A leading Scottish charity has given its backing to an award-winning sport and culture project for school pupils in Aberdeen.
Organisers have set a fundraising target of £25,000 to develop the initiative to reach as many school children as possible around the city.
Launched in November 2013, the Aberdeen Youth Games involved more than 3,000 pupils at 36 primary schools in the city who participated in a number of sporting and cultural activities throughout the school term.
The first year of the project culminated in a ‘Festival of Sport’ at Aberdeen Sports Village on Friday, May 16 where around 1,000 pupils participated in sports which took place at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Olympic gold medallist Dr Katherine Grainger CBE and Chairman of The Wood Foundation, Sir Ian Wood CBE, are ambassadors for the Aberdeen Youth Games and attended the Festival of Sport to cheer on the pupils.
The funding from The Wood Foundation will allow the Aberdeen Youth Games to grow from its successful first year and include an additional platform for competitive sports between secondary schools around the city.
Sir Ian Wood said: “The Aberdeen Youth Games is a fantastic project which reaches a large number of young people across the city and motivates them to lead healthy and active lives.
“I’ve seen the project in action and there’s no doubt that it has inspired school children to try a range of new sports whilst also promoting the importance of global citizenship.
“The funding we have provided will help the team develop it even further to include more primary schools as well as an opportunity for secondary school pupils to participate as well.”
The aim of the Aberdeen Youth Games is to establish an innovative, sustainable and integrated citywide sports programme which promotes and increases physical activity, healthy lifestyles and key life skills amongst Aberdeen’s young people.
She said: “I’m very proud to be an Ambassador for this inspirational project which promotes sport as a great way for people to stay healthy, make new friends and have fun.
“The first year of the Aberdeen Youth Games was an outstanding success and with support from The Wood Foundation we can increase the reach and scope of project to involve even more pupils.”
RGU’s Sport and Exercise Science team and Sport Aberdeen deliver the project and are seeking a range of additional partners to build upon its early success.
They have gained the support of North East Scotland College and their sport and fitness students will be involved in the project through their placements.
Many will progress into third year at RGU in the next academic year and their involvement in the project strengthens the successful articulation links between the two organisations.
As part of the first year of the project 32 second year BSc (Hons) Applied Sports and Exercise Science students from RGU received training in a number of sports and delivered coaching to pupils as part of their work placements through Sport Aberdeen’s Active Schools Team.
The Aberdeen Youth Games received Big Lottery Celebrate funding to launch last year and also won the Gold Sporting Contribution Award at the Game Changer Awards organised by Colleges Scotland and Universities Scotland.
He said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from The Wood Foundation which will help us make the Aberdeen Youth Games bigger and better for the coming school year.
“We had a great first year running the project and received a lot of positive feedback from schools who told us how much they had enjoyed taking part.
“There are a number of activities planned for the coming year, including another Festival of Sport, and we hope the Aberdeen Youth Games continues to inspire young people in the city to become more active, more often.”
Graeme Dale, Senior Development Manager, Active Schools at Sport Aberdeen, said: “We’re proud to continue our partnership with Robert Gordon University to deliver and develop the Aberdeen Youth Games.
“This is a very successful and unique project which provides a range of benefits for children by combining education and physical activity and further enhances the impact of the Active Schools programme.
“We work very closely with the students throughout their placements around the city to deliver sports training to pupils so they can experience and enjoy a range of sports.”
For information about the Aberdeen Youth Games, please visit: www.rgu.ac.uk/aberdeen-youth-games
Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport