North Ayrshire group kayak prep.jpg

Thanks to “Get into Summer”

Looking back on a summer of activity. Young people’s health and wellbeing at the heart of the programme. 

As part of the investment to enable partners to offer free or low-cost access to activities for children and young people, the Get into Summer programme was launched during the 2021 school summer holidays. With a focus on improving children’s wellbeing following the restrictions, as a result of the pandemic, local and national partners embraced the opportunity to create tailored opportunities for children and young people to get active.

We spoke to North Ayrshire Active Schools about the impact on their local communities, where over 2000 young people from North Ayrshire experienced more activity. The team identified the best use of the funding in their area to complement existing provision and local need to benefit as many young people as possible.

young people with canoes

Gary Moore, Active Schools & Communities Partnership Officer said: “The Get into summer programme meant that we were able to reach out beyond the young people and families who are already enjoying the benefits of physical activity. We wanted to demonstrate to young care experienced people that by removing the barriers they can access sport and physical activity opportunities with a variety of experiences they might love!

The purpose of these experiences was to have fun, meet new people, increase family connection, and think about making physical activity a part of their daily lives. The programme has made a real difference to these young people and families and has allowed them to experience the benefits of sport."

It was clear that the experience had a positive impact on families involved. One of the parents who took part in the Arran Away Day told us: “The impact of getting out and about in fresh air when things are tough, is so positive - we enjoyed being out at sea. There was calmness all around, also I felt my stress level disappear. Through this experience I have completed two courses and achieved certificates for each of them. It’s taught me to try new things and not to be afraid to go for it!"

One of the participants told us how positive it was for him to be part of the group on a trip to Arran; “I enjoyed the whole experience from the ferry trip right through to Kayaking. I gained so much more confidence. The staff were so friendly and supportive across the day".

young people on climbing wall

The programme also provided the chance for children and young people to try new activities, maybe something they would never have thought of trying or that might have seemed inaccessible to them because of barriers like cost or location. To make this possible, a new partnership was formed with TOP Ayrshire and Arran Outdoor team to develop a bespoke outdoor programme to provide an opportunity for those who have never tried this type of activity before. Activities included kayaking, climbing wall and canoeing.

One of the participant’s parents told us how it felt: "I'm so happy my kids got the opportunity to learn and participate in activities I would not normally be able to provide or afford for them"

Making an Impact

Evaluation of the activity highlighted the positive impact on the emotional wellbeing of participants, showing an increase on how parents rated their child’s wellbeing before and after the Get into summer programme.

How would you rate your child's emotional wellbeing?

On a sliding scale where 1=worst emotional wellbeing to 10=best emotional wellbeing.

  • Before attending the summer activity: Over 60% rated themselves a 6 and below
  • After attending the summer activity: 85% rated themselves an 8 and above

Another positive outcome from the programme is the newly formed partnerships which will enable the team to continue to extend their reach to a diverse group of young people. The range of partners working together in North Ayrshire was wide and varied to make sure the programme was accessible across all areas in the local authority. Working with key partners and finding new ways to create space for children and young people in these targeted groups in Active Schools programmes will allow the team to have a lasting impact on children who are care experienced.

The funding provided an opportunity to accelerate learning in this area and the team are going forward with a new understanding to make the process easier for young people and their families to engage with. This is just one example of the amazing impact that Get Into Summer had across the country, and the difference it has made to the young people and parents involved.

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