to bath. A flush and scrub, Taking breaths to fill her lungs. Courage flows to every cell. Wind and rain wail, They yell and yell. But she is ready, set, Go! Armoured like a champion She takes action through the streets of Unknown City. Ready, steady, She goes to battle Cancer’s wind and rain. Breathe harder, breathe deeper, Lift those knees, stretch your stride, Pump those arms, Raise your eyes, TAKE YOUR PRIZE! Glory rings in her ear Victory is here! Keep up the pace, YOU win THIS race. No mercy to the mighty wind and rain.


You can still donate on the SSF 5K Race for Life fundraising page by clicking here


Sport and My Mental Health Journey

Twilight Ambassador Amanda Hiddleston By Amanda Hiddleston, Shell Twilight Ambassador

Hi. It’s mental health awareness week, and I just wanted to come and tell you my mental health journey so far.

But, I want to start by saying I really dread to think where I would be if it wasn’t for the positive outlook sport allowed me to have, or the support I got from friends and family.

So, my mental health became a huge problem in my life when I started studying at university just over a year ago. I was struggling to cope with all the new changes in life, and different things going on in life like family issues. This left me feeling anxious, overwhelmed and trapped, which I couldn’t see any way out of this. I was having horrendous panic attacks, and struggling to find the motivation to eat and to get out of bed in the morning as all I wanted was just wanted to be left alone. It took me a while to get used to the idea that I had anxiety before I reached out for help I needed, but this was when I really discovered the true impact and power sport has on my life. Despite my anxiety I still had a burning passion for sport.

Sport is a part of my identity and has had such a massive part to play in my life.  

I have always been involved in sport as I was a very active child, and I just fell in love with it. I only really settled into one specific sport after I got involved in a programme called Shell Twilight Basketball which I have been a part of for many years now. I’ve been through their Ambassador Programme which allowed me to develop as a person in many different ways, but it also built up valuable relationships so when life got rough and tough I had people I could talk to. I felt completely safe as it was like a second family.

Also, being able to take part in basketball was a massive advantage as it truly allowed me to escape from all my thoughts, it gave me different focus point but it also allowed me the space to have fun and enjoy myself.  To this day, I truly believe sport was one of the biggest helpers during this time, and it continues to be today as it gave me the motivation to have a positive outlook on life.

However, my mental health is a battle in my life that I am still continuing flight through. I still have the same ambitions in life as I have always had, but the difference is I know now that I don’t need to face it alone. I will always have a place in sport with Twilight Basketball no matter what. Just knowing I can go and shoot a basketball when I’m struggling and everything can feel so much better for a few moments is an unreal feeling.


My Mental Health Journey

 By Kirsty McNab, CEO

Maybe it’s because it’s mental health awareness week or because we are signing up to the mental health charter with SAMH or maybe it’s just part of life’s reflections. But every one of the amazing young people that joined to be Active Champions in those early days, and everyone who have joined since, saved me. In 2012, after having a baby I lost all of my confidence, the nurse suggested a mums group at Dennistoun Library to help. I went in, no-one spoke to me so I left, crying outside.

Physical activity has always been a massive part of my life, from being an active child growing up to my degree and subsequent career and though crappy teenage years being part of a team made a real difference. So I mentioned to someone that I really wanted to be exercising again, but with my new baby, she suggested a buggy bootcamp class at Hogganfield Loch that was on twice a week. I cautiously messaged the person leading the group and immediately got a super friendly message back asking me to start the next day, along with some questions about me and my baby, and said the other girls were also fairly new and a lovely group.

I went along, nervously.

She was right, the girls were lovely, and super down to earth. There wasn’t much chat about the babies but how hellish it was being a new mum (I really needed that). I really felt like I had lost myself in this time, and it was only to get worse: a marriage breakdown and subsequent divorce, with a new baby was NOT in my life plan.

Kirsty's first night out with the other Mums from Buggy Bootcamp

Kirsty’s first night out with the other Mums from Buggy Bootcamp

When Ella, my baby, was 5 months old I decided I needed to go back to work, to have something for me and was successful in joining Scottish Sports Futures as a youth development coordinator with the new Active East programme. Despite having serious mental health issues at that time, I threw myself into the new role.

And it was the BEST thing I ever did.

The staff team at SSF have also become like a family and that defo helps. I personally know what it’s like to struggle with mental health and have been so some pretty dark places, I also personally know the absolute benefits to being active to try and maintain a positive attitude to being part of something. In all of our programmes young people are at the heart of everything we do. We listen, we ensure environments are welcoming and friendly. We create space to talk and we want every person that comes through the door to feel like they are cared for, because they are.

Looking back, post baby I was absolutely experiencing postnatal depression was maybe too scared to admit it. I went to the doctor a year or so later, was prescribed anti-depressants for anxiety and found it great being able to talk about it all. It took me a few years to even mention it to this group of girls, who have become some of my best friends, and me and my now 5 year old daughter love spending time with the ‘bootcampers’. Now I do something active every day, very much for my head as well as for all the other benefits and when it includes running around with Ella I feel I’m winning at life!

Kirsty with 5 year old daughter Ella.

Kirsty with 5 year old daughter Ella.

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 

US Ambassador Lends Support To Scottish Charity Basketball Programme

Press Release

(For immediate release)

The US Ambassador to the UK, Robert Wood Johnson, met with young participants of Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) and its Jump2it Programme on Thursday 3rd May to learn first-hand the impact the sport is having on turning the lives around of some of Scotland’s young people.

The Ambassador, who is an avid basketball fan, is visiting Scotland to attend a memorial service in Islay to commemorate the centennial anniversary of two WWI disasters involving U.S. servicemen. He spent time with the young people from Glasgow’s Philomena’s School, along with other participants of SSF and members of the Glasgow Rocks basketball team whilst on a tour of the Emirates arena.

The Jump2it Programme is delivered in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities and encourages young people ‘at risk’ to get involved in weekly basketball sessions.  Through working with role models from the Rocks and other partners, it also provides classroom teaching on health education to enable the participants to make healthy lifestyle choices. The programme, which is open to 9 to 12 year olds, received $5,000 funding from the US Consulate last year which was used to stage a Glasgow wide tournament.

Susan A. Wilson, Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh, said: “We were thrilled that Ambassador Johnson visited Glasgow Rocks and Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) as part of his recent trip to Scotland.

“The U.S. Mission to the UK has been delighted to partner with SSF on its incredible ‘Jump2it’ program.  Not only do the young folk learn about basketball, they are taught life-skills and the importance of team work.  

“The work of SSF is simply inspirational and we were pleased Ambassador Johnson was able to see this for himself in Glasgow.”

The SSF programme participants who met the Ambassador included Precious Miene, Jacqueline Anderson, Amanda Hiddleston and Duncan Watson who take part in weekly basketball sessions across Scotland.  They were joined by Glasgow Rocks players Earl Brown and Nate Brit.

Pam Hunter, CEO, Scottish Sports Futures added: 

“We were delighted that the Ambassador was able to take time out of his schedule to meet with our young people.  We’ve always a great affinity with the US as a number of the Rocks players are American and our young people love to hear all about the country and their different lifestyles.”



Image information:

US Ambassador to the UK Robert Wood Johnson meets with young people from SSf programmes at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Thursday 3rd May 2018 as part of a two day visit to Scotland. 


About Scottish Sports Futures
Through its network of 70 qualified coaches and over 200 volunteers, SSF delivers a number of free key sports driven programmes in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Fife, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyle, and Ayrshire engaging more than 10,000 young disadvantaged people annually.

Programmes includes Active East, Shell Twilight Basketball, Jump2it, Education Through Cashback and Healthy Powerful Communities – MEND.

As well as providing sports led sessions the programmes tackle lifestyle issues such as obesity, drug and anti-social behaviour, working with community partners and encouraging young people into education and employment opportunities.

In addition, the charity provides practical training workshops for people delivering sport in local communities.

Twitter: @SSF_2000
Facebook: @scottishsportsfutures


Aberdeen Kiltwalk 2018

Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) are offering FREE entry to anyone who walks the Aberdeen Kiltwalk for #TeamSSF on Sunday, 3rd June 2018. All we ask is that you raise a minimum of £100 sponsorship.

The Kiltwalk is a fantastic opportunity to fundraise for SSF. The Tom Hunter Foundation will top up ALL donations by 40%, therefore if you raise £100, we will receive £140!

PLUS, every walker who signs up will be entered into a prize draw to win a car donated by Arnold Clark. There are still 2 more Kiltwalks this year – Dundee (19th August) and Edinburgh (16th September) and a prize draw and car to be won for each location.


The Aberdeen Kiltwalk has 3 lengths of walks – 26 miles, 14 miles of 5 miles in and around the city of Aberdeen.

There is a walk for all abilities and the 6 mile walk is suitable for families. Take your kids with you, a picnic and stop along the way to enjoy the atmosphere. You can even take your dog!

Last month more than 10,000 walkers took part in the Glasgow Kiltwalk. There are plenty of pit stops along the way with entertainment and snacks for all.

Here’s what some walkers from last month’s Glasgow Kiltwalk said: 

I have sore legs today but yesterday was such a fantastic day makes the pain worth it lol. It was such a pleasure to be part of it.”  
Jacqueline McAuley

I’m still sore the now , and not going to lie , it was tough on the last ten miles, and after that walk I’m pretty convinced that The Proclaimers have been kidding themselves on that they would walk 500 miles.” Brian Mitchell


Find out more about Kiltwalk –


Walk for #TeamSSF and you will be helping to support over 10,000 disadvantaged young people that we work with a year across Scotland, helping to change their lives through sport.

Follow us on Twitter  @ssf_2000

See one of our young people’s story here who took part in BBC Children In Need Rickshaw Challenge last year in November

If you want to get involved and walk for #TeamSSF, please contact for FREE entry and a fundraising pack.

For corporates – SSF and the Kiltwalk can come to your offices and do an activation event to get your staff signed up. It’s a great way to meet CSR targets and to promote a healthy workforce! If interested, please get in touch!

If you do not want to walk but you do want to support us, we are also looking for volunteers to sign up as a Kiltie on the day. For every hour you volunteer, SSF will receive £1.40 for your time and support.

Also, we are looking for volunteers to go and cheer on our walkers along the route. A t-shirt, cheer sticks and flags will be provided.

Thank you for your support.


Jump2It Champ of Champs Final

On Sunday 29th April, teams from nine primary schools from across Scotland came together for the Jump2It Champ of Champs Finals at the Emirates arena in Glasgow. The schools had all taken part in Jump2It’s primary school programme, going on to win their regional finals throughout the spring. 

After a series of play offs it was an all-Glasgow final, with Our Lady of Rosary and Burgh Primary Schools finishing top of the table. The two teams then went head to head at half time of the British Basketball League game between the Glasgow Rocks and Worcester Wolves. 

The final score was 12-6 with Our Lady of Rosary taking victory over Burgh. 

The final game between Our Lady of Rosary and Burgh Primary Schools

The final game between Our Lady of Rosary and Burgh Primary Schools


The Champ of Champs Finals mark the end of the Jump2It programme within schools for this academic year, however, Rocks Community Clubs continue to run throughout the year. Contact Stephanie for more details – or 0141 218 4640

Glasgow Lives Coverage

From the 9th – 13th April 2018, one of Glasgow’s biggest news networks Glasgow Live ran a series of articles on Scottish Sports Futures (SSF), focusing on some of the young people involved with the charity and how sport has changed their lives. Photojournalist Elaine Livingston met with three young people who are involved with SSF
programmes, Saskia Barclay (16), Andrew Marley (20), and Edward Fitzpatrick (21), as well as Twilight Programme Coordinator Preeti Jassal (24), and SSF celebrity ambassador Chris Forbes (35).

Saskia, Andrew and Edward all became involved with SSF after their local youth and sports clubs partnered up with SSF’s Active East programme, although it was a chance encounter is what pushed Saskia to begin her coaching
journey with Budhill Football Academy:

“I started coaching at Budhill because my wee brother was playing there and I would stand on the side-line giving him direction and encouragement. The team manager told me I should get involved in coaching, so I did.”

Budhill Football Academy are one of Active East’s partners, and it was through this partnership that Saskia became involved in Active East’s Active Champion programme, which helps young people aged 14 – 25 complete training and certification in sports, physical activity, and volunteering.                

Active Champion Saskia Barclay


Andrew credits Scottish Sports Futures’ unique approach to youth work, combining it with sport in an educational but informal environment, as being a great way to help young people see the opportunities open to them in their local communities, and help them build sustainable pathways for their own futures.

“I think youth work as a whole is so good because you’re helping to train and develop young people in an informal way and in a place where they feel safe and have fun. Not all education has to be formal. To give young people a broader education and insight gives them opportunities to take on leadership roles and gain skills that they can use in their pathways into adult life and work.”

Mini Mentor Andrew Marley

 After coming through the Active Champion programme themselves, Edward and Andrew have both become Mini Mentors, helping to mentor Active Champions like Saskia through their volunteering journey. As young people who have taken on youth worker roles, both Andrew and Edward believe that young people becoming youth workers is key to helping tackle issues facing young people today.

“Your teenage years can be tough. I think it’s really important to support young people through it and I think it’s great if it’s coming from someone in their age group who they can relate to and has been in their shoes. (Andrew)

“I became a youth worker as soon as I was allowed to at 16. Young people should be youth workers, they can relate to the people involved whether you’re working with them in the clubs or training them.” (Edward)

Mini Mentor Edward Fitzpatrick


Preeti spoke about how working on Scottish Sports Futures’ Shell Twilight Basketball programme has given her the opportunity to take the theoretical topics she studied at university and put them into practise in her role as a coordinator.

“I really enjoy working with the young people. My role involves working a lot with inactive girls and young women, trying to get them involved in sport and empowering them to progress in life. To see the girls starting off in the programs and build their confidence and skills is brilliant. That was what I focused on in my studies at university so I’m really passionate about it. It’s been really nice to stop writing about it and actually put it into action.”

Shell Twilight Basketball Coordinator Preeti Jassal



This is something Edward is also keen to emulate once he has completed his studies in product design:

“I’ve been doing youth work for eight years and I don’t want to leave that behind when I start working full-time. I want to combine what I’ve learned at university with my youth work and find a way to link the two in my design work and career.”

Stand-up comedian, and former basketball player, Chris Forbes became involved with Scottish Sports Futures after taking part in a charity comedy night:

“The charity knew that I had played basketball to quite a high level when I was younger and they thought I would be an ideal fit as an ambassador for them, as basketball is one of the core sports they use across their various programs to reach the young people they work with. They asked me to become involved straight after the gig.” 

“I’m really enjoying being an ambassador. I feel like my contribution is small in comparison to what the full time staff do, but I’m really happy to help if I can. When you go along to the charity’s events, and see the difference they are
making, it’s just brilliant.”

SSF Ambassador, Comedian Chris Forbes