The Wood Foundation is investing in a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Sport Aberdeen and Glasgow Caledonian University.

The ProActive Minds initiative has employed a sport and exercise psychologist as their KTP Associate to work in partnership with the Active Schools network in a bid to improve young people’s mental health across the city. They will develop resources, upskill staff and volunteers, and provide individual support.

The Wood Foundation is funding £60,000 over the period and will be involved with the strategic direction of the programme alongside Dr Bryan McCann from Glasgow Caledonian University and Graeme Dale from Sport Aberdeen.

Ali MacLachlan, UK Director at The Wood Foundation, said:

“The health and wellbeing of our young people are inextricably linked. Understanding their needs now, following a few very challenging years, and using sports as a way to engage them in positive experiences and behaviours is something we are delighted to be involved with.”

The pilot has the backing of sportscotland, NHS Grampian, SAMH, and Aberdeen City Council.

Glasgow Caledonian University will support the KTP Associate in their research to evidence the impact of the partnership, providing a robust analysis of the pilot. It is hoped that the Knowledge Transfer Partnership will demonstrate the value of embedding psychologists with Active Schools teams and present a compelling case for national rollout.

Dr Bryan McCann of Glasgow Caledonian University said:

“There is a real opportunity to join the dots in terms of ensuring young people are receiving the right support to address an array of issues. Embedding a psychologist within the team who can share learning and resources with colleagues, while working directly with young people and schools, will hopefully develop sustainable approaches and solutions.”

Graeme Dale of Sport Aberdeen added:

“Thank you to The Wood Foundation for supporting Sport Aberdeen to take part in this KTP. We know our young people and their families continue to face significant challenge and we are committed to using our networks and initiatives to provide invaluable support for them to thrive.”

The KTP Associate who will drive the rollout of the initiative in Aberdeen will be in post for two years from September 2022.