General News:

Sport Aberdeen shortlisted as a finalist in prestigious ukactive Awards 2023


Local charity Sport Aberdeen has been shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Healthy Communities’ category at the national ukactive Awards.   

Organisations, operators and suppliers in both the public and private sectors of the physical activity industry across the UK have been recognised for their excellence and innovation. The ukactive Awards is the sector’s biggest awards ceremony of the year, taking place in Leeds on Thursday 26 October.

The ‘Healthy Communities’ award recognises an organisation leading/delivering a physical activity focused programme, product or initiative that is targeted at the wider community to encourage increased activity and participation. Sport Aberdeen has been recognised for it’s SPACE (Supported Physical Activity for Care Experienced) programme, designed to support care experienced children and young people in Aberdeen towards a brighter future. 

In recognition of Sport Aberdeen’s success, a motion to the Scottish Parliament was raised by Kevin Stewart MSP stating:

“That the Parliament congratulates Sport Aberdeen on becoming a finalist in the Healthy Communities category at 2023’s ukactive Awards; recognises that the nomination is for the Supported Physical Activity for Care Experienced (SPACE) programme, which is designed to support care experienced children and young people; understands that the initiative aims to ensure that each young person has a voice and can select the sporting activities that they wish to participate in; commends the team at Sport Aberdeen and all of the participants for their efforts, and wishes them success at the awards ceremony, which will take place in Leeds on 26 October.”

Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities, said: “It is fantastic that the significant, positive impact that Sport Aberdeen has in our local communities has been recognised at a UK wide level. As a corporate parent we are committed to supporting care experienced children and young people and breaking down barriers to participation.

“SPACE is a unique programme that has a life-changing impact on the young people it engages with through bespoke one-to-one support. The delivery model is a child-centred approach, ensuring that each child has a voice and can select the sporting activities they wish to participate in.”

In the last financial year, Sport Aberdeen delivered 600 hours of direct support to young people through one-to-one interventions. In December, the charity provided twenty Christmas gifts to young people supported through the programme – each gift was personalised depending on the interests of the young person. 

Based on understanding that relative poverty adversely impacts on health and wellbeing, Sport Aberdeen currently provides over 500 Get active and Get active Junior memberships to all care experienced children, young people and a member of their support network.

The free memberships give access to activities including swimming, ice skating, golf, tennis, tubing, snowsports and more.

A primary 7 pupil who participated in SPACE recently commented: “I think SPACE is beneficial because it’s really engaging and gets me active. It gets me outside and sporty – we play basketball and football and everything. It cheers me up and calms me down when I’m struggling. I like that I can talk and get my feelings out which helps me feel better.”

The impact of SPACE is significant – a recent example is an S2 pupil who was referred by a social worker for not engaging in school, lack of peer relationships and a difficult home life. The young person wasn’t attending school, therefore did not participate in PE.

The young person built a relationship with their Sport Aberdeen project activator and tried new activities, built their confidence, explored opportunities and developed key skills. As a result, the young person (now in S5) progressed to be an Active Schools volunteer through the extracurricular programme helping at local primary schools and is on the Active Schools leadership programme.

SPACE is funded in partnership with Aberdeen City Council.

The full list of finalists for 2023 can be found on ukactive’s website here.