A thriving sports hub in Perthshire enables people in nearby communities to take part in sport and physical activity throughout their lives.
The purpose-built Madoch Centre, set up by St Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church and home to the St Madoes Active Sports Hub (SMASH), opens its doors in Carse of Gowrie to more than 400 people every week.
From pre-school children and their parents to older adults including people with dementia, there is something for everyone. Sports on offer include mini-tennis, badminton and netball, seated yoga, social aerobics and Zumba.
Retired police officer Dorian Marshall, 52, said: “My wife and I are heavily involved in the Madoch Centre. Before it opened, we were thinking about moving away from the village but it’s been life-changing.
“I play badminton and table tennis and take part in exercise classes. I also volunteer at the centre, as does my 72-year-old mum. She helps out with the dementia group who take part in seated exercises and boccia.
“Mentally, physically and socially, we all benefit so much from the centre.”
Prior to the hub opening, 40 adults aged 70 and over said they were not participating in organised exercise activities. Now more than 60 participants in this age group are taking part in activity each week. There were 876 sessions in 2019/20 with an average of 10.5 participants, two-thirds of them female.
Although the hub has received funding for a full-time sports outreach worker, volunteering has been central to its success along with close collaboration between the church, St Madoes Primary School, three local sports clubs and Live Active Leisure.
Twelve volunteers have achieved badminton leader awards, 14 completed in-house boccia training, five passed a boccia leader’s course and two passed a jog leader course.
Gemma Simpson, community sport hub development officer, said: “What I love about the Madoch Centre is their person-centred approach to physical activity, and the way they create opportunities for taking part no matter your ability, age or stage of life.
“It's such a welcoming environment and wonderful to see families in the sensory room, or older people who might just have been in for a cup of tea pick up a table-tennis paddle for a short rally or take part in a chair-based exercise class.”
Find out more
Check out opportunities to take part in sport in Perth & Kinross at the Live Active Leisure website
Sport For Life: summary of progress is sportscotland's annual review for 2019-20.