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.