One of the world’s leading transportation operators has given its backing to an award-winning sport and culture project for school children in Aberdeen.
First operates a network of high frequency services across Aberdeen city and already successfully connects the schools which are participating in the Games and their surrounding communities.
The company has provided £3,875 worth of funding and in-kind support which will reduce the cost of transportation for schools to and from the project’s Festival of Sport in the city in May.
The Aberdeen Youth Games team has also successfully secured a further £2,975 in funding from SportsMatch following First Aberdeen’s support for the project.
Launched in November 2013, the 2013-14 Aberdeen Youth Games involved more than 3,000 pupils from 36 primary schools in the city who participated in a number of sporting and cultural activities throughout school year.
The sponsorship from First will also help to establish regional events around the city which will see the project reach more pupils, including secondary schools for the first time.
The first year of the programme culminated in a Commonwealth-themed Festival of Sport on Friday, May 16 where around 1,000 pupils participated in a range of activities around sports which featured at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Bryan McCann, lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science at RGU, leads the project and has set a fundraising target of £25,000 to develop the initiative in 2014-15 to reach as many school children as possible around the city.
He said: “We are very happy to welcome First Bus as the first official sponsor of the Aberdeen Youth Games, and look forward to working with them on this exciting programme which delivers sporting and cultural activities for pupils across the city.
“The company’s support will help us streamline transportation arrangements for schools which will free up resources that can now be used to enhance the project.
“The additional SportsMatch funding will also help us to reach even more school children across the city as well as hold several regional events to bring the project to new areas where it can make the greatest impact.”
David Phillips, Managing Director of First Aberdeen, met some of the pupils who will participate in the project from Culter Primary School, the first school to sign up for 2015, during a taster sports session on Wednesday, January 28.
He said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Aberdeen Youth Games. First has a successful history of partnering with great sporting events, including sponsorship of the fantastic Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“By helping to connect young athletes, schools and events, we are proud to be playing our part in encouraging young people to be more active while supporting our local sports stars of the future in Aberdeen and beyond.”
The sponsorship from First Bus and SportsMatch funding follows a £10,000 donation from The Wood Foundation. The support will help develop the project, including a platform for sports competition between secondary schools around the city.
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.
RGU’s Sport and Exercise Science team and Sport Aberdeen deliver the project and are seeking a range of additional partners and sponsors to build upon its early success.
As part of the first year of the programme 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 industry placements through Sport Aberdeen’s Active Schools Team.
The project team has also gained the support of North East Scotland College and all of 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 strengthens the successful articulation links between the two organisations.
Graeme Dale, Senior Development Manager, Active Schools at Sport Aberdeen, said: “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.
“This is a very successful programme which provides a range of benefits for children by combining education and physical activity and further enhances the impact of the Active Schools programme.
“With First Bus on board we can take the project to the next level by engaging more schools and develop a sustainable model for school children in Aberdeen to enjoy sports and be more active more often.
“We’ve been delighted with the number of primary schools in the city who are taking part this year. However we can still take a few more, as it would be great to get all of the primary schools in city involved, but time is running out to sign up.”
Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport