All posts in SSF News

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


Successful Shell Twilight Basketball Residential at Kilgraston School

Press Release

On Friday the 13th of April 28 young people from across Scotland arrived at Kilgraston School to kick off this year’s Shell Twilight Basketball Ambassador programme. This induction residential training weekend marks the first step of a year-long programme that motivates and supports young people to take on leadership roles, become positive role models to their peers, and volunteer in their local communities. Ambassadors completed training in positive role modelling, goal setting, behaviour management, and child protection. They also completed their ‘Make it Happen’ Basketball Coaching award, delivered by Basketball Scotland. Training was also facilitated by Education Through Cashback, and SEE Consultants. Ambassadors were recruited from Scottish Sports Futures’ Shell Twilight Basketball groups from Highlands, Fife, Stirling, Glasgow, North Ayrshire and Stranraer. Over the next year, ambassadors will be supported by local mentors, who will support them with their individual journeys of personal development, as they work towards their goals and grow as positive role models within their Shell Twilight sessions and their wider communities. They will also complete Community Achievement Awards, administered by Glasgow’s Kelvin College, which allow Ambassadors to receive SCQF accredited recognition for their hard work.

The Shell Twilight Basketball programme itself is designed to be an open, inclusive and positive environment for young people where personal development is supported through structured sports activity, educational inputs, role modelling, and peer rapport. The setting and programme of activity provide young people with the opportunity to develop skills, confidence and a sense of acceptance that they may struggle to find in more traditional settings. Twilight has a long track record of attracting excluded young people and supporting them into positive destinations. The Ambassador programme builds on this experience and provides a further level of support and direction with enhanced development opportunities for a focused group of young people. Through this process, the selected group makes significant progress in their personal development journeys while becoming influential positive role models within their Twilight session and local community.

This is the third year that the Ambassador programme has run nationally since it was piloted in Glasgow in 2015. Kilgraston School in Perth have hosted the induction residential for the past three years, where fantastic facilities and friendly staff have aided the success of the weekend. The FREE programme is supported by BBC Children in Need and the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities. It runs alongside Shell Twilight’s diversionary Friday night basketball sessions and aims to support young people to identify and work towards personal goals, including getting into volunteering, education and employment.

BBC Children in Need’s National Officer for Scotland, Paul Liddell commented on the initiative, “I am delighted to see that a further 31 young ambassadors have joined the programme.  Since receiving funding for the programme from BBC Children in Need, the project has grown and developed and this is a fine example of how it is progressing.”

Speaking of the new grants, Florence Burke, National Head of BBC Children in Need in Scotland, said: “BBC Children in Need is funding a number of projects across every local authority in Scotland – all of which are working to make a real and tangible difference to the lives of those children and young people who need it most.  We are delighted to include Shell Twilight Basketball among them, and are pleased to see that a further 31 young ambassadors will benefit from the training and life skills development to reach their full potential. Best of all, they will have the chance to make new friends, and receive support from positive adult role models.”

Ambassador Duncan, 17 reflected on the weekend, “I got to meet lots of new people and make lots of new friends, and it’s nice to see everyone’s different types of background and coaching styles.”

Amanda, 18 added, “I enjoyed getting to know the other ambassadors and getting to learn more basketball drills to bring back to the sessions and coach. I’m excited to see what opportunities [the programme] leads to; it will let us grow as individuals as well as team players.”

Duncan and Amanda, along with the other 29 young people attending the weekend, join a further 25 Ambassadors recruited in the first year of the programme. Building on the success of this first year, Shell Twilight Basketball plan to grow the programme, inducting a further 30 Ambassadors this year, maximising the benefit for young people and communities across Scotland.

Shell Twilight Basketball runs mainly on Friday nights across Scotland. It is FREE to attend and open to all young people aged 11-21 years old. Please see for more information or contact 


                           Shell Twilight Basketball Ambassadors 2018

Ambassador’s Duncan Watson and Chloe Canning leading one of the                weekend’s sessions


Children in Need

BBC Children in Need’s vision is that every child in the UK has a safe, happy and secure childhood and the chance to reach their potential. The charity will realise this vision by supporting, promoting and publicising work that addresses the challenges that children and young people face and work that builds their skills and resilience.

BBC Children in Need is currently providing grants to 300 projects across every local authority in Scotland and 2,600 projects across the UK that are helping children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma.

More information about BBC Children in Need can be found at

CashBack for Communities

The Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme uses the ill-gotten gains of crime, recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and invests them back into communities across Scotland.

More information can be found at 



Shell Twilight Ambassador Residential 2018

An Ambassador’s eye view of this year’s Shell Twilight Ambassador Residential.

This time last year I was sitting in the same room as the Ambassadors are right now, arriving at Kilgrastion to complete the ambassador training weekend.

But this year was different for me.

I came back, but for the mentoring role. I’m super excited to take on this role and see what opportunities this will give me.

I have to admit I was a little worried about going on the residential this year. The thought of taking on a more  responsible role was scary, but if the Shell Twilight Basketball staff didn’t think I was ready for it they wouldn’t have asked me.

This weekend was a lot of fun as I had the opportunity to create more friendships with the other mentors and this year’s Ambassadors, and I managed to develop my own skills on this weekend more than what I thought I would. Looking back on last year, I never thought that I wold be doing something like this.

I honestly would say that it’s down to my own mentor from last year being a great role model for me and I hope to be just the same for my Ambassadors this year. I hope if I show my Ambassadors a good role model example they can then become a great role model for the other boys at our session.


By Bryanne Ford, Shell Twilight Ambassador. 

For more information on our Shell Twilight Basketball programme click here


Active Champions True Role Models In Their Communities


The Active Champions have continuously been role models to their local community for the past 5 years!

The Create18 Active East-ER event on the 7th April has shown this on a large scale and a local event.

10 Active Champions took the lead and designed their own event and continuously publicised and shared the event with everyone they knew. Active East-ER was designed around what the Active Champions thought young people in the East End would love to attend, and they did love it! 100 young people and their families making the bus trip from Easterhouse and Coatbridge or a walk round from Bridgeton and Dennistoun to enjoy a day of fun and sporting activities at Crownpoint Glasgow Club.

A true demonstration of young people taking the lead!


By Alistair Neil, Active East Youth Development Coordinator.

Active Easter event a huge success

Press Release


Young volunteers from Scottish Sports Futures’ (SSF) Active East programme ran their own Easter – themed family fun day on Saturday 7 April 2018 at Crownpoint Sports Centre in the East End of Glasgow.


Over 100 young people and their families attended the event which was funded by the Create18 project. The event was the brainchild of ten Active Champions – young volunteers aged between 14 and 25, who completed an individualised programme of awards and training in sport, physical activity and volunteering.  

Active Easter event at Crownpoint Sports Centre on Saturday 7th April

The Create18 Fund is powered by Young Scot, on behalf of EventScotland, and provides young people in Scotland aged 8 – 26 with the opportunity to celebrate and engage in the Year of Young People 2018 by staging a unique event that will showcase their talents and abilities in their local community. After making it through the two rounds of the funding process, the Active Champions were awarded funding to put on their Easter themed event.


Active Champion Holly Halferty said:

“We have worked really hard to get this event organised and have loved being able to completely design and manage the project. We were delighted with the support we received and to see so many young people come along as Active East-ER has been created by young people for young people!”


Alistair Neil, Youth Development Coordinator for Active East, said:

“It has been amazing to see the Active Champions really take the lead on this project. They really pushed for the funding and designed the day around what young people love to do. HAVE FUN! The Year of Young People really has given them the opportunity to take the lead and create a fun event for other young people in their local area..”

Young people attending the event

Active East is an exciting programme which aims to create a legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games for young people in the East of Glasgow by increasing levels of physical activity and building skills through volunteering.


For more information on and all Scottish Sports Futures activity please visit our website





Notes for Editors:



  • Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) is a Glasgow based Charity delivering Education through Sport programmes to young people nationwide with a particular focus on those at risk and suffering disadvantage.
  • Scottish Sports Futures programmes use the power of sport to inspire young people to make positive lifestyle choices.
  • SSF’s portfolio of programmes support young people from early interventions right through to training and employment. Each programme is focused at a different stage of youngsters’ development and targeted at communities that are vulnerable or at-risk.
  • SSF programmes have 10,000+ young people engaged annually
  • SSF have over 200 volunteers supporting activity
  • Delivery Programmes:  Active East, Shell Twilight Basketball, Jump2it, Education Through Cashback, Healthy Powerful Communities – MEND.


Kirsty McNab Head of Operations call: 0141 218 4640/07758884691

Rohanna Irvine Active East Programme Manager call: 0141 218 4640


For more information see website: