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Published 26 September 2018

A programme to get West Dunbartonshire’s young people more active is on the hunt for volunteers.

Active Schools – which coordinates and supports sport & physical activity sessions before, during and after school – saw record numbers of kids take part across the area last year.

Now, as the team gets ready to expand their varied programme even further, they are asking parents and members of the local community to be involved in getting young people more active more often.

They have a wide variety of roles that volunteers can take up - from leading sports, dance or even yoga sessions, to simply assisting with admin or helping as referees or stewards at events.

Helpers can be involved as little as just one hour per week, and no long-term commitment or particular experience is required.

Training, support and equipment is provided free by Active Schools.

Charlie Gibson, chairman of West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust, said: “We have a proud history of sporting achievements in this area and we are keen to continue our investment in active lives for generations to come.

“Our extensive Active Schools programme has reached more pupils than ever this year and we are delighted with our record results. This could not have been achieved without the support of ordinary members of the community - the mums, the dads, the grandparents and many others – who donated their time across the area.

“Our aim is to increase this even more for next year, and we are looking for more people to help. If you can give even just a small amount of your time, we would be keen to hear from you.”

Councillor Jim Finn, Vice Chairman of the Trust, added: “West Dunbartonshire’s Active Schools programme is going from strength to strength and that is in large part down to the people who donate their time to help us improve it.

“Ensuring our young people have access to these sessions is vital not only for health reasons, but for helping them to develop essentials skills including team working, confidence and commitment.

“Volunteering can be rewarding in so many ways, and with Active Schools you are likely to get as much benefit out of it as the kids do.”

The opportunity is available to anyone over 16 who can give just an hour a week, whether short term or long term.

Roles include coaching, assisting, admin, refereeing, event stewarding, marketing and perhaps even minibus driving.

The sessions take place at various times including before school, at lunchtimes and after school - which includes evenings and weekends.

And volunteers can choose the location they help out in – with sessions taking place in primary and secondary schools, community centres and local sports clubs.

2 Active School Volunteers

Jacqui McGalpine (right) from Dumbarton, got involved with Active Schools when her son Ben, now 18, was in primary school.

She still runs sessions in St Patrick’s Primary School one morning a week before classes begin.

She said: “I only give up one hour a week of my time and I get so much more back in return. The most rewarding thing is watching the young children become more active, and grow in confidence as they do so.

“I’ve also become a lot more conscious of my own fitness and health and I’ve picked up transferable skills including CPR and first aid training.

“I can’t recommend it enough – it is a great way to give something back and Active Schools are flexible, meaning you can help out at a time that works around your other commitments.

“I never thought I’d be doing this for 11 years but I have too much fun to stop.”

If you want to get involved, please visit:  https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/leisure-parks-events/west-dunbartonshire-leisure/active-schools/be-involved/ or visit us on Twitter @activeschoolsWD using #BeInvolved