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North Lanarkshire Sport Scene

The North Lanarkshire Sports Scene is a multi-agency project to improve the health and wellbeing of young people (age 10-17) through the provision of free sport, physical activity and dance.

The project, originally started as a diversionary sports programme to tackle high levels of youth crime and anti-social behaviour within discrete communities but has quickly grown through demonstrating tangible results through the commitment, dedication partnership and passion of the project partners.

*** PAHA Award Winner 2012***

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How It Started

The project started from a small multi-agency steering group formed to handle territorialism and anti-social behaviour in Shotts with the main aim to reduce the levels of youth crime.

After a pilot demonstrated significant improvements in health and anti-social behaviour, more funding was awarded to run more projects in the area.

Partners Involved

The project had a multi-disciplinary partnership arrangement with a broad range of partners across various sectors.

Each project is governed, managed and led by a strategic steering group with Sports Scene also having a user based focus group at each of the centres comprising coaching, centre staff and the young people themselves, who evaluate and make suggestions to the programme and have developed a code of conduct to help self-regulate the users behaviour.

The Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport have when in receipt of ‘Cashback for Communities’ funding been able to contribute monies and expertise in association with North Lanarkshire Sports Development Officers to put on some intensive courses such as ‘badminton; athletics and canoeing’ which in the case of badminton has resulted in two ‘spin off’ midweek clubs.


The projects operate from 6pm to 10pm every Friday and Saturday night and is open and provided free of charge to anyone aged 10 to 17 years of age. A variety of activities are offered, with all sports being delivered by qualified coaches.

North Lanarkshire Leisure manage the project on a daily basis on behalf of the alcohol and drugs partnership and other funding partners.

North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL) and Sidekix (NLL’s delivery partner) staff and coaches deliver the project with operates 50 weeks of the year.

NHS Lanarkshire also provide health improvement workshops informing the young people about the dangers of smoking and alcohol consumption, positive health advice which assists them in making the positive life decisions they need to make.

The projects were marketed and promoted through visits to schools in the area and existing work within the community, however given the age group and the fact that the project attracts discrete communities, word of mouth has been the most effective marketing tool with the new projects quickly becoming subscribed to capacity levels.

Results and Impact

The programme has grown from a single site project operating on a pilot, to currently operating in 10 sport and leisure centres throughout North Lanarkshire. Around 1,925 children and young people attend the project over the Friday and Saturday nights across all 10 facilities, resulting in 96,250 annual attendances.

There are many inspirational stories arising from the projects that, through sport health and wellbeing, the young people are not only encouraged to, but are making different lifestyle choices than the older generation that proceeded them which is improving individual quality of life.

Strathclyde Police have reported anywhere between a 37-50% reduction in youth crime and anti-social behaviour in the areas where the project operates. Strathclyde Fire and Rescue have noted that in particular in one area the number of malicious bin fires that they were required to attend has dropped from 10 every weekend to none.

Community Police Officers regularly attend and engage with the young people on a Friday and Saturday nights, building trust and co-operation. Young people have reported once they attended the project they felt improved confidence, healthier and fitter.

Saturday Sports Scene gained a Convention of Scottish Local Authorities Gold Excellence Award in 2008, but the project has grown significantly and had great multi-agency partner support since then.

Lessons Learned

Prior to the programme commencing, sports centres in the area had previously been closed on a Saturday night to deliver efficiency savings therefore they had to be reopened and staff contracts had to be renegotiated.

In addition to this an ‘amnesty’ had to be put in place so that the young people who had previously been ‘barred’ due to misbehaviour, could be allowed back into the facilities. A lot of work had to be done initially by the Sports Development and Inclusion Manager to convince facility staff that this was precisely the group of young people that they were specifically trying to target.

What's next for the project?

It is clear to all the partners that anti-social behaviour, multiple deprivation and poor health are interlinked and this requires sustained and specialist intervention.

The Friday Night Projects are funded by North Lanarkshire alcohol and drugs partnership until 31st March 2013 and it is forming part of their long-term planning process therefore the partners are hopeful that three year funding can be secured to ensure sustainability in the medium term.

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Lead Contact Name

Stuart Gallagher


Business Development Manager


North Lanarkshire Leisure


100 Buchanan Street, Coatbridge, ML5 1DL

Phone Number

01236 437 756

Email Address


100 Buchanan Street Coatbridge ML5 1DL

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