People living in areas of Scotland with high levels of health inequalities are to be given greater opportunities to be coached by their local professional football club after extra funding was announced for the Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme.
The programme was created by the SPFL Trust in partnership with the University of Glasgow 10 years ago, and is funded in Scotland by the Scottish Government. The success of FFIT over the last decade has seen the model spread to other countries across Europe.
The 12-week course includes diet and lifestyle advice from experts, as well as light physical activities, all delivered by a local Scottish football club. Open to both men and women aged 35 to 65 (delivered via separate programmes), FFIT provides football fans with an opportunity to become healthier, lose weight, and become happier at the same time.
Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick said: “Tackling health inequalities has always been a key priority for this government and we’re concerned that the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic risks exacerbating the situation across Scotland.
“That’s why we’re investing a further £100,000 in this initiative, on top of the existing £264,000 already committed.”
Mr FitzPatrick added: “The benefits of getting people off the couch and into a training programme are numerous, from weight loss and improved physical fitness to the positive effect exercise can have on people’s mental wellbeing.”
Strict adherence to Scottish Government guidelines will be observed when delivering the programme.
The additional funding means that the programme in 2020-21 will have 1,536 starters, of which 1,050 must complete. Of these, at least 436 starters and 300 completing participants will be from areas of highest deprivation.
Read more at spfltrust.org.uk.
Pic credit: Rangers FC, St Mirren FC.