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Nairn wellbeing ambassador helping to improve the mental health of people through sport

By Will Clark

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A NAIRN woman is one of 20 volunteers who are using the power of sport to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of thousands of people.

Bryanne Ford
Bryanne Ford

Bryanne Ford (19) is working as a wellbeing ambassador for Scottish Sports Futures and SAMH by raising awareness of mental health by delivering workshops across Scotland over the last year.

The group started the initiative with a basketball tournament at Oriam in Edinburgh, which 250 young people took part in.

Since then Basketball Scotland, the NHS, SFN Expo, Active Schools Glasgow and Scottish Disability Sport have all had workshops designed and delivered by the ambassadors which highlight the benefits physical activity can have on mental health and wellbeing.

During the first year the ambassadors have delivered 65 workshops in 16 locations with 1505 young people in total attending and 833 adults, 94 per cent of participants reported they had learned something new on the topic of mental health and wellbeing from the ambassadors

The project was created with £61,205 from the Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity fund.

Wellbeing ambassadors who took part in the initiative.
Wellbeing ambassadors who took part in the initiative.

The joint programme is among 17 projects to benefit from the £1 million fund, delivered by the Scottish Government, sportscotland, Spirit of 2012 and The Robertson Trust with the aim of changing lives and creating a more inclusive and healthier nation.

The sessions have produced encouraging results in trying to address the stigma and discrimination felt by those with mental health problems.

Young people who have visited have spoken of now viewing basketball as a release from everyday stress and noticing a positive impact on their mindset during and after sessions.

Chief executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: “We see time and again that sport has the power to change lives and being physically active is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health.

“At sportscotland, young people are at the heart of what we do. We believe that young people should have a voice in sport, this project is an excellent example of that. The wellbeing ambassadors can be very proud of what they have achieved, their hard work has had a positive impact on others which could stay with them for years to come.

“Scottish Sports Futures and SAMH have worked together to show that sport can make a meaningful difference to all our lives.”

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