Thanks a million

Projects to share £1m fund to change lives through sport

Community-based sport and physical activity projects across Scotland are to benefit from a £1million cash windfall as part of a new programme aimed at changing lives and creating a more inclusive and healthier nation.

Launched in April this year, the £1m Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity Fund will benefit 17 projects, with each receiving between £42,151 and £69,985 over a period of two years. The projects will intentionally use the power of sport to effect positive change in local communities.

It is part of a wider £1.8m programme that provides additional resource into the sporting and community sectors to better address individual and community needs through sport and physical activity and to support participants to become and stay active.

Positive change

The wider Changing Lives programme has a specific aim of increasing capacity and skills of people within the sporting sector to help them meet the needs of the community and deliver positive change for participants. The programme and fund are aimed at projects that demonstrated a clear commitment to the following key themes:     

  • Sport for inclusion
  • Sport for health and wellbeing
  • Sport for skills
  • Sport for communities

Among the projects to benefit from the fund are Scottish Sport Futures (SSF) and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), who are receiving £61,205 to deliver a joint programme that will promote positive mental health for young people and address the stigma and discrimination felt by those with mental health problems.  

Sport Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “Sport has the power to change lives and we know that being physically active is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health. That is why programmes such as this are so important.

"These projects specifically use sport to deliver real change in communities across the country, bringing them together, helping health and wellbeing and developing useful skills.

“The recipients of this fund have shown a very real commitment to the aims of the programme and it’s great to see the fantastic partnership between SSF and SAMH, who have combined to show that sport can make a meaningful difference to the lives of young people through promoting the benefits of positive mental health.”

Chief executive of SSF, Kirsty McNab, said: “This exciting new project was born out of consultation with young people. They told us that they want to focus resource on mental health within a sport setting, to reduce stigma and be upskilled to deliver resources relating to mental health and wellbeing.

"We had recently signed up to the SAMH Physical Activity and Sport Mental Health Charter and are delighted that this fund will enable changes in lives of young people involved in this new programme by allowing them to be at the centre of decision-making and giving them a platform to lead on such a prevalent issue.”

Robert Nesbitt, SAMH head of physical activity and sport, said: 

“We are delighted with the announcement of this funding, which will help communities across Scotland discover how physical activity can impact and improve their mental health.

"By working together with SSF and the sporting community we can help break down barriers to participation and help make a real difference to young people’s mental health and wellbeing in an inclusive environment.”

The wider Changing Lives programme was developed following publication of a Sport For Change report in 2017 which demonstrated that being active brings about positive changes beyond participation and can impact positively on the health and wellbeing of individuals, on their skills and learning, and on communities.

The fund is delivered by Spirit of 2012 as part of the associated programme.

Find out more

Learn more about changing lives through sport and physical activity

Discover the 17 projects that have received funding and find out more about:


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