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Active Play programme expands into Highlands to improve children’s physical and mental wellbeing - Inspiring Scotland


The latest stories from Inspiring Scotland and our partner charities.

Active Play programme expands into Highlands to improve children’s physical and mental wellbeing

A programme to improve the health and wellbeing of children through inclusive outdoor play is expanding into three communities in the Highlands.  

With investment from the Scottish Government Active Scotland Division and support from Inspiring Scotland, CALA Childcare will bring the Active Play programme into early years, school and communities across Inverness, Ullapool and Aviemore, benefitting around 360 children.   

High levels of inactivity among Scotland’s children are having a serious effect on their health and wellbeing and can impact the rest of their lives. Active Play, as part of the Thrive Outdoors fund, was created to tackle this issue by building early positive physical activity experiences which are fun, inclusive and active enabling children and young people to establish and maintain physically active lives.    

To launch the expansion, Maree Todd, the Minister for Sport, Physical Activity and Women’s Health visited Ullapool Primary School to see Active Play in action.  

Sports Minister Maree Todd said, “I’m delighted to visit Ullapool Primary School to see the Active Play programme in action. Active Play is vital in providing children with the opportunity to develop physical skills in their early years and to encourage a long-term relationship with physical activity. 

“As well as the positive impact on health and wellbeing that comes from being active, it can also be a lot of fun – which is just as important. These sessions will help more children across the community to develop the skills and confidence to enjoy being more physically active.” 

The programme has seen incredible success since its inception in 2016 in the Glasgow area. Inspiring Scotland has worked in partnership with Glasgow City Council to deliver Active Play with 5,000 children in 147 primary schools, seeing 80% of participants taking part in more active play at breaks and lunchtime, and 74% taking up or planning to take up new sports clubs or after school activities.  

Melodie Crumlin, Inspiring Scotland’s Thrive Outdoors Fund manager who leads on the Active Play programme said, “Physical literacy skills in Scotland are not well developed, meaning we children are missing fundamental movement skills, which can go on to have lifelong consequences for children’s physical and mental health.  

“The Active Play programme has been proven to increase physical activity, and in turn physical literacy skills to also improve emotional, social and cognitive development. By combining training, support and grassroots delivery for children in primary schools and teaching staff, skilled charity partners, like CALA can implement the principles of Active Play. 

“From here, children are more likely to stay active into adulthood, leading healthier lives and have a lot of fun along the way.” 

This expansion into the Highlands will be delivered by charity partners CALA childcare, who have been supporting families and schools across Inverness through Active Play over the past three years.  

Jaci Douglas, Chief Executive of CALA said, “We are really excited and proud to be working in partnership with Inspiring Scotland to deliver Active Play in the Highlands – the programme is such an important way of providing opportunities for activity, play and learning which supports attainment and healthier lives for children and their families in a fun and inclusive way.   

“Huge thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the staff, families and children in the three schools in the Highlands where we have the sessions, and we are looking forward to further work with the local communities and wider partners to ensure this positive approach is sustained and embedded.” 

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