Active Lifestyles participants

Award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen has developed a programme to specifically support people with respiratory conditions to be active and live well, in partnership with NHS Grampian.

The programme is aimed at people with a lung condition whose ability to be active and participate in exercise is affected by breathing difficulties, including those with Bronchiectasis, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease (COPD).

Participants will be offered the opportunity to attend virtual exercise classes online or alternatively receive one-to-one phone call support.

Qualified exercise instructors will work with participants to build confidence and activity levels safely whilst talking through any concern’s patients may have about introducing exercise into their daily lives; helping to improve lung capacity and overall fitness so participants can feel more confident doing everyday tasks.

Andrinne Craig, Sport Aberdeen Healthy Communities Manager said:

“Working in partnership with NHS Grampian has allowed us to develop this programme, specifically aimed at helping a group of people who can really benefit from engaging in activity. Although physical activity won’t offer a cure, it can result in hugely positive changes for individuals living with certain respiratory conditions and we are thrilled to be able to deliver this in the city.

“Sport Aberdeen is committed to creating opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to take part in exercise and lead a healthy and active life. For people living with a respiratory condition even simple tasks can become testing, so by helping participants to improve lung function and muscle strength we believe we can make a real difference to many lives in the north-east.”

Andrinne Craig

Anyone living with a lung condition can refer themselves into the programme by completing an online referral form or by contacting Sport Aberdeen’s Active Lifestyles team on 01224 047924. Health Professionals can also refer patients who would benefit from the programme by completing an online referral form.

Click here for more information on the Winter Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme.

Sport Aberdeen’s Active Lifestyles programme creates opportunities for everyone to get active and participate in physical activity regardless of whether you are starting out, recovering from injury, living with a long-term health condition or an older adult.

Adventure Aberdeen activities

Adventure Aberdeen has been working hard to support schools throughout the north-east over the last few months, with over 2,000 pupils taking part in outdoor learning in and around schools from Aberdeen City.

Outdoor learning provides different environments for pupils to thrive in while working on personal and social development alongside learning lifelong skills that can be transferred to school, the workplace and everyday life. From climbing mountains to jumping in the North Sea, pupils have achieved things they would never have thought possible.

Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities said:

“Scotland has an abundance of world class outdoor learning opportunities which can help children and young people both in and out of the classroom and we believe it should be available to all. We would like to thank the staff and pupils that we are currently, or have previously, engaged with and we look forward to continuing to provide these opportunities in the New Year.”

Graeme Dale, Head of Sport and Active Communities

“Now is an ideal time for schools to develop, create and deliver outdoor learning which can be easily embedded into an existing curriculum. Adventure Aberdeen will support with this and create learning opportunities from the school grounds and surrounding streets, to forests, farmland, coastlines and the mountains.

Please contact Adventure Aberdeen on 01224 270990 if you would like to explore outdoor activity learning opportunities for your pupils or visit the website for more information.

Pupils participating in scrambling

Award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen was able to breathe life back into a number of bicycles belonging to a local children’s care home, completely free of charge, thanks to funding secured through the ‘Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme’

A total of five bikes from Barnardo’s Linksfield Residential Service, an established childcare service in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, were taken to Adventure Aberdeen’s bike workshop in Kingswells.

Adventure Aberdeen, part of registered charity Sport Aberdeen, was the first organisation in the city to sign up to the ‘Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme’, a free bike repair and maintenance service funded by the Scottish Government and delivered through Cycling UK. The scheme aims to remove barriers such as cost while encouraging active travel; allowing more people to take part in cycling through access to free bike maintenance. 

Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities said:

“After a hugely positive response, this is the second round of funding we have secured to deliver free maintenance to people in the north-east who may ordinarily struggle to gain access to bike servicing.

“Thank you so much to Adventure Aberdeen for the service. We are really happy that the bikes have been fixed and it means we can go for long bike rides and socialise with our friends.”

A young person from Linksfield Residential Service

“We are targeting this latest funding towards those who are really in need of the services and I’m absolutely delighted that we could help and breathe life into their five bikes. Sport Aberdeen has a responsibility as a Corporate Parent for these young people, so it is only right that we ensure that they have bikes in a condition that they are able to enjoy.

“A key aim of the scheme is to give more people of all ages access to safer cycling – encouraging participation in physical exercise, while educating people on the benefits of greener travel. Working with services such as Linksfield Residential Service underpins Sport Aberdeen’s commitment to breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for more people to get active, regardless of challenges they may have.”

Rebecca Christie, Linksfield Residential Service Senior Practitioner, said:

“We would like to extend a massive thanks to Sport Aberdeen, and the staff at Adventure Aberdeen.  It’s great to work in partnership and to have such a good service which will help to promote health and well-being for the young people we support.”

Registered charity Sport Aberdeen took the top spot in the Team Aberdeen category at last night’s HEART Awards (Thursday 3 December), an annual event organised by Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership, recognising people working and volunteering in health and social care in Aberdeen.

The Active Lifestyles programme, run by Sport Aberdeen, won the ‘Team Aberdeen Integrated Working’ award at a virtual ceremony following the postponement of the awards evening in March. 

The programme provides inclusive opportunities for everyone to get active and participate in physical activity regardless of whether they are starting out, recovering from injury, living with a long-term health condition or are older adults.

Sport Aberdeen was nominated for the award by colleagues in the NHS CAARS (community adult assessment and rehabilitation service) team for the way in which the charity works collaboratively with them and service users on a range of co-produced projects. 

Sport Aberdeen have been heavily involved in several joint initiatives and projects over recent years, of note, the co-design and delivery of the Carer’s Stable and Able Group which runs on a weekly basis with support from NHS occupational therapy staff.

Part of Sport Aberdeen’s Active Lifestyles programme, Carers Exercise classes were developed in response to a need for ongoing support for carers and those being cared for, as identified by NHS Grampian colleagues.

Working in partnership with participants, the organisations developed parallel classes which allow both carers and cared for to participate at the same time, mitigating anxieties around leaving loved ones alone and allowing for more people to improve health and wellbeing, reducing risk of a fall and the potential for re-referral back to stretched NHS services.

Andrinne Craig, Sport Aberdeen Healthy Communities Manager said: 

“This award really highlights that by working collaboratively we can change people lives through the many projects, services and programmes that we deliver and is testament to the incredible work that is carried out by the Active Lifestyles team year after year.

“I am thrilled that we have been named ‘Team Aberdeen’ and would like to congratulate all the other nominees and winners from this year’s HEART Awards. I would also like to thank our valued partners at NHS CAARS for nominating us for this award. It really is fantastic to see the sheer amount of partnership working that is carried out in the north-east, and I am proud that Sport Aberdeen can play a key role in this.”

“Sport Aberdeen certainly embody the values of the partnership and are prepared to go that “extra mile” to make collaborative working with them so seamless.” 

Sandra MacLeod, Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership

Speaking at the virtual ceremony, Sandra MacLeod, Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership Chief Officer said:

 “The team at Sport Aberdeen have made every effort to work in partnership with many different teams in Aberdeen but have certainly become an important and consistent partner to AHP’s working within the partnership. This is reflected in the reciprocal referrals that are regularly made between the services and the confidence with which these referrals are made.

“Sport Aberdeen certainly embody the values of the partnership and are prepared to go that “extra mile” to make collaborative working with them so seamless.”    

Award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen has said it is ‘proud’ to be providing complimentary sanitary items throughout the city again, with the aim to help tackle ‘period poverty’.

The free period products are being distributed by Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), a charity and social enterprise, for Aberdeen City Council to public venues across the city where significant footfall has been identified. Sport Aberdeen’s venues will be restocked within the coming weeks after the local charity took part in the initiative earlier this year.

The Scottish Government made funding available in 2018 to supply products with the hope of eliminating ‘period poverty’ and this week MSPs voted unanimously to end period poverty for women and girls throughout the nation, making Scotland the first country in the world to make free period products available in all schools, universities, colleges and public buildings.

‘Period poverty’ refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. A study released by charity Plan International UK has revealed that almost a third (30%) of girls aged 14-21 have had issues either affording or accessing sanitary wear in lockdown and over half (54%) of these girls have used toilet paper as an alternative to period products. But even that hasn’t always been an option during lockdown, as one in five girls (20%) said their periods have also been harder to manage due to the lack of toilet roll available. 1

“Sport Aberdeen is proud to further support this nationwide move in tackling period poverty by providing free sanitary products at a number of our citywide venues with the potential to expand this offering where there is substantial footfall.”

Sport Aberdeen venues that currently provide free sanitary products:  

A further five city venues will be stocked within the coming weeks.

David Selkirk, Sport Aberdeen Director of Community Leisure Operations, said:

“Sport Aberdeen is proud to further support this nationwide move in tackling period poverty by providing free sanitary products at a number of our citywide venues with the potential to expand this offering where there is substantial footfall.

“Results show an increasingly large number of girls and women often do not participate in sport due to lack of sanitary products, and this problem has clearly been significantly heightened by the current pandemic.

“As a charity we look to support the community wherever possible and remove barriers so that we can encourage more people to take part in physical activity.”

Lisa Duthie, Chief Executive of CFINE, commented:

“We are delighted to see Scotland taking the lead in ending period poverty by providing access to free sanitary products for everyone who needs them.

“We are proud to have been an advocate of tackling period poverty since 2017. CFINE successfully hosted the Access to Free Sanitary Products pilot in 2017 and have been making free period products accessible in partnership with the Scottish Government through FareShare, and Aberdeen City Council ever since.

“A massive thank you to all our Sport Aberdeen, partners, volunteers and staff who has worked on the Access to Free Period Products Project.”

“It’s a confidence boost with the loss of my husband, to do things on my own.”

Valerie Souter

After a lifetime of cycling together, Valerie’s bike was left in the shed when her husband became ill. The Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme has inspired her to discover the joy of cycling solo.

Valerie Souter, 63, has cycled for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Portsoy on the Aberdeenshire coast it was the best way to get around and have fun with her friends. Living and working in Aberdeen as a police officer alongside her husband Sandy, cycling became part of their daily lives together.

She said: “My bike was a vital element for both enjoyment and commuting to work in and around Aberdeen city centre. Parking in the city centre was hard so the only logical way to travel was by bike.”

Cycling together was a big part of their relationship, especially exploring Scotland’s stunning landscapes while on holiday.

Sadly, Valerie and Sandy’s cycling journey came to an end when Sandy was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2017. The physical limitations of the condition were particularly difficult for him as he had always enjoyed such an active lifestyle. Valerie said: “He did what he could to remain as active as possible, but the illness slowly took away everything he loved.”

Sandy died in February, just before the lockdown was imposed due to the coronavirus crisis.

“I take comfort in the fact that I spent time with him as I was able to visit him in the hospice while that was still permitted.”

It was seeing large numbers of people out cycling and walking with dogs at the start of the pandemic which encouraged Valerie to look the bike out from the shed again. Although her beloved bike looked OK, Valerie was concerned about the safety of riding a bike which had been stored for three years.

“My husband always gave our bikes a good check over and carried out any maintenance, but my capabilities extended to brushing off the cobwebs and giving my bike a good clean.”

Inspired to act by the launch of the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme, Valerie checked her bike in for a service with Adventure Aberdeen, part of award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen. Funded by the Scottish Government and delivered through Cycling UK and participating retailers, the scheme provides free bike repair and maintenance work up to a value of £50 with the aim of bringing bikes back to life.

Adventure Aberdeen was the first provider in the city to sign up to the scheme, which coincided with the recent launch of the charity’s new in-house bike maintenance service; offering limited free places alongside its full offering to those who may not usually have access to these services.

It wasn’t long before Valerie was back out cycling for the first time in three years, rediscovering her favourite local routes and experiencing the pleasure of cycling as a way to help cope with her loss.

“Life must go on although it’s been rough, tragic and sad. For me cycling is a nice escape.”

As well as providing an escape, cycling near home and testing the capacity of her panniers with shopping trips to the local supermarket, has had other benefits too.

“It’s a confidence boost with the loss of my husband, to do things on my own.”

Looking back, Valerie says that some of her happiest memories are of the holidays she and Sandy took with friends twice a year to Aviemore. The couple would spend their days exploring the beautiful Cairngorm mountains on their bikes, meeting up with friends for a meal and a cosy evening together.

Although she enjoys now riding solo, Valerie is looking forward to creating new memories with some friends who have also rediscovered cycling during lockdown, when conditions allow.

Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities said:

“Giving people in Aberdeen access to free cycle maintenance, made possible through funding from the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme, is an extremely positive step towards seeing more people of all ages and abilities take part in physical activity. By encouraging participation in safe cycling, we can play our part in creating a healthier and greener Aberdeen.

“It’s heartening to hear of Valerie’s story and the team at Adventure Aberdeen were thrilled to be able to help in getting her back on her bike and reengaging with an activity she clearly has many fond memories of. It is my hope that we can help more people in the community make the most of this brilliant opportunity.”

Valerie was pleased to receive guidance on how to carry out regular safety checks on the bike from mechanic Joe, who was especially impressed by her beautiful hand-built Italian bike.

A local leisure trust has launched a brand-new series of mountaineering courses for outdoor enthusiasts.

Adventure Aberdeen, part of award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen, has announced three winter mountaineering courses, catering for people of all ability levels from beginner to advanced.

The courses cover all aspects of hillwalking, mountaineering and rock climbing and will take place throughout the picturesque Scottish Highlands in both the Aviemore and Glenshee areas.

‘Introduction to winter skills’ will allow you to take your first steps into the magical world of winter hill walking and mountaineering, gaining invaluable skills; ‘Get ready for winter navigation’, is perfect as a refresher or to take your basic summer navigation skills to the next level; and the ‘Winter navigation improver’ course is suitable for winter walkers, mountaineers and climbers as well as ski tourers looking to brush up on their skills.

Mike Gifford, Adventure Aberdeen Manager, said:

“This is a really exciting time for us, not only is this something fun and a brilliant way to stay active, but our trained instructors can pass on invaluable skills which are essential when out in diverse weather conditions.

“Whether you are new to hillwalking and want to venture out and learn something new or are brushing up on your skills and are ready for a new challenge, our aim is to get more people physically active while discovering the incredible outdoor offerings we have right on our doorstep.

“We want to teach people the fundamentals of safe navigation, route choice and how to avoid hazards in the winter environment and our courses are aimed at people of all levels, with all bases covered.”

The launch of Adventure Aberdeen’s new series of mountaineering courses coincides with VisitScotland’s inaugural Adventure Tourism Week which runs from 16-20 November and aims to bring together marine, activity, wildlife and adventure operators from across Scotland.

For the full course listings and more information click here.

Sport Aberdeen’s 2019/20 Annual Report has revealed that a staggering 1.4 million people used its facilities in the last financial year while fitness attendance was up by 30,000 visits on the previous year.

Get active members grew by 13% from 2018/19 and the award-winning charity recorded a 26% increase in income generated through ‘Get active’ memberships, with all profit invested back into the people, projects and communities that Sport Aberdeen serves.

Over 260 free memberships were given to looked after children and young people, 672 additional support needs participant visits were recorded by Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports and over 33,000 active lifestyles programme visits were logged; targeted opportunities for everyone regardless of whether you are starting out, recovering from injury, living with a long-term health condition or an older adult.

The highlights reported are underpinned by another year of award successes, which saw the north-east’s largest leisure provider winning in categories recognising excellence in employment, volunteering, capital investment, fitness venues and commitment to the community.

Tony Dawson, Sport Aberdeen Chairman, said:

“I had the privilege of stepping up to lead this brilliant and inspiring charity last September, having served as vice chairman over the previous two years and I have enjoyed every moment since.

“Sport Aberdeen is at the heart of community sport and wellbeing within our city and this body of work, which is just a glimpse into what the charity has achieved, highlights how we continue to create opportunities and change lives through sport and physical activity.

“The continued developments and triumphs are testament to the hard work and dedication of every employee, volunteer and board member. This was reflected in the ‘Staff Matter’ award that was handed to Nickie Scorgie, Head of HR and Organisational Development, at last year’s Northern Star Business Awards, accepted on behalf of everyone who helps to make a difference through sport in Aberdeen.

“Our volunteers were also rightly celebrated last year when we received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest accolade a charity or voluntary group can receive in the UK and yet another tribute underpinning the exceptional work Sport Aberdeen can be proud to have its name against.”

“We have once again worked hard to break down barriers, offering opportunities to participate in physical activity to everyone and continuing to foster sport at all levels within the city. I look forward to another challenging yet inspiring year ahead.”

Alistair Robertson, managing director of Sport Aberdeen, said:

“2019/2020 was not without its challenges, but the resilience of Sport Aberdeen, and all those who work together in our company; employees, volunteers and our board of directors, has enabled us to continue to break down barriers and work towards a healthier city.

“I am extremely proud of the difference that we continue to make to so many people’s lives throughout the city and the north-east. During this period, Sport Aberdeen generated over £7 million in social value through targeted programmes. Converting the work that we carry out into a monetary value brings home the positive impact that our charity has on our varied communities.”

The north-east’s largest physical activity provider has, for the first time since reopening after lockdown, officially reopened the city’s ice rink.

Award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen was also delighted to inform members that extra gym and sports hall provisions will come into play this week, allowing more people to get active in the area.

Among the venues to benefit from the extended opening hours and extra bookable sessions are the Linx Ice Arena, Get active @ Kincorth, Get active @ Beacon, and Get active @ Beach Leisure Centre, which also welcomed back its popular Learn to Swim programme.

Aberdeen’s ice rink officially reopened last Saturday (7 November) after being closed for more than seven months, welcoming back members of the public and Learn to Skate participants.

The team were thrilled to welcome skaters back to Linx Ice Arena at the weekend and the response we have received so far has been extremely positive.

During the closure, Sport Aberdeen staff carried out a comprehensive body of maintenance works which included re-laying the entire ice pad ensuring the best possible experience for skaters upon reopening.

Sport Aberdeen’s gymnastics programme will also restart at Get active @ Beacon this coming Friday (13 November), for the first time since venues were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside additional gym sessions at the venue.

David Selkirk, Sport Aberdeen Director of Community Leisure Operations, commented on the good news:

“Being able to extend our opening hours means we can welcome even more people back to sport in the city. Everyone at Sport Aberdeen has worked incredibly hard during this challenging time and the support and understanding we have received from all our customers has been fantastic. The team were thrilled to welcome skaters back to Linx Ice Arena at the weekend and the response we have received so far has been extremely positive.”

A Granite City leisure trust has secured funding to boost awareness and deliver programmes encouraging more people and businesses to use cycling as their main mode of transport in the north-east.

Adventure Aberdeen, part of award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen, has received funding to deliver the ‘Cycling Friendly Employer Award’ throughout the north-east.

This is the third year that the funding has been awarded to Adventure Aberdeen and to date the organisation’s staff have helped over 20 companies achieve the award.

The nationally recognised programme, run by Cycling Scotland, provides an award scheme and funding to help organisations make it easier for their staff to cycle to work. Cycling supports good physical and mental health for staff as well as easing congestion, improves the local environment and enhances corporate social responsibility by reducing the carbon footprint.

Adventure Aberdeen’s venue in Kingswells is a ‘Cycling Friendly Employer Service Centre’ which means any business with an interest in becoming a ‘Cycling Friendly Employer’ is directed to the venue via Cycling Scotland’s website.

Mike Gifford, Adventure Aberdeen Manager, commented on the funding award:

“This is a really exciting opportunity for local companies to get involved in the bike revolution and support their workers in leading a healthier and greener lifestyle while gaining recognition for being a cycling friendly employer.

“It is my hope that in the near future we can work with more organisations to help them become cycling friendly accredited and help to promote a healthier and greener way of commuting within the city whilst encouraging more people to participate in physical activity.”

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