Registered charity Sport Aberdeen has been named as a winner at the ukactive Awards 2021, a UK wide awards ceremony celebrating the active lifestyle sector, which took place virtually on Thursday 12 August.

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 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 absolutely thrilled that the SPACE project has been recognised at a UK level and this achievement is really a testament to the hard work and determination of everyone who works to make this project so successful.

“The impact that SPACE has had on young people, improving physical and mental wellbeing through sport and physical activity, has been incredible and with wider recognition it is my hope that we can continue to grow and develop this initiative and reach even more children and young people across the north-east alongside our partners, Aberdeen City Council.”

Councillor Jenny Laing, leader of Aberdeen City Council, added:

“As a council we are proud to be a partner in the SPACE project, which has harnessed the city’s sports and leisure offering as a way of helping care experienced children young people reach their full potential.

“Exercise and activity – whether that’s participating in team games or accessing green spaces – can greatly enhance physical and mental wellbeing, and this brilliant initiative could not have been more timely. Staff at the council and Sport Aberdeen, along with community supporters, thoroughly deserve to be recognised for their efforts.”

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