Sport Aberdeen shortlisted in national award for supporting care experienced children and young people through sport

Registered charity Sport Aberdeen is delighted to announce that it has been named as a finalist in the ukactive Awards 2021, a national awards ceremony celebrating the UK active lifestyle sector.

Sport Aberdeen’s SPACE (Supported Physical Activity for Care Experienced) project, delivered in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, has been recognised in the category ‘Developing and Supporting Communities during Covid-19’.

SPACE is an innovative project delivered by registered charity Sport Aberdeen, which uses the positive benefits of sport and physical activity to help care experienced children and young people reach their full potential through bespoke interventions.

The project was the first of its kind in Scotland and is the evolution of the ‘Looked After Project’ which began in August 2016 in partnership with Aberdeen City Council.  As a corporate parent, Sport Aberdeen has a commitment to over 450 care experienced young people within the care of Aberdeen City Council.

Working together, Sport Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Council’s Integrated Children’s and Family Services aim to provide support for participants to achieve positive destinations utilising sport as a catalyst for positive change.

The project mentors the city’s most vulnerable children and young people who would otherwise have little or no access to many opportunities. These opportunities include boxing, cycling, horse-riding and accessing local greenspaces alongside free-of-charge membership to Sport Aberdeen’s citywide gyms.

During the first Covid-19 lockdown, Project Activators were deployed into educational hubs, established to support children living in vulnerable situations. In total, 1,095 hours were spent directly impacting three hubs, with another 5,000 hours of Active Schools, part of Sport Aberdeen, time supporting children and young people across six hubs for children of keyworkers, and Orchard Brae School.

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

“I am extremely proud of the positive changes that the project has introduced over the last four years, in particular the work carried out during the very challenging months of the pandemic. The impact that it has had on young people, improving physical and mental wellbeing through sport and physical activity has been incredible. 

“This is a really exciting time for SPACE as we announce the official rebrand, which was heavily influenced by the participants, and now also being selected as a finalist alongside so many other deserving projects, we are absolutely thrilled for the project to be recognised in this way.  

“As a corporate parent Sport Aberdeen has the power to positively impact the lives of young people within the care of Aberdeen City Council, and through partnership working it is my hope that this initiative will continue to thrive and with national recognition we will be able to reach many more children and young people within the city.” 

Larissa Gordon, Virtual School Head Teacher with Aberdeen City Council added:

“The SPACE project has gone from strength to strength and its fantastic to watch as it develops, but more importantly seeing the real difference it makes to the lives of the children and young people who take part in it is invaluable. 

“The positive changes that can be seen in participants both within and out-with the school environment is fantastic and through our joint working approach we are able to create opportunities for so many people in Aberdeen. I’m thrilled that SPACE has been shortlisted as a finalist for the ukactive awards and would like to wish the best of luck to all the other brilliant projects that make a difference to local communities.”