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Changing lives

Report reveals life-changing effects of sports participation

A new research report into the work of sportscotland has found that participation programmes supported by the national agency for sport are having a life-changing effect on those who are taking part.

The independent research, published by sportscotland in the weeks after it was confirmed participation levels on national programmes in Scotland are at record high, praised several programmes including Active Schools for making children and young people feel healthier (98 per cent) and more confident (92 per cent).


98% of young people feel healthier because of sport
92% of young people feel more confident because of sport

Welcoming the findings, sportscotland chief executive Stewart Harris said: “In recent years we have seen a significant increase in sports participation thanks to national programmes across the country including Active Schools and our support for local clubs and community sport hubs. Our work in these areas is changing lives, as can be seen from the findings of this research.

"We are creating more and better opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to take part in sport thanks to these programmes and along with our partners, including local authorities, leisure trusts, Scottish Governing Bodies, clubs and schools, we are determined to build on that.”

Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell, added: “The success of Scotland's athletes at the Commonwealth Games coupled with the findings of this research provides clear evidence that Scottish sport is growing in strength and depth, with sportscotland and Scottish Governing Bodies developing talent and creating opportunities at all levels.

"Through this sustained investment and commitment in our whole sporting system we enable people of all ages and backgrounds to regularly take part in sport across Scotland from grassroots through to performance level."


85% of club members meet physical activity guidelines
76% of club members feel more involved with their community

According to the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework (ASOF): Schools and Education and Clubs and Communities Environments report, compiled by Research Scotland, the work of sportscotland is encouraging people to lead active lifestyles with 85 per cent of club members now meeting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines for physical activity.

A youngster enjoys basketball

The report, which considered survey responses from 3,000 sport club members and just under 15,000 school pupils, also highlights the positive effect participation programmes are having in terms of tackling inactivity with significant drops in this area thanks to Active Schools and support for clubs. 

Publication of the report comes the day before members of the Scottish Parliament debate the success of Team Scotland at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the strength of the sporting system as a whole in Scotland. Over the course of the research period there were 770,000 playing members of Scottish Governing Bodies (SGB) of sport and 290,000 participants in the national Active Schools programme.

Key Active Schools findings include:

  • 98 per cent of participants feel healthier
  • 92 per cent of participants feel more confident
  • 87 per cent of participants have made new friends
  • 76 per cent of secondary school participants say sport and physical activity is helping them achieve their goals

Key Club findings include:

  • 85 per cent of club members meet the Chief Medical Officer physical activity guidelines (only 54 per cent met the guidelines before joining a club)
  • 91 per cent of adult and secondary school age club members said sport and physical activity is helping them achieve their goals.
  • 76 per cent of club members feel more involved with their community
  • 78 per cent of club members feel more relaxed as a result of participation

The report also contains detailed findings on equalities, with findings showing that Active School participation in areas of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) were similar regardless of levels of deprivation. It also highlighted £4million of investment in 30 projects across the country through sportscotland’s Sports Facilities Fund.

Find out more

Visit the sportscotland website For full details of the research report. 

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