More than 1000 of Glasgow’s young people are being encouraged to leap, skate and jump towards a healthier, more active lifestyle as a festival of urban sports gets underway in the city.
National charity SportInspired has partnered with Scottish Canals, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and Skateboard Scotland to deliver an innovative pilot programme using the power of urban sports to support the young people of North Glasgow to achieve their full potential, helping to propel the community forward.
The programme of skateboarding, parkour, basketball, street dance and more will provide a transformative experience, building young people’s employability skills and confidence, and helping them to lead healthier and happier lives. It will also help to address the rising obesity levels of deprived areas of Scotland, in the context of more intense calls for decisive action against the obesity epidemic the country is facing.
The 18-month pilot programme will engage all primary and secondary schools in North Glasgow, involving 1,000 primary school participants, taking part in up to 10 urban sports, and 150 secondary school students trained as event directors, senior and young leaders.
The programme, based on SportInspired’s behaviour change methodology, consists of a series of multi-sport festivals, young leader training and mentorship, urban sports clubs set-up in primary schools, and inspirational urban sport tasters hosted by sports stars. The pilot programme will culminate in a local Urban Games event in summer 2018, coinciding with the government’s Year of Young People, attended by 500 primary school programme alumni and run by 100 trained young leaders.
The first of the multi-sport Festivals will take place on 20th June at John Paul Academy – 25 of their S2 students will be the first trained young leaders running the event. They will be supported by 40 volunteers from one of the founding sponsors of the programme, the pensions and investment consultant firm Hymans Robertson, to inspire 180 children from four local primary schools to discover a sport they love. The participants will be introduced to a selection of urban sports including skateboarding, parkour, basketball and street dance by local community sports providers, helping to connect community assets and deliver sustainable impact.
Tracey McBride, Active Schools Coordinator at Glasgow City Council, commented: “The aim of the Active Schools programme is to increase sports and activity opportunities for all children and young people. The urban sports included in the pilot such as street dance and basketball are extremely popular in Glasgow Schools. We therefore welcome any programme which offers more opportunities for young people to be active on their own doorstep, in their own communities.
“The role of the S2 students is key to this initiative as leadership is a main theme of the Active Schools programme. These young people will be trained up to assist with the urban sports and will act as role models as the programme continues over the next 5 years.”
Based on the success of the pilot programme, the partners’ ambition is to deliver a multi-year urban sport-based social development programme, ‘The World Youth Urban Games Community Programme’, which inspires a future generation to work towards an exciting goal, with the skills to achieve it, and reinforces Glasgow’s position of a progressive global city. Funding is still required to ensure the delivery of the ambitious long-term results once the pilot is completed.
Richard Raynes, CEO and founder of SportInspired, explained: “The five-year programme would take the young people of North Glasgow on a journey designed to grow their passion about participating in urban sports and support them in reaping all the benefits associated with it – living healthier, fuller lives with positive goals and aspirations. The programme is anchored in a year-on-year development of young people’s skills, confidence, and experience, preparing them to become leaders in their own community and begin to deliver an annual world-class urban sports event in 2021 – the first-of-their-kind World Youth Urban Games.”
Ali Menzies, Chairman of Skateboard Scotland, said: “The World Youth Urban games and the programme in Glasgow leading up to it will be a great opportunity for the youth of Glasgow to get involved with skateboarding (some for the first time). Skateboarding is a fully inclusive sport which allows people of all ages to keep fit and learn new skills, like perseverance and determination. It is also more importantly, great fun! Skateboard Scotland is fully supportive of this great opportunity for the youth of Scotland.”
Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years, said: “An active body encourages an active mind and our schools work very hard to encourage our young people to take part in a wide range of sports and activities and helping to raise attainment and achievement.
“This pilot is an excellent opportunity for our pupils to try urban sports and learn very important leadership skills as well.”