We believe that physical activity and sport have the power to change lives. Being active can improve your physical and mental health, increase your confidence, boost your energy levels, and help you to meet new people and feel part of a community.
Each year our Active Communities programme supports over 10,000 people in Edinburgh affected by health conditions, disabilities, inequalities and poverty to get active and stay active. We deliver a range of projects which aim to break down barriers to physical activity and help people to lead healthier, happier, and more active lives.
But we can only do it with your help. However you choose to support our Active Communities programme, your generosity will support care experienced children to live an active childhood; people with long term health conditions and disabilities to enjoy a better quality of life; and older adults to stay active and connected in later life.
Our Health Active Minds project uses physical activity to support people experiencing poor mental health.
"I've suffered with depression on and off for over twenty years, but recently I had one of the worst bouts I can remember. I was very low - I'd find myself dwelling on bad memories, blaming myself for everything and losing sleep due to worry and stress.
When I heard about Healthy Active Minds, I asked my GP to refer me. A few weeks later, I met my instructor at the gym and he made me feel at ease right away. We had a chat about my goals, set out an exercise programme and now we meet once a week. Between appointments, I feel confident enough to come on my own and ask any of the staff for pointers. In the past I found gyms stressful, but Edinburgh Leisure is different - I know I'll get a friendly smile here.
Since beginning Healthy Active Minds, I've been able to reduce my medication. I'm wearing my belt a little tighter, I feel fitter and people have said I'm looking more like myself. I don't pretend that everything is rosy - I still get bad days but they're not as frequent as they were. When I do feel my symptoms increasing, I focus on the positive things I'm doing for myself."
Scott, Healthy Active Minds
Our Jump In project works with nursery schools to give pre-school children affected by poverty the opportunity to learn to swim. It supports them to have fun getting active, be safe around water and spend quality time in the pool with their families.
"Before Jump In, Michael was scared of getting in the pool. He hadn’t been to swimming lessons as we just couldn’t afford it. With the support of his swim teachers, he has learned to be safe around water, his confidence has grown massively and he will even jump in. Now he’s always asking if it’s Friday so he can go swimming! The project has made learning to swim much more accessible and has inspired me to prioritise taking the family swimming more often.”
Jenna, whose son attended Jump In swimming lessons
Our You Can project uses sport and physical activity to support care experienced young people in Edinburgh to improve their health and wellbeing.
"Before starting You Can, I was struggling with poor mental health, low confidence and difficult relationships with family members. I spent a lot of time by myself at home rather than going to school.
Now I go to the gym with my instructor Gemma every Monday morning and I've tried a range of activities from yoga to circuits with a medicine ball. It's something I look forward to and even if I'm not feeling 100%, I'll never miss a gym session. My gran, who I live with sometimes, will always remind me of the rush of 'feel good' endorphins that I get when I exercise, and I know she's right!
Getting active through You Can has increased my physical activity levels, boosted my mood and even improved my attendance at school. Going to the gym on a Monday morning gets my week off to a good start and makes me feel more motivated to get things done."
15-year-old Taylor, who attends the gym at Leith Victoria Swim Centre
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